The meeting, a 3 day conference hosted in St. Catherine's College, Oxford gave scientists from biology, chemistry and physics backgrounds the opportunity to learn and share findings from their chosen walks of science.
Opened by Head of CLF Prof. John Collier, the event (lasting from Tuesday 5th to Thursday 7th) offered the chance for scientists and users from Octopus, Ultra and Artemis laser facilities to share their research and findings with one another.
Talks on Tuesday opened with a keynote lecture from Dr. Susan Quinn from University College Dublin. Here she talked about ultrafast infrared studies of DNA, reviewing what users of Ultra have learned about the damage that UV light does to our DNA and how her research might eventually lead to a way of safely killing cancer cells.
Continuing with the biology theme and giving us a new insight into how neurons really work, Dr. William Brocklesby from the University of Southampton highlighted the Artemis laser facility's incredible use of High Harmonic Generation to procure 50 nm resolution coherent ptychographic images of mouse neurons.
Proceedings were closed on Thursday with a scientifically well-rounded lecture by Oxford PhD student William Kendrick on the exploration of infrared active vibrations and anti-resonances in the radical cations of porphyrin oligomer molecular wires, which could be used in artificial photosynthesis.
On top of talks, a poster session was held on Wednesday evening, giving PhD and Sandwich Students a chance to share their work. Prizes were given to Stephen Devereux (University College Dublin) for his poster: “Time-resolved infrared Spectroscopy of the binding interactions of the [Ru(phen)2dppz]2+ Light Switch Complex to G-Quadruplex and C-rich i-motif DNA", and Paschalia Pantazi (Oxford Brookes University) for her poster “Fluorescent lifetime imaging of GFP-CD63 reveals a subset of GFP with shortened lifetime in breast cancer cells".
A farewell was given to Ultra's sandwich student Nishal Chandarana who the next day was finishing his year in industry.
The meeting, of course, also focussed on the move of Artemis to the Research Complex. This venture will surely benefit LSF and the whole of CLF as it will expand resources and give opportunity for different types of imaging.
Prof. Mike Towrie said about this conference, “I'm excited by the move of the Artemis facility to the Research Complex. I look forward to working much closer to the Artemis Team. It will open new ideas and opportunities in the development of the facilities, and of course Artemis will finally benefit from the same access to the wonderful laboratory infrastructure in the Complex that Ultra and Octopus have enjoyed for the last 7 years."
Along with Mike Towrie who is head of Ultra, head of Octopus Marisa Martin-Fernandez and head of Artemis Emma Springate all gave us information on the three lasers individually, and how they cover biology, chemistry and physics in a range of ways.
Following these talks, scientists and students alike remarked how it was interesting to see what the other fields of science were working on. This insight into 'how the other half (or third, to be exact) lives' strengthens collaboration, awareness and esteem between biology, chemistry and physics. Additionally, it is well known in scientific establishments that sharing ideas can lead to new breakthroughs for others in their own research, and because of this, discussions of this nature are highly encouraged in the CLF. Letting chemists see what biologists are working on could lead to a new, more biology related solution in their research, and vise versa.
By and large, this conference turned out to be an excellent platform for discussing Artemis and the Research Complex, sharing ideas and making new connections between CLF staff and users.