Conference Sessions

Details of the mmc2023 conference sessions

The conference at mmc2023 will consist of six parallel streams comprising 36 conference and EMAG sessions. 

You can view the EMAG session keywords on the EMAG 2023 webpage, the mmc2023 conference sessions are listed below. 

AFM & Scanning Probe Microscopies Sessions

AFM in Life Sciences

Session Chair: Laurent Bozec (University of Toronto, Canada)

This session will focus on the use of atomic force microscopy in advancing research in the field of tissues and cells structure and mechanics. Over the last decade, there has been a rapid growth in the development of AFM towards biological applications with the advent of new modes of operation combining high-resolution imaging and nanomechanics for example. Atomic Force Microscopy has now become an essential tool for scientists to explore host-cell interactions, cell biomechanics, structural phenotyping of tissue, protein interactions for example. As the applications of AFM to life sciences is growing exponentially, we are seeing more studies in which the AFM is now used to support other types of analytical measurements.  

This session will bring together scientists who are using AFM as part of their research in life sciences in areas of tissues and cells’ structure and mechanics. The session could include technical challenges of combining diverse techniques incl. AFM on biological samples, innovative data analysis approaches, correlation between imaging, mechanical and spectroscopical data or the application of new AFM-based approaches to better understand biology being explored.

Keywords: Atomic force microscopy, cells, tissue, nanomechanics, single cell force spectroscopy, protein imaging, combined microscopy, histology, innovative data analysis.

Audience: Any scientists (of any level) with an interest of using AFM as part of their research in life-sciences. Graduate participants are highly encouraged to attend this session.

Nanoscale Probing of Physical Properties via AFM & SPM

Session Chair: Lynette Keeney (Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Ireland)

Atomic force microscopy (AFM), first developed by Binnig, Quate and Gerber in 1986, is one of the most prominent tools for imaging, measuring and manipulating matter at nanoscale. Significant progress in SPM (scanning probe microscopy) instrumentation development has enabled further techniques such as piezoresponse force microscopy, magnetic force microscopy, electrostatic force microscopy, Kelvin probe force microscopy, conductive AFM and scanning thermal microscopy etc., which are powerful tools for probing electromechanical, magnetic, electronic, transport, domain wall properties and thermal phenomena locally at the nanoscale.

Thus, SPM provides spatially-resolved insight into fundamental physical properties in a wide range of materials systems, including ferroics, piezoelectrics, thermoelectrics, photovoltaics and biopolymers. This session will bring together researchers interested in developing and applying functional imaging SPM modes, thereby pushing the limits of the techniques and deepening our understanding of nanoscale physical properties of functional materials.

Keywords: Atomic force microscopy, piezoresponse force microscopy, magnetic, force microscopy, conductive atomic force microscopy, scanning thermal microscopy, functional materials, nanoscale IR microscopy

Audience: Researchers, students, postdoctoral researchers, principle investigators, core staff, academic, industry.  Materials scientists, physical scientists, microscopists, technique developers, instrument developers

Nanoscale Science of Materials for Energy Storage and Generation

Session Chair: Laura Fumagalli (University of Manchester, UK)

This session will focus on recent advances in the characterization and development of novel functional materials and devices for energy storage and energy generation using AFM And SPM. It covers a variety of hot topics in materials science, physics and chemistry in which AFM and SPM play a pivotal role, including the study of composite, nanostructured and low-dimensional materials for batteries, super-capacitors and solar cells;  nanoscale electrochemical systems and catalytic devices; dielectric, ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials; nanoscale and two-dimensional photonic and optoelectronic devices. It includes advances in the development of the AFM and SPM techniques required to study the above materials and systems on the nanoscale and atomic scale.

Keywords: Energy storage and generation, functional materials, electrochemical systems, low-dimensional materials, ferroelectric/piezoelectric materials, optoelectronic devices

Audience: Materials scientists, condensed matter physicists, chemists and industry for energy-storage and generation

Atomic and Molecular Resolution Phenomena via AFM, STM and Scanning Probes

Session Chair: Adam Sweetman (University of Leeds, UK)

High resolution scanning probe microscopy offers an unparalleled ability to study the geometric and electronic properties of surfaces, 2D materials, and molecular assemblies down to the single atom and single bond level. This session will cover current cutting-edge developments in atomic and molecular resolution imaging, including novel techniques and systems, in addition to advances in modelling of the same structures.

