MMC2017 - Meeting Round-up

Editorial
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 08:15

Manchester Central was once again the host for the biannual microscopy extravaganza known as MMC, organised by the RMS. This year’s meeting was the biggest MMC ever with 6 parallel sessions, special focus meetings, social events and the plenary sessions from world famous microscopists.

The meeting was truly a microscopists paradise and opened with two excellent plenary speakers on Monday evening. John Spence introduced the audience to the emerging area that is the x-ray laser with the question ‘can electrons outrun damage?’ What followed was a description of John’s work in this area and how it has enabled him to probe kinetics, mechanisms and structures of many biological structures. He close his address with the words of Sir Humphry Davey, ‘Nothing promotes the advancement of science so much as a new instrument’This excellent start was followed by Ralf Jungmann who is known not so much for the development of a new instrument, but rather for the development of self-assembling DNA scaffolds know as DNA paint, which are helping to push the boundaries of super-resolution microscopy. Over the course of the lecture Jungmann used some nice audience participation to demonstrate the principles of super-resolution microscopy and explained the seemingly simple idea of using DNA and fluorescent markers to create increasingly complex arrays which can be used to generate a colored bar code system, extending the traditional limits of probes and coloured markers and also making tetrahedral markers that indicate depth or exchangeable markers with up to 10 colour localisation. Jungmann also showed the application of this work in whole cell imaging and said that he was planning to extend this to live cell work. The plenaries were followed by a drinks reception in which I found myself surrounded with good friends as people reconnected with colleagues and excitedly exchanged stories of the recent events of their lives and about the week ahead.

 

Exhibition 'Wonderland'

The exhibition space at the meeting was extended from 2015 and featured over 100 trade partners, four workshop areas, an expanded poster display area and the beloved RMS learning zone. Much of my time was spent finding out about the latest developments from the trade partners and shooting short videos to give those who weren’t able to be there in person a snippet of what was being talked about. 

JEOL UK - Calum Dickinson

Quorum Technologies - Bob Morrison

Abberior & JPK – Lars Kastrup & Chris Mulcahy

Tescan – Ray Codd

Linkam - Martijn van Nugteren

Marvellous Micrographia

In addition to the display and discussion of what’s new, Microscopy & Analysis were also showing something new, namely a copy of Micrographia by Robert Hooke. If you check the website frequently, you will know that the Folio society have recently produced a limited edition copy of this very important text. It was such a pleasure to show it to so many microscopists and see the joy on their faces at seeing the text and more impressively the images which have been faithfully reproduced from the hand-drawn originals.

A page from Micrographia (courtesy of Mike Fay)

By the time the exhibition closed and the last plenaries were given a lot of microscopists left Manchester a little tired, but inspired to carry on, do more and try something new. All in all, the RMS and all those who contributed should be commended for this fabulous event, I can’t wait until the next one in 2019!

Chris Parmenter

Editor, Microscopy and Analysis

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