MSB'2006 is over. For the organizers certainly a relief. But the reactions
we received meanwhile are all very positive. We all greatly appreciate
this. Additional reactions are wholeheartedly welcomed. We will post your
reactions on this website (but of course only with your permission).
This website will stay open for a long period. You will continue to have access to the program and the abstracts. We will be adding further information like details on the award contests and photographs. On this page you will also find a summary of my opening and closing remarks.
Please feel free to contact us via this mail form or write to info-at-msb2006.org (replace '-at-' with '@')
Welcome to the 20th International Symposium on MicroScale Bioseparations, MSB'2006 which formerly was known as the International Symposium on MicroScale Analysis and High Performance Capillary Electrophoresis, the HPCE series. I am glad that today is January 22, 2006. All that had to be arranged for this symposium has been organized and when it is not we have to improvise, which is something the Dutch are good in anyway. You have noticed already our solution for the missing conference bags, for which the International Institute of Asian Studies in Leiden, the Netherlands is greatly acknowledged.
One must be naïve and ignorant to decide that you want to apply for the organization of such an international symposium. When I did, in 2000 at the symposium issue in Saarbrücken, which was organized by Heinz Engelhardt and his students, it seemed all very easy and straightforward to do it. There were around 700 participants and with that number it looked a piece of cake and a sure business.
But I also remembered, when I informed my management about my intentions and the application and the approval from the committee for HPCE'2006, they told me, "well 6 years is a long time. Many things can change during that time".
And yes indeed, a lot has changed from then. Attendance went down quite noticeable. This is a serious problem, because one needs a certain base of participants in order to pay for the infrastructure and overhead of the symposium. Also participation by industrial scientist deteriorated, which is an additional concern since their presence is "the meat in the soup".
Capillary Electrophoresis, which by nature is a "microscale" separation technique lost momentum compared with the nineties. Other, pressure driven microseparations and their application e.g. in proteomics and the coupling especially with mass spectrometry has grown in importance.
These two aspects have been the main driver for the name and emphasis change of the conference series that was decided by the scientific advisory board in 2004 after HPCE'2004
The change in emphasis though is a challenge for the scientific advisory board of the series and for the organizers of the annual issues. A challenge, which I would say at this moment is not yet mastered.
In last year's issue and the first one with the new name, MSB'2005 in New Orleans, Mike Ramsey was the first to take on this challenge. Mike needs to be credited at this point to position the symposium as the premier meeting for Separations on the MicroScale (micrometers and below) for chemical or biological analyses. MicroScale both in "traditional" capillary shaped format as well as in the newer micro-structured rectangular or other shaped devices. This to distinguish the meeting from many other meetings that are involved in the development and manufacturing of microfluidic devices for chemical analysis, diagnostic or sensing purposes.
The second aspect he brought in was to focus on the one hand on fundamental and methodological aspects of MicroScale separations and on the other hand on their application in the analysis of biologically relevant molecules. And there is where the prefix 'Bio' comes in. It means a focus on compounds which are involved, direct or indirect, in biological activities. This is much more than just peptide, proteins or nucleotides. It comprises everything from pharmaceuticals, to toxins and other small molecules. It comprises therefore also the highly actual fields of "omics" (proteomics, metabolomics, etc), the quality, safety and authenticity of our food, forensic and home land defense. There has been some discussion whether the prefix "Bio" is appropriate in the meeting name. I think with the apprehension of the word I just described, it is appropriate.
We also have listened to some of you from the pharmaceutical industry in order to understand better your expectations and requirements. For example, In nowadays hectic times, many industrial scientist don't have much time to learn about new developments in the discipline and evaluate these on their merit for their own R&D work or routine analyses. A symposium like MSB thus should offer an opportunity for learning besides meeting one's peers. Therefore we have scheduled two plenary lectures everyday and have asked the presenters to include some tutorial content that introduces their field of research besides focus on latest results.
We have arranged an extensive short-course and workshop and there will be lunch table discussion during the week. Lunch table discussions will allow you intensive discussion with one of the plenary, short-course or workshop leader in an informal manner. You will find details in your Program and Abstracts Book.
Parallel sessions are headed off with two keynote lectures followed by short orals. These are arranged in the two flavors the series focuses on: fundamental and methodological progress in MicroScale separations and applications in Bioseparations. Dispersed in the sessions and in a special session on Wednesday, are contributions by "Young Scientist". PhD Students who get an opportunity to expose themselves and their work to an international audience. In addition, they compete for an award, generously offered by Waters Corporation.
We have a large poster program (about 200 posters have been submitted), which also has, by tradition a best poster award generously sponsored by Agilent Technologies.
On three days their will be industrial seminars, where also there is emphasis on educational aspects of the products and services from companies at the exhibition. The exhibitioners are integral to the symposium. We are glad that they are here, they contribute to the financial backbone of the meeting and all booths are worth a visit.
Overall participation now rates around 390 representing participants from 33 countries
At the beginning of the symposium I'd like to acknowledge all supporting organizations, sponsors and exhibitors for their help. You will find details in the Program and Abstracts Book. A special thank you is for the Royal Dutch Chemical Society which has provided the safety net for the organizers. Also a special thanks to my own company, Agilent Technologies that besides being a generous sponsor also provided support for me to attend all the preparation meetings in the two years past.
I'd like to thank the permanent scientific advisory board for their guidance. Special thanks to my colleagues in the local organization committee. It has been fun to work with so many experienced people. An important part of the work was taken care off by our congress organizer, CAOS. Working with them was smooth and professional. The RAI Congress organization is acknowledged. Everything worked out very well, in daily short meetings issues were handled. Lunches and receptions were great. We also like to express our thanks to the city of Amsterdam for their invitation on Monday evening.
Finally, I'd like to thank all contributors and participants to the meeting. Without you there would not have been a conference. We hope you all have enjoyed it and look back to your feedback. Else
Contact the symposium chairman here.