19th International Microscopy Congress (IMC19)

Program Streams and Symposia Topics

IMC19 represents a forum for sharing and contesting the latest ideas and technologies in the world of microscopy. The 2018 program will be truly transformational, featuring the world’s thought leaders and rising stars. 

The scientific program will include world-renowned plenary and invited speakers, young scientists showcasing their research, digital posters and Pre-Congress workshops. The program will encompass four main streams – Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Instrumentation and Techniques and Frontier Issues.


Physical Sciences

Chair: Prof Julie Cairney – The University of Sydney, Australia
Committee: A/Prof Jodie Bradby, Prof Marc de Graef, Dr Alex la Fontaine, Prof Dr Joachim Mayer, A/Prof Matt Weyland, Prof Jin Zou 

PS1 - Nanoscale, nanostructured and porous materials

With the advent of nanosciences and nanotechnologies, electron microscopy has become indispensable in structural characterization and local property measurements of nano-objects, such as nanowires, nanotubes or more generally nanoparticles. Porous inorganic and organic materials with pores (from vacancies to holes) visible to the naked eye are frequently found in nature (wood, rocks, bones) and in man-made objects (biomaterials, cements, ceramics). New microscopic methodologies, especially electron tomography, are currently undergoing rapid expansion and facilitate the development of nanoporous and nano-architectured materials. This symposium demonstrates the importance of microscopic techniques in nanomaterial research, namely in structural analysis and characterization of inorganic nanomaterials and nanostructured materials, with the exception of carbon-based nanomaterials and purposely designed hybrid nanostructures. It also focuses on microscopy methods applied to the investigation of natural and man-made porous inorganic and organic materials and hybrids. 

PS2 - Carbon-based materials and 2D structures

Carbon-based nanomaterials, such as carbon nanoparticles, nanotubes, fullerenes and graphenes are well established in the nanosciences. Engineering applications are growing extremely fast, with microscopy playing a pivotal role. Conversely, rapid progress in the nanosciences has been driving the latest developments in microscopic instrumentation and techniques. This symposium focuses on microscopic investigation of carbon-based nanomaterials and nanostructured diamond thin films, including the determination of their atomic and chemical structure, characterization of their electronic, magnetic and optical properties, and observation and characterization of their dynamic behaviour under various external interventions.

PS3 - Thin films, coatings and surfaces

Special microstructures found at material surfaces, coatings and thin films play an essential role in a number of research domains, and microscopic imaging and analytical techniques have become indispensable for their investigation. This symposium highlights the use of electron microscopy techniques in surface and thin film research. The issues to be covered include characterization of defects at interfaces, assessment of composition and electronic bonding at interfaces using HAADF-STEM and EELS, correlation of theory/simulation with experimental measurements, investigation of special interfaces between dissimilar materials essential in electronics, medical and smart materials applications. 

PS4 - Metals and alloys

Novel advanced-engineering metallic materials and metal-matrix composites are being developed in response to ongoing demand from industry for higher strength, lower weight and improved fatigue and corrosion resistance. Significant breakthroughs in engineering material research and development require detailed knowledge of structure-property relationships. Recent advances in spatial and chemical resolution of electron microscopy techniques along with high resolution 3D information from atom probe techniques allows for a more detailed investigation into the structure–property relationships in metals and alloys, including highly complex advanced engineering materials, multiphase nanostructured steels, materials having undergone severe plastic deformation, materials hardened by precipitates etc. This symposium encompasses applications of modern microscopic methods and the investigation of microstructure in metallic alloys and metal matrix composites.

PS5 - Ceramics and inorganic composites

Ceramics and inorganic materials, particularly complex oxides remain in the limelight owing to their excellent physical properties. They are increasingly used in layered heterostructures for a wide range of applications in electronics, smart structures and energy-related devices. This symposium focuses on the use of microscopic techniques in materials research, as related to the growth and characterization of complex oxide films, characterization of superlattices, interfaces and grain boundaries in ceramics and inorganic materials, and evaluation of the relationship between structure and physical properties in ceramics and inorganic materials.

