IMC19 brings the future of science into focus

26th Sep, 2018

Critical discoveries and research that will help to transform health, science and industry are set to be the lasting legacy of the 19th International Microscopy Congress (IMC19), according to leaders of the scientific world.
Held every four years, IMC19 saw more than 2,100 of the world’s top scientists and researchers from 48 countries come together at ICC Sydney to network, collaborate and discover the latest high-tech instrumentation and systems in microscopy and microanalysis.
IMC19 also inspired the next generation of young scientists with its Schools Outreach Program, which welcomed 570 students from 19 schools. The program also featured a “Young Scientists Assembly” where 50 young scientists from around the world enjoyed the opportunity to discuss career planning with some of the most senior figures in the field.
Professor Simon Ringer, Congress Chair, said the impact of IMC19 would be revealed over time from the global scientific community.
“Innovations in microscopy enable us to extend our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. IMC19 brought together leaders in both the development and the application of microscopy in a huge range of disciplines,” he said.
“These connections will ultimately lead to breakthroughs, as researchers take the insights from advanced microscopy to develop a treatment for cancer, a vaccine for a virus, or a new 3D printed metallurgical alloy that improves our atmosphere by being strong and light and thereby fuel and greenhouse gas efficient.”
The week-long scientific program included presentations by four expert plenary speakers, two Nobel Laureates, 150 invited presenters as well as 26 pre-congress workshops and 463 oral talks, bridging the primary streams of Frontier Issues; Instrumentation and Techniques; Physical and Life Sciences.
The pioneering IMC19 Outreach Learning Program welcomed high school students to experience the very latest light and electron microscope equipment and a chance to meet with researchers and specialists in microscopy.
Mrs Diane Fairweather, Head of Science, Riverstone High School, said the program allowed students to access cutting-edge technology.
“This was a great STEM initiative by IMC19 and an amazing experience for the students who came. We don’t have these microscopes at our school and without the IMC19 Outreach Program, most of our students wouldn’t be able to use this equipment,” said Fairweather.
“Our students are engaged; they are learning directly from experts on things like using the lens to focus – it’s a real hands-on experience.”
The Outreach Program offered students access to the latest equipment including, VR, four scanning electron microscopes, 20 life microscopes and 3D printing. Equipment and demonstrations were supported by Zeiss, Leica, AXT, Keepad Interactive, NewSpec, ATA, Coherent, UNSW Art and Design and Me3D.
Citing recent examples of some of the life-changing advancements that have developed as a direct result of microscopy, Dr Alan Finkel, Australia’s Chief Scientist, inspired the audience at IMC19 and set the scene for a week of breakthroughs in his opening address.

“An investment in this field (microscopy) is an investment in nanoparticles that target such things as a drug directly to malignant cells; 3D printed lattices that act like tiny factories for T-cells; vital in the new generation of cancer immunotherapies and more,” said Dr Finkel.
“Without Microscopy, there is no modern science – end of story.”
Professor Paul Munroe, Congress Co-Chair, said IMC19 had laid the foundations for great things.
“We are excited to see where the collaborations from IMC19 take the industry, and what new technology and research will be showcased at the next congress in Korea in 2022,”
he said.
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