Keywords: STM/NC-AFM/DFM/Atomic resolution/Molecules/2D materials

Audience: High resolution SPM groups working on 2D materials/surfaces/thin films in both ambient and UHV conditions, and modelling groups focused on the same systems

Frontiers in Bioimaging Sessions

Multimodal Microscopy

Session Chairs: Leandro Lemgruber (University of Glasgow, UK) & Steve Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK)

Many microscopical techniques provide detailed information about the location, environment or function of a specific set of labels, probes and molecules in the sample. Whilst this information is incredibly useful, the ability to multiplex different microscopy modalities together may help us unlock more details of the sample under study.

In this session we will explore the recent developments in bringing together separate microscopical techniques to address key questions in our understanding of biological samples. This will include the application of techniques such as Imaging Flow Cytometry, Imaging Mass Spec, or the combing of spatial -omics data with optical imaging and correlative light/electron microscopy.

This could include the technical challenges of combining diverse techniques on biological samples, innovative data analysis approaches, registration and visualization tools to explore data from multimodal imaging, or the application of new approaches to better understand biology.

Keywords: Multimodal imaging, Data analysis and registration, Correlative techniques, Life Science

Audience: Life scientists, technique development, data analysis

Advances in label-free Imaging

Session Chairs: Kurt Anderson (The Francis Crick Institute, UK) & Joanne Marrison (University of York, UK)

Label-free imaging enables the study of biological samples without the need for labelling agents, which can damage the sample, alter its biology, and give rise to localisation artefacts. Phase contrast microscopy, for which Frits Zernike was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, and differential interference contrast microscopy rely on refractive index differences within the sample to generate images that have been used to study a wide variety of cellular dynamics, including migration, division, proliferation, and lineage tracing. More powerful approaches generate image contrast based on other physical and chemical properties of the sample, resulting in unique interferential, vibrational, auto-fluorescent, birefringent, or acoustic signatures. Label-free approaches can be used to gently image delicate primary cells or to study the chemical composition of cells and tissues. This area of microscopy encompasses a wide range of approaches including quantatitive phase-contrast methods such as ptychography and Raman spectroscopy methods such as broadband CARS. Pre-clinical label-free imaging can also include methods such as micro-CT and MRI. All advances in these or similar methods are welcome in this session.

Keywords: Label-free imaging, Quantitative phase-contrast microscopy, Raman Spectroscopy, CARS, Image analysis

Audience: Microscopists, biologists, physicists, image analysts

Optical Imaging of Fast Dynamic Processes

Session Chairs: Emmanuel Derivery (University of Cambridge, UK) & Mark Leake (University of York, UK)

The hallmark of life is that it is animate. Advances in live cell fluorescence microscopy are enabling the field to shed light on the spatiotemporal nature of critical cellular processes. This session will focus on a current frontier of the field, namely techniques enabling biologists to capture the dynamics of very fast processes, such a membrane remodelling/transport and Calcium signalling, while simultaneously keeping track of the myriad of proteins orchestrating these phenomena.

Keywords: High-speed imaging ; Hyperspectral imaging ; light-sheet microscopy

Audience: General Biologists, light microscopists

Using FLIM and FCS to Determine Interactions and Dynamics

Session Chairs: Steve Briddon (University of Nottingham, UK) & Joelle Goulding (University of Nottingham, UK)

Understanding how proteins, DNA and other cellular constituents such as lipids interact, and the dynamics with which they move, is fundamental to understanding the detail of cellular processes. Time-resolved techniques such as fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) and FRET-FLIM, along with fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy approaches including fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), are powerful approaches to understanding these interactions and dynamics and can be applied to isolated components or in live cells. Recent advances in these techniques, coupled with improved accessibility, have transformed quantitative biology and provided robust means to interrogate spatiotemporal changes in molecular interactions. This session will explore developments in FLIM and FCS approaches, and welcome any submission in method development or their application to biophysical and cell biology studies.

