2016 Looking Back and 2017 Looking Forward


Dr Chris Parmenter

Monday, January 2, 2017 - 23:15

Microscopy & Analysis

January takes its name from the double-faced God Janus, who had one face looking backward and the other forward. In the same manner, I’ll be taking a look at what 2016 meant for M&A and then looking excitedly forward to the year to come, which is particularly special for reasons I will outline later. For now, let’s look at 2016.

For many, the year 2016 has been one to forget. From the first week when we learned of the death of David Bowie, through unexpected political decisions on both sides of the Atlantic (Brexit and Trump vs Clinton) and major discontent in other parts of the world alongside the continued surprise deaths of the good and great of the entertainment world, (culminating in the sad news of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds), it's been memorable for all the wrong reasons. Despite this, from a microscopy point of view it has been a very good year full of big meetings and exciting developments.

Hello to 'LabFocus'

At the start of the year we introduced the LabFocus article, which gives readers a sneak peek into various labs around the world, both academic and commercial. It's a feature that I always enjoy reading and find interesting so I really hope our readers do too.

LabFocus began in the January issue with the Centre of Structural Biology at Monash University and a chat to Prof James Whisstock followed by the Cell and Tissue Imaging Centre and its director Sharon Frase at St Jude’s hospital in our March issue.  

PetroLab who have been amongst a number of labs getting into automated mineralogy were featured in our May issue and in July we featured Oxford Nanoimaging.

Our life-sciences issue was in September and featured the lab of Dr Pavel Hozak and our final LabFocus in the EM and Nanotechnology issue was of the newly opened Francis Crick Institute.

Structured illumination microscopy of lipids involved in ribosomal RNA synthesis, from the lab of Pavel Hozak.

Profile - Still going strong

Our other non-scientific editorials are the Profiles, which have been going for a few years and always offer a look into the lives of fascinating individuals from the microscopy community. This year’s were no exception as we delved into the backstories of Michael Rossmann, Drew Berry, Mark Miodownik, Tony Wilson, Sarah Haigh, and Stan Burgess.


Mark Miodownik and Sarah Haigh, two of our featured profiles this year. 

Each one was kind enough to share their career stories from humble beginnings to current positions, describing what motivated them and how certain situations got them to where they are today. We’ll be featuring more profiles in all our 2017 issues, so look out for who’s coming next.  

To read each LabFocus or Profile in full go to the online versions, which can be found at http://www.microscopyebooks.com/

M&A - On The Road

Outside of our published content, Microscopy and Analysis has been busy attending and supporting meetings all over the world. In May 'conference season' took us to the Asia Pacific region to attend APMC in Thailand. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet readers, users, distributors and distinguished global speakers in the surroundings of the island of Phuket. The meeting was well attended and I enjoyed learning about the aims and pursuits of the attendees in their respective labs.

On my return from Thailand, I checked Twitter to hear the huge news that FEI had been successfully purchased by ThermoFisher, something that I know many people were talking about as the year went on.

Conference season continued with our annual attendance at the Microscopy and Microanalysis conference (M&M), which was in Columbus, OH. The city was pleasant, the weather warm and the plenary speakers inspirational. The microscopy on show in the oral and poster sessions was invigorating from both experienced and student microscopy users alike, whilst the exhibition floor offered its traditional, strong showing from the vendors. For my meeting report, click here.

The world tour barely stopped as we caught our breath before heading to Lyon, France, for the European Microscopy Conference (EMC) in early September. A different region brought new faces and new microscopy to light as we re-aquainted ourselves with the European readership. Once again the high quality plenary speakers and contributions from European and other contributors left me feeling positive about where microscopy is going in 2016. For the full meeting report, click here

October was upon us and when it came time for the Nobel announcements Prof Yoshinori Ohsumi was this year’s winner in Medicine for his work on autophagy (also termed programmed cell death) http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/medicine-nobel-prize-autophagy-breakthroughs. Prof Ohsumi made a point of saying that his work had been reliant on microscopy and that he still insists that newcomers to the lab look at what is happening down the microscope.