PS6 - Biomaterials, polymers and polymer-based composites

Synthetic polymers, biopolymers, and their composites with inorganic materials represent a unique kind of material for microscopic studies. They are structured over a wide range of length scales from the macroscale to nanoscale. A variety of imaging methods such as optical microscopy, SEM, TEM, SPM, X-ray and neutron imaging is thus required. In addition, the development of materials for biomedical applications, such as implants or external biomedical devices, is an area of growth in materials science that frequently involves advanced microscopy.

PS7 - Semiconductors and materials for communication

Microscopy techniques are currently heavily used in semiconductor research. As the miniaturization of silicon-based electronics components in integrated circuits is reaching its limits, a variety of new materials and/or technologies are being considered as substitutes. This symposium invites contributions about microscopy methods as applied to the investigation of both traditional semiconductor materials and new materials for spintronics, bioelectronics and unconventional data storage.



PS8 - Phase transformations and corrosion

The phases that make up materials govern the properties of materials. Advanced microscopy has historically played a pivotal role in expanding our knowledge about structure, chemical composition and physical properties of phases and how they form and transform. In-situ microscopy is leading to advancements in knowledge in this area. Corrosion processes are also governed by these transformations. This symposium will concentrate on research around understanding phase transformations and corrosion via microscopy techniques.


PS9 - Amorphous and disordered materials, liquid crystals

Microscopy is a prominent tool for the investigation of amorphous materials featuring aperiodic structures (semiconductors, ceramics, metallic glasses, strain glass and polymers). These materials represent extremely complex objects for electron microscope studies. The symposium invites contributions about microscopic characterization of structurally disordered materials by imaging, diffraction and spectroscopy methods, as well as the structure-properties relations. Materials featuring disorder that is not purely structural, such as polarization, magnetization, or spin domains are not within the scope of this symposium.


PS10 - Magnetic, ferroelectric and multiferroic materials

Magnetic, ferroelectric and multiferroic functional materials for information technologies and smart structure applications are set to remain in the limelight. The “non-structural disorder” in these materials manifests itself as highly mobile domains and domain walls. These are due to a local arrangement of magnetic, electric and/or local electronic properties. This symposium focuses on the latest applications of electron microscopy techniques to characterize local structure and magnetic and electronic properties of these materials.


PS11 - Materials in geology, mineralogy and archeology

Microscopy has traditionally been an indispensable tool in investigating geological materials. Recent improvements in resolution of electron microscopes have opened up new possibilities for the characterization of geological materials at the nanoscale level (HRTEM/HRSTEM), including crystallographic (ED, NBD, CBED) and microchemical (EDS, EELS, EFTEM) characterization. This symposium focuses on a microscopic characterization of geomaterials from a wide range of research areas, including traditional earth sciences.

PS12 - Materials for energy production, storage and catalysis

Due to the accelerated diminishing of natural resources, materials required for the generation, transmission and storage of energy, such as those employed in nuclear power plants, fuel and solar cells, and hydrogen storage or thermoelectric devices are of increased importance. Research into and development of new catalytic materials required in novel clean technologies for environmentally friendly energy generation, nanoelectronics and healthcare applications has already undergone a significant shift towards nanomaterials, thus heavily relying on modern microscopic methods. This symposium focuses on the applications of advanced microscopy and spectroscopy methods to study materials for energy conversion and storage or catalysis.

PS13 - Physical science applications of in-situ microscopy

In-situ transmission electron microscopy techniques are moving beyond first-of-their-kind demonstrations in the lab to becoming mainstream microscopy techniques being used to solve real-world materials problems. This symposium will focus on physical sciences applications of in-situ microscopy, rather than focusing on developments in in-situ instrumentation.