Keywords: FLIM, Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy, Light Microscopy, Dynamics, Interactions, Cell Biology

Audience: Light microscopists, Cell biologists, biophysicists

Life/Physical Science Sessions

Spatial and Imaging Cytometry

Session Chair: Gareth Howell (University of Manchester, UK)

The current increase in multimodal imaging platforms enabling potentially hundreds of targets per sample to be identified has significantly increased our ability to understand biological systems at an unprecedented level. This session will review the current capabilities in this field and address some of the challenges it can present.

Keywords: Imaging, multiplex, high dimensions, imaging cytometry

Audience:  Light microscopy, bioinformatics, imaging cytometry

Artificial Intelligence

Session Chair: Laura Murphy (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning has brought a revolution in the field of computer vision, including many research questions concerned with microscopy analysis. The theme of this session is to highlight and showcase research and technologies being done in this field from within the UK and beyond. Abstracts are invited to present any form of microscopy image analysis that utilises artificial intelligence to the community although the emphasis is on shareable technology which is of practical interest.

Keywords: Computer vision,  Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, Deep learning, Microscopy image analysis

Audience: Research Software Engineers, Image Analysts, Microscopists, Computer scientists, Biologists, Physical scientists, Materials scientists

FIB Applications & EM Sample Prep Techniques in Biological Sciences

Session Chairs: Roland Fleck (King's College London, UK) & Xiangli Zhong (University of Manchester, UK)

This session discusses recent advances in characterisation and sample preparation techniques not limited to ion or electrons beams, but also conventional methods in bio sciences, ranging (not limited to) from fixation techniques to coating or ultramicrotome, for all type of microscopical techniques, examples of the related techniques are serial-section EM/FIB, Electron Tomography, FIB imaging, SBEM imaging, micro CT, array tomography and gridTAPE TEM etc. Focused Ion Beam microscopy has become one of the main techniques in the Life Sciences in recent years thanks to the rapid development of innovative tools for sample preparation, 3D imaging and analytical spectroscopy. It has significantly improved our understanding from the macroscopic to the sub-nanometer level, covering a range of systems from soft biological tissues, biological materials to cells. 

Keywords: Focused Ion Beam, Sample preparation, Tomography, Electron Microscopy, Biological sciences, Tissues and cells

Audience: Biological and multidisciplinary sciences

Public Health: the Impact of Microscopy

Session Chairs: Matthew Hannah (UK Health Security Agency) & Pippa Hawes (The Pirbright Institute, UK)

Microscopy features heavily in the fundamental investigation of how our bodies work; both the healthy body and those with disease.  Animal cells – whether cultured cell lines, primary cells, organoids or tissue sections – can be used to study disease caused by pathogens, toxins or other factors; whether environmental or genetic.  From low magnification light microscopy of diseased tissues, through fluorescence and live cell imaging, to electron microscopy/tomography and structural biology of pathogens both in cells and in isolation, there is an ever-expanding range of microscopy techniques we use to gain insight into human pathology.  This information can be applied to develop or refine therapies with the aim of reducing or preventing the burden of disease.

Microbiology Society - Sponsor logo

This session is kindly sponsored by Microbiology

In this session we will hear from researchers carrying out fundamental science studies using microscopy which will ultimately lead to improvements in public health.

We are particularly pleased to welcome Dr Anjali Kusumbe from the MRC Human Immunology Unit and MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford to our session.  Dr Kusumbe is the winner of this year’s RMS Life Sciences Award and will present her work examining the human vascular system during ageing and disease. 

