Networking Gets Hands-On in Portugal

Event organizers in Lisbon, Portugal were careful to provide hands-on practical learning sessions as part of their three day course that brought together 49 PhD and MD students with backgrounds ranging from medicine and biology to biochemistry and engineering. Held at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) of the Lisbon Medical School, University of Lisbon (FMUL), the course offered a twist on the typical networking event, combining theoretical sessions to provide a conceptual framework of future research priorities in the nanomedicine and nanotechnology areas, with practical atomic force microscopy (AFM) classes. These classes allowed students to work directly with the apparatus and with the lecturers, learning new techniques while making close connections for future collaborations.

Dr. Ivo Martins, IMM, shares his thoughts on the successful event below:

Portugal Pic1Given that biophysics is a crossroads discipline that demands and benefits input from several areas, we made a concerted effort to bring together students with different scientific backgrounds. The eclectic gathering of researchers and lecturers, most working in biophysics and nanomedicine/nanotechnology, allows researchers aiming to create a network of similar-minded to meet up and connect. Additionally, the inclusion of the MD students has the side effect of making future medical doctors aware of current research and able to understand the scientific jargon, which will certainly help to establish translational medicine partnerships between biophysical researchers and health care professionals in the future.

The large number of MD students wishing to participate and the interest of all students in the AFM practical classes were both highly rewarding. Positive feedback from attendees was very encouraging and, not only prompts us to follow up on this topic in the future, but also suggests that these kind of events are highly needed and are greatly demanded by graduate students in the area.

The practical sessions allow for the theoretical knowledge to become fully consolidated, Portugal Pic2allowing them, in the future, to be more at ease to design biophysical approaches to study the different biological problems that they investigate. Given this event’s success, we plan to host an event along those lines in the future, featuring, among other techniques, circular dichroism (CD), Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) and fluorescence spectroscopy measurements. Future courses would include a theoretical part, dealing with the current basic understanding of the physical-chemistry properties, together with the applications of the techniques mentioned above. It would also feature a hands-on approach, for the students to acquire practical skills and learn how to address the problems and issues typically encountered during measurements.
– Ivo Martins

For more information about Biophysical Society support for local networking programs, and to see if there are any upcoming events in your area, please visit our website.

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