Instrumentation and Techniques

Chair: Prof Joanne Etheridge – Monash University, Australia
Committee: Prof Michael Bosman, Prof Wah Chiu, Prof Jacob Hoogenboom, Prof Sandra Van Aert, Prof Roger Wepf

Proposed topics:
IT1 – Instrumentation
IT2 – Computational methods for data acquisition, analysis and visualisation
IT3 – Methods and workflows for correlative microscopy
IT4 – Cryo-TEM techniques for biological material
IT5 – In-situ, environmental and time-resolved microscopies
IT6 – Diffraction techniques
IT7 – Multi-scale 3D imaging
IT8 – Phase-related techniques
IT9 – STEM and TEM imaging
IT10 – SEM, FIB, scanning probe and surface microscopy
IT11 – Optical Nanoscopy and Spectral Imaging Techniques
IT12 – Spectroscopy – High energy excitations and local chemical analysis
IT13 – Spectroscopy – Low energy excitations and ultrafast spectroscopies
IT14 – Advances in Atom Probe Tomography

More details to come…


Frontier Issues

Chair: Prof Julie Cairney – The University of Sydney, Australia
Committee: A/Prof Jodie Bradby, Prof Marc de Graef, Dr Alex la Fontaine, Prof Dr Joachim Mayer, A/Prof Matt Weyland, Prof Jin Zou 

FI1 - Outreach

The visual nature of the data generated by advanced microscopy provides us with a wonderful opportunity to communicate with the public, both those with a passion for science, and even those with only a passing interest. In our community many microscopists interact though exhibitions, lab tours, and the development of online content with an external focus. Outreach also encompasses activities aimed at community training tools and providers of information, which is increasingly made available online to all. This symposium will cover a range of microscopy outreach activities being undertaken worldwide.


FI2 - Data management (storage, processing and sharing)

A dramatic expansion in the volume of research data generated by microscopy and microanalysis is a result of both the increased richness or complexity of data that can be obtained from contemporary techniques, e.g. the increased digital and spectral resolution of modern detectors, and the transition from the probing systems in two- or three- dimensions toward the routine acquisition of 4D and 5D data arrays where compositional (spectroscopic) and time-resolved information are superimposed onto spatially resolved data sets.  This leads to challenges with data storage processing and sharing. This symposium will compare approaches to solving these new problems.

FI3 - Facility management

Microscopy facilities may exist to serve a specific research effort, or they may be core user facilities that serve either a local or a wider range or researchers. This symposium will benefit any type of facility via the sharing of best practice in laboratory management, training procedures and safety practice.

FI4 - AMMRF-ACNP exchange of technical experience session

The AMMRF (Australia) and the ACNP (Japan) are both national networks of open-access microscopy laboratories, designed to provide strategic investment and efficient use of public research infrastructure. In support of their memorandum of understanding, they will hold this joint session to share technical expertise in parallel with IMC19. All are welcome to attend.

Life Sciences

Chair: A/Prof Filip Braet – The University of Sydney, Australia
Committee: Dr Lucy Collinson, Prof Yves Dufrêne, Dr Jan Ellenberg, Prof Katharina Gaus, A/Prof Eric Hanssen, Prof Bram Koster, Prof Thomas Müller-Reichert, Prof Rob Parton, Prof Peter Peters, Dr Melanie Rug, Dr Yannick Schwab, Prof Paul Verkade, Dr Renee Whan, Dr Rosemary White

Since the last IMC conference, the life sciences have witnessed unprecedented progress that coincides with the development of novel microscopy instrumentation and approaches. New breakthroughs in optical super-resolution imaging, cryogenic approaches, direct electron detection, including the ever-growing activity in correlative and integrated imaging have changed the landscape of biological microscopy for many generations to come. Contributors to these thrilling advances have recently been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the invention of optical super-resolution imaging and cryogenic electron microscopy. This part of the IMC-19 program aims therefore to accurately report on those advances with special emphasis on how these innovations have contributed to our enriched understanding in the complexities of life.

LS-1. Structure and Function of Cells & Organelles

Chairs: Bram Koster & Sharon Wolf

Developments in techniques as well as their application to assess structure and function of cells and organelles. The sessions covers specimen preparation approaches, advances in multi-resolution multi-modal imaging methods and issues related to interpretation (e.g. on-section labelling, HPF/FS, in-resin fluorescence, chemical fixation, cryo-immobilization, SBF-SEM, array tomography, correlative microscopy, tomography, cryo tomography). The focus of the session is on the biological cell and its interactions, excluding structural studies of macromolecular assemblies.