Keywords: Light and electron microscopy, human disease, pathology, fundamental bioscience, infection

Audience: Pathologists, pathogen researchers, human disease researchers

Microscopy to Modelling 

Session Chairs: James Le Houx (Diamond Light Source, UK) & Leila Muresan (University of Cambridge, UK)

The aim of this session is two-fold: to present the progress of recent years in the field of microscopy and to focus on the interplay between modelling and microscopy in general. Modelling is an essential tool in elucidating the mechanisms underlying biological and physical processes. These processes are often observed via various microscopy imaging techniques across a range of modalities. This session will focus on the challenges and intricacies of exploiting microscopy image data to inform, assess, and validate the modelling process and its results. Besides the problem of interpretation and exploitation of microscopy image data, the limitations of specific microscopy imaging techniques, such as measurement noise, limited observations, limited space/time resolution result in uncertainties that need to be appropriately handled. The problem of scale causes complexity that further increases the difficulty of the task. Finally, moving away from the modelling itself, better models of the instrumentation can feedback into new or improved image analysis methods.

Keywords: Microscopy, image analysis, simulations, modelling,

Audience: Research Software Engineers, Image Analysts, Microscopists, Computer scientists, Biologists, Physical scientists, Materials scientists

Sustainability and Carbon Net Zero

Session Chairs: Alison Parkin (University of York, UK) & Rebecca Thompson (Thermo Fisher Scientific, UK)

Microscopy and spectroscopy techniques are powerful tools to drive sustainability research, from sustainable materials, processes, new innovations can be used to enable carbon neutral and an environmentally sustainable future. On the flip side, microscopy facilities often contain some of the most power hungry and highest carbon-footprint equipment within universities and research institutes. In this session we will consider both how a diverse range of microscopy and spectroscopy techniques can be used to drive developments in sustainable materials and processes for a low carbon future. We will also consider the present and future ways we can deliver microscopy-based research in manner which reduces overall carbon footprint and minimized environmental impact.

Keywords: Sustainable research, sustainable materials, net zero,

Audience: Everyone! Chemistry/physics researchers interested in (sustainable) materials. Those interested in new techniques for studying materials. Anyone who works within or is involved with the management of core facilities/laboratories who wants to learn how to better understand the environmental footprint of their facilities, and then seen to minimize.

FIB Applications & EM Sample Prep Techniques in Physical Sciences

Session Chair: Xiangli Zhong (University of Manchester, UK)

This session discusses recent advances in characterisation and sample preparation techniques not limited to ion or electrons beams, but also conventional methods in physical and multidisciplinary sciences, ranging from (not limited to) polishing, etching/coating to imaging techniques, for all type of microscopes, examples of the related techniques are serial-section EM/FIB, TEM/STEM imaging, in-situ EM, Electron and FIB imaging, micro CT, and tomography etc. Focused Ion Beam microscopy has become one of the main techniques in the physical sciences and multidisciplinary sciences in recent years thanks to the rapid development of innovative tools for sample preparation, 3D imaging and analytical spectroscopy, it has significantly enhanced our understanding from the macroscopic to the sub-nanometer level covering a range of systems from metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and biomaterials.  

Keywords: Focused Ion Beam, Sample preparation, 3D imaging, Electron Microscopy, Materials, Imaging

Audience: Material, physical, and multidisciplinary sciences

Microbial Imaging

Session Chairs: Ainsley Beaton (Microbiology Society/John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK), Rebecca McHugh (Microbiology Society/University of Glasgow, UK) & Liam Rooney (University of Strathclyde, UK)

The fields of Microbiology and Microscopy have been intertwined since their emergence and recent advancements in imaging methods have seen a resurgence in applications to various areas of microbiology. New methods have been developed which span the spatial and temporal scales required to answer fundamental questions in microbiology; how do microbes develop antimicrobial resistance, how do individual cells assemble into complex microbial communities, how can we develop new ways to manage biofouling and chronic infection?

Microbiology Society - Sponsor logo

This session is kindly sponsored by Microbiology

This session aims to showcase recent developments in microscopy, their impact in microbiology, and to demonstrate the overlapping interests of the two fields. To do so, this session aims to cover diverse remit of methods development and applications of advanced imaging methods to microbial research questions.

We have teamed up with the Microbiology Society to bring this session to a wide audience of imaging scientists and microbiologists, which we hope will promote knowledge exchange and collaboration across the fields.