Prof Yoshinori Ohsumi, Nobel Laureate for Medicine 2016

Fascinating content from 2016

With this in mind, I'd like to draw your attention to some of the amazing work going on around the world that we've touched upon in our editorials, which are updated every few days on the main M&A page, by Dr Rebecca Pool, our news editor. In preparing this blog I looked over the 30 or so pages of archived editorials and picked out some of my favourites:

Embryo Atlas http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/embryo-atlas-rewrites-human-development

X-Ray Microscopy exposes cell nuclei http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/x-ray-tomography-exposes-cell-nuclei

STM track ultra-fast motion http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/stm-tracks-ultrafast-molecule-motion

Watch an animal’s limb regrow http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/watch-animals-limb-regrow

3-in-1 Rheo-Raman microscope http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/3-1-rheo-raman-microscope-revealed

Expansion microscopy was once again in the M&A editorials http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/expansion-microscopy-exposes-brain-connections

Atom Probe Microscopy was successfully used to probe tooth enamel http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/first-3d-atomic-map-enamel

Triple view microscopy http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/extreme-resolution-triple-view-microscope enhanced super-resolution microscopy further

Believe it or not, but it was 30 years since the AFM came along. This year’s Kavili prize winners have used AFM to measure van der waals forces http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/inventors-reveal-road-atomic-force-microscopy

Big Break for brain mapping http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/big-break-brain-mapping      


Getting closer to Cancer, some striking images of Cancer from the US National Cencer Institute http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/getting-closer-cancer

Dr Roger Tsein, Nobel laureate, who died earlier this year. Roger is best known for his work on the fluorescent protein GFP but he was also working on ways to correlate light and electron microscopy. At M&M in 2015 he talked about making EM multi-coloured http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/multi-colour-electron-microscopy-delivered

Cryo-EM has received much coverage this year, one example if its application was in solving the structure of a large pre-initiation complex http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/life-creating-complex-stunning-resolution

Flexible lens camera revealed http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/wraparound-camera-revealed

There was a first of its kind underwater microscope reported http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/underwater-world-revealed-never 

Super-resolution microscopy limits stretched by Harvard team http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/stretching-super-resolution-microscopy-limits

Nobel Laureate, William Moerner revealed a new type of super-resolution microscopy http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/nobel-laureate-unveils-new-super-resolution-microscopy-method

TEM captures spinning nanoparticles http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/tem-captures-spinning-nanoparticles

IBM invented a nanoscale thermometer for probing the temperature of nanoscale electronics http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/ibm-invents-thermometer-nanoscale

A new red fluorescent protein that can indicate fluctuations in voltage for brain studies  http://www.microscopy-analysis.com/editorials/editorial-listings/red-fluorescent-protein-exposes-brain-disorders

For the full listings you can check the editorial section of the website.  

Looking Forward to 2017

Earlier I mentioned that we’d be looking forward to 2017, which is now here and we’re already busy preparing the January issue. What I can tell you is that 2017 is going to be a fun filled year, because, believe it or not, Microscopy and Analysis is 30 years old this year, so we’re celebrating!

Our 25th anniversary in 2012 coincided with EMC Manchester and the September issue was a specially commissioned issue looking back over changes in microscopy, with articles by high profile microscopy users, who were leaders in their fields. While I recognise it is important to acknowledge the past and where we came from, it is also vital that we look to the future and where M&A and microscopy in general is going. We’re already planning for all the 2017 issues, which will carry a birthday logo and I’m commissioning a range of articles which will highlight up-and-coming trends in microscopy. This year we’re planning to attend a number of meetings including Focus on Microscopy in Bordeaux, MMC 2017 in Manchester and Microscopy & Microanalysis, St Louis. We’ll be having some special events on our booths, so drop in and say ‘Happy Birthday!’

That really is all there is to say except I wish you all a fantastic 2017 and may it bring you much success and happiness.

Chris Parmenter

Editor, Microscopy & Analysis. 

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