LS-2. Multiplex Live Imaging of Cells, Tissues & Organisms

Chairs: Renee Whan & David Piston

The capacity of light microscopy to reveal information in space and time has bourgeoned the development of technologies and applications for biological and biomedical research. Indeed temporal imaging is necessary to reveal and measure the complex dynamic information of biological systems. In this session we will focus on the use of live imaging; from 2 and 3-dimensional cell cultures to intravital and lightsheet microscopy. Particular focus will be on the capacity to examine multiple processes simultaneously, such as; multiscale or multi- molecular imaging, or correlating with spectral, lifetime, mechanical or structural components.

LS-3. 3-D Structures of Macromolecules & Supramolecular Assemblies

Chairs: Eric Hanssen & Gabriel Lander

Up until recently X-ray diffraction was the primary technique used to solve the structure of proteins of all sizes while electron cryo microscopy (cryoEM) was limited to large complexes and yielded a relatively low resolution. The release of a new generation of electron detectors along with phase plate and microscope automation is shifting the current paradigm. Single particle CryoEM can now rival synchrotron base x-ray sources in term of resolution without the need for crystallization. Other approaches such as Subtomogram Averaging can lead to near atomic resolution maps of protein within their natural environment while cryo Micro Electron Diffraction yield atomic resolution structures in a few minutes of acquisition. This session will cover recent advances and illustrate the field of opportunities that cryoEM can offer the structural biology community.

LS-4. Atomic Force Microscopy in Molecular and Cell Biology

Chairs: Yves Dufrêne & Peter Hinterdorfer

Within three decades, atomic force microscopy (AFM) has established as a powerful multifunctional probing platform in biology, enabling the imaging and manipulation of biological samples down to molecular resolution. Achieving the full potential of AFM in biology has required continuous technological developments in order to improve important limitations of the method. This session will highlight recently developed bio-AFM modes, including multiparametric, molecular recognition, and high-speed imaging, as well as advanced force spectroscopy assays for measuring interactions in single molecules and cells. Invited and contributed talks will emphasize the enormous potential of AFM in fields ranging from structural and molecular biology to microbiology and cell biology.

LS-5. Cellular Transport & Dynamics

Chairs: Rob Parton & Georg Ramm

Research into the inner workings of the cell and the dynamic biological complexes required for life is being revolutionised by the application of a newly developed suite of microscopic techniques. This session will highlight some of the new methods being applied to the understanding of cellular organization with a particular emphasis on membrane transport and intracellular dynamics. This session will cover a range of techniques, including both advanced light microscopy and new methods in electron microscopy, and their application to the study of intracellular organisation and dynamic cellular processes.

LS-6. Applications of Cryo Electron Microscopy in Biology

Chairs: Thomas Mueller-Reichert & Michel Steinmetz

This session covers recent advances and applications in biological electron microscopy at the molecular, cellular and organismic level, including cryo-methods for specimen preparation. Also aspects of 3D data collection (electron tomography, FIB-SEM and serial blockface imaging) and image processing for 3D modelling will be covered. This session excludes molecular imaging by cryo-EM for single particle analysis.

LS-7. Embryology & Developmental Biology

Chairs: Louise Cole & Anastasios Pavlopoulos

From early embryological descriptions to contemporary systems-level developmental reconstructions, many breakthroughs in embryology and developmental biology have been intrinsically linked to advances in microscopy. This session will cover recent progress made in noninvasive in vivo live-imaging technologies, including state-of-the-art microscopy modalities, labeling strategies, and computational image analysis tools. These improvements have enabled to meet the challenges of capturing and measuring the behaviors of thousands of cells, subcellular structures or even single molecule dynamics in their normal context of development. Entire embryos can be visualized throughout their development at high spatiotemporal resolution and with minimal photo-toxicity leading to fundamental insights into the molecular, cellular and biophysical mechanisms underlying cell fate specification, tissue and organ morphogenesis and differentiation.