Keywords: Microbiology, Bacterial imaging, Fungal imaging, Viral imaging,

Audience: This session will attract a diverse audience, centered on their applications in microbiology.

Clinical Diagnostic Imaging

Session Chairs: Viji Draviam (Queen Mary University of London, UK) & Patricia Goggin (University of Southampton, UK)

This session aims to showcase emerging light and electron microscopy techniques that are in the pathway towards building clinical applications.  Cutting-edge microscopy image analysis methods aimed at transforming healthcare through the applications of AI will also be discussed.

Keywords: Electron microscopy, Light microscopy, Diagnostic methods, Cell Biology, Image analysis, Clinical pathology

Audience: Clinicians, Biomedical scientists, Basic cell biologists, EM and LM Technicians, Pathologists

Imaging Biomechanics

Session Chair: Christoph Ballestrem (University of Manchester, UK)

The biomechanical properties of tissues alter enormously during development, ageing, injury and certain diseases. This session is all about Imaging Biomechanics. Speakers will present studies that use state-of-the-art imaging methods/tools to investigate the impact of changes of biomechanical properties on tissues or cells, on cellular sub-compartments and on structural changes of proteins. Of particular interest are tools that can deliver mechanistic insight into cellular biomechanical processes.

Keywords: mechanosensors; mechanophores; cell or tissue reporters for biomechanics

Audience: The session would appeal most to those engaged in Cell Biology, Biophysics, and Biomedicine.

Reproducibility of Data Analysis at Scale

Session Chair: Alice Pyne (University of Sheffield, UK)

As data gets ever larger and more complex, from an increasing range of imaging modalities, it is crucial for researchers to ensure their analysis methods adhere to best practice in terms of reproducibility. This encompasses a range of factors, including good software engineering practice, thorough documentation and meticulous data curation, amongst other things, such that all of the ingredients are present for other researchers to be able to replicate or adapt a computational analysis technique. While exciting new algorithms are undoubtedly important in advancing science, their utility is often only fully realised when they are deployed and maintained in robust ways that are accessible to end-users, such as plugins for existing platforms like Fiji and Napari, well documented libraries or standalone scripts. This session seeks to highlight efforts made in the community to ensure analysis of modern imaging datasets is performed in reproducible ways. Abstracts are invited to present examples of reproducible analysis from any form of imaging or microscopy, tools and methods that enable such analyses or any other work that contributes to reproducibility.

Keywords: Reproducibility, Big data , Validation, Benchmarks, Open source software, High Performance computing

Audience: Research Software Engineers, Image Analysts, Microscopists, Computer scientists, Biologists, Physical scientists, Materials scientists

Mass Spectrometry Imaging Across Length Scales in Life and Physical Sciences - Providing Atomic and Molecular Information

Session Chair: Greg McMahon (National Physical Laboratory, UK)

This session will highlight applications different types of mass spectrometry imaging across different length scales from nm to cm, acquired under ambient or UHV conditions, and providing elemental and/or molecular information about samples from the life and physical sciences. The intended audience will be those not as familiar with mass spectrometry imaging compared to more traditional light and electron microscopy and will aim to provide insight into the vast amount of qualitative and quantitative information that can be provided generally unobtainable by other imaging modalities.

Keywords: SIMS, CyTOF, ICP-MS, MALDI, DESI, Data analysis

Audience: The intended audience will be those not as familiar with mass spectrometry imaging compared to more traditional light and electron microscopy and will aim to provide insight into the vast amount of qualitative and quantitative information that can be provided generally unobtainable by other imaging modalities.

Analysis and Imaging in Heritage Science

Session Chair: Alex Ball (Natural History Museum London, UK) & Lore Troalen (National Museums Scotland, UK)

This session is focusing on innovative applications of micro-analysis and imaging technologies to study objects from cultural heritage. We would welcome contributions on the use of SEM, µCT, confocal microscopy but also X-ray based techniques to study museums and archaeological objects. The session could include technical challenges of combining diverse techniques to study heritage materials such as ceramics, metals, glass, paint samples, innovative data analysis approaches, correlation between imaging, and elemental / spectroscopic data. 

