Between January 24 and January 30, 2009, SPIE organized a special symposium about „Biomedical Spectroscopy, Microscopy, and Imaging“ as part of North America's Largest Photonics Event („Photonics West“). The „Single Molecule Spectroscopy and Imaging“ conference was surely one of the highlights of this symposium, and about 150 scientists enjoyed more than 40 presentations.
The aim of this conference was to provide a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary forum for spectroscopists, biochemists and engineers to exchange information on ultrasensitive optical detection and spectroscopy down to the single-molecule level, and its applications in chemoanalysis, biophysics, biological and biomedical research, medical diagnostics, and microscopy.
The conference covered a wide range of different single-molecule techniques such as fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), fluorescence lifetime Imaging (FLIM), or Foerster resonance energy transfer (FRET), with a special focus on biological and biomedical applications. The presentations showed clearly that single molecule spectroscopy has become an important tool in fundamental biological and biomedical research as it allows the study of function and interaction of individual biomolecules.
A highlight had been the sessions about superresolution microscopy. Starting with a general overview given in a keynote lecture by Prof. Stefan Hell, the subsequent talks presented many new and exciting results, demonstrating for example the possibility of achieving optical far-field resolution down to 1 nm.
Special attention was paid by the conference chairs Jörg Enderlein (University of Göttingen), Zygmunt Gryczynski (Center for Commercialization of Flurescence Technologies, UNTHSC) and Rainer Erdmann (PicoQuant GmbH) to the presentations of Young Investigators. A specially dedicated YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD worth 750 USD was sponsored by PicoQuant to motivate these students to submit and present their work to such a leading event.
The large amount of excellent talks this year made it impossible to pick a single winner. In the end, PicoQuant honoured the outstanding work of several young scientists by increasing the award amount to a total of 1125 USD and splitting it equally between Sigrun Henkenjohann (University Bielefeld, paper 7185-02), Jonas Fölling (MPI Göttingen, paper 7185-20) and Nathan P. Wells (Los Alamos Nat. Labs, paper 7185-33).
The award offers the winners also a registration fee waver for the leading European Meeting on "Single Molecule Spectroscopy and Ultra Sensitive Analysis in the Life Sciences" , to be held in September 15-18, 2009, in Berlin.
The next „Single Molecule Spectroscopy and Imaging“ conference will be held in San Francisco as part of the Photonics West in January 23-28, 2010.
SPIE and the conference chairs encourage all scientists in the field to join it again for presenting their latest scientific results.
We thank all authors of this year’s session who submitted their papers in time, and our thanks go also to the SPIE staff (especially Ingrid Taylor and Lisa Polinder) helping us tremendously to make this session such a successful event.