LS-8. Pathology and Immunocytochemistry & Biomolecular Labeling

Chairs: Paul Verkade & Danielle Jorgen

The localisation of proteins and structures of interest is of critical importance in Biomedical Research. There is a whole plethora of techniques and approaches to try to achieve maximum labelling, best penetration and optimal visualisation. This can be done using pre- and post-embedding methods using both particulate particles and precipitation methods. In this session we will cover both novel labelling strategies as well as new or innovative ways of using established methods.

LS-9. Applications in Correlative Microscopy of Biological Systems

Chairs: Lucy Collinson & Yannick Schwab

Correlative microscopy is a growing family of techniques that combines, on one sample, a sequence of various imaging modalities, opening to structure-function analysis in the Life Sciences.  While covering a range of methodological implementations on various model systems this session will also focus on examples of ground-breaking applications in Biology. We would welcome contributions that promote correlating any of such imaging modalities (but not restricted to): fluorescence imaging, electron microscopy, cryo-EM, volume EM, micro-CT, soft X-ray, AFM, etc.

LS-10. Plant Science & Mycology

Chairs: Rosemary White & Staffan Persson

This session will focus on all aspects of plant and fungal cell biology, including analysis at the tissue and organ level. The key will be use of new technologies and preparation techniques to obtain novel image data to understand cell and tissue composition, growth, and dynamics. This can include  tissue and cellular localization of essential nutrient elements, composition and dynamics of plant and fungal structures and organelles, interactions with the environment and plant-fungal interactions.

LS-11. Innovations in Light / Laser Microscopy and Optical Nanoscopy

Chairs: Katharina Gaus & Jan Ellenberg

This session explores the recent technological advances in light microscopy and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and their applications in biology. These imaging technologies are anticipated to revolutionise cell and molecular biological as they bridge the resolution gap between electron microscopy with nanometre and sub-nanometre resolution and conventional light microscopy that typically has a resolution limit of several hundreds of nanometres. The session will include research in instrumentation and improved data acquisition particularly for biological samples as well as novel approaches in image and data analysis to extract biologically meaningful information

LS-12. Multimodal Molecular Imaging in Health & Disease

Chairs: Peter Peters & Peijun Zhang

Electron cryo tomography has brought an explosion of new mechanistic insights into the biology in health and disease. Therefore this session will focus on new studies of macromolecular assemblies inside intact cells. Often such machines cannot be purified or the structure is lost outside the cell, so that the mechanism can be understood only by observation in situ. In this session, we will also highlight method developments that will improve and expand the scope three-dimensional views of macromolecular complexes and we will provide examples of its power when applied to cell biology. Mass Spec Imaging, Serial Block Face Scanning, Focused Ion Beam Milling are revealing new insights that feed electron cryo tomography. In this session we will welcome and highlight the latest developments of multimodel macromolecular imaging in health and disease.

LS-13. Invertebrate Biology & Taxonomy

Chairs: Marek Cyrklaff & Lars Hufnagel

Invertebrates comprise many different forms of life. Some are established model organisms such as Drosophila and C elegans that are widely used to study various aspects of life. Others are studied for their medical importance, such as parasitic helminths. Their taxonomy has always been reinforced by microscopical analyses. Nowadays we witness a revival of ultra-microscopy studies to tackle the classification of fast growing numbers of newly discovered organisms, in particular of marine organisms. This symposium will highlight recent fascinating examples of advanced light and electron imaging of various invertebrates, including marine organisms, embryonic development, origin and evolution of nervous system.

LS-14. Host-Pathogen Interactions, Microbiology & Virology

Chairs: Melanie Rug & Freddy Frischknecht

Parasitic organisms, microbes and viruses are the causing agents of major diseases and are accountable for millions of deaths around the world each year. In order to combat these masters of adaptation and evolution we need to understand the intricate relationships with their host cells and tissues. This session covers advanced methods in microscopy ranging from studying dynamics of host-pathogen interactions in artificial membranes to elucidating their complex development and interactions by superresolution and 3D cryo electron microscopy techniques.

Please note the above information is correct as of 16 October 2017 and is subject to change.


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