Keywords: Heritage Science, material analysis, microscopy, imaging, data treatment 

Audience: Any scientists (of any level) with an interest in Heritage Science. Graduate participants are highly encouraged to attend this session. 

Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Session Chair: Danielle Paul (University of Bristol, UK)

This session will reflect the contributions that both single particle and tomographic data make to the research landscape of Cryo-electron Microscopy. Where single particle has led, tomography is quick to follow; both techniques now provide the opportunity to resolve structures of proteins and macromolecular complexes at increasingly higher resolutions. Abstracts are invited from researchers using these techniques, we will learn how they are used to aid our understanding of complex biological systems. 

Keywords: Cryo EM, Single Particle, Tomography, Molecular Structure, Protein Structure, Cellular Structure

Audience:  Structural Biologists, Biochemists, PhD students, Post Docs, Researchers Academic & Industrial (Biomed)

Correlative and Multimodal X-ray Microscopy

Session Chair: Charles Wood (University of Portsmouth, UK)

X-rays are used for characterising a wide range of natural and artificial systems, and dynamic processes, across numerous scientific disciplines. Different modalities, such as X-ray imaging, X-ray spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction, can be combined to provide more information about a system under investigation. X-rays, however, are also useful in a correlative workflow (e.g., alongside electrons, optical photons, neutrons, and others), where different scientific questions may be asked, or different answers obtained, depending upon the length scale of interest. This session invites submissions from those who are using X-rays in either a multimodal or correlative manner, with emphasis on the X-ray portion of the research workflow. We welcome submissions featuring national X-ray facilities, but of particular interest are those where novel laboratory-based X-ray techniques have been employed.

Keywords: X-ray imaging, X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray phase contrast, correlative X-ray, multimodal X-ray

Audience: Those working within both the life and physical sciences, across a range of length scales. No experience of X-rays required.

Multiscale and Correlative Microscopy Approaches to Microanalysis and Spectroscopy

Session Chairs: Dogan Ozkaya (Johnson Matthey, UK) & Julia Parker (Diamond Light Source, UK)

A session exploring correlative and multilength scale spectroscopy and microscopy across multiple techniques. Elemental spectroscopy and microscopy are able to provide new insights into a wide spectrum of scientific fields including batteries, catalysts, nanomaterials and pharmaceuticals, with improvements in spatial and/or spectral resolution having a significant impact on research. Increasingly multiple techniques and probes (visible light, X-rays, electrons, ions..) are used to provide complementary or correlative information. This session is dedicated to studies which combine and cross reference imaging and mapping data across techniques and lengthscales in order to address materials and life science questions, covering all aspects and related challenges, from sample preparation and transport between instruments, to image correlation and alignment.

Keywords: Correlative, nano, micro, spectroscopy, Electron microscopy, X-ray microscopy

Audience: Materials and Life Sciences, EPS EM X-ray and data analysis committees/FIGs

QUAREP-LiMi: an International Collaboration for Microscope Quality Control

Session Chairs: Alex Laude (Newcastle University, UK) & Glyn Nelson (Newcastle University, UK)

The QUality Assessment and REProducibility for instruments and images in Light Microscopy (QUAREP-LiMi) initiative ( aims at convening the light microscopy community with the explicit purpose of reaching a broad consensus concerning Quality Control and Quality Assessment guidelines for optical microscopy to be adopted worldwide.  This session will exemplify some of the output of QUAREP-LiMi so far and discuss future directions.

Keywords: Quality Control, maintenance, quality control, reproducibility, quantification

Audience: Light microscope owners and managers, Instrument Developers

New and Emerging Concepts in Microscopy

Session Chairs: Shelly Conroy (Imperial College London, UK) & Gail McConnell (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Late breaking submissions are invited to report the very latest results in microscopy. This abstract deadline is not intended to be merely an extension of the general submission deadline: instead this session provides an opportunity for researchers to present the most exciting recent developments in the field.