iMNC 2017 Programme Chair Albert van den Berg Points out the Highlights
“The content in the domain of Organ on Chip, research and technology really is breathtaking. Typical for the enthusiasm that has become part of the yearly International MicroNanoConference the last couple of years.”
The internationally honored professor Albert van den Berg is clearly proud to chair this year’s programme committee of the iMNC. “Sure the conference already had a vast and renowned base in microfluidics and nano instrumentation. However what is happening now, here in the West European lowlands, is quite unique. The cross fertilization between high end specialisms in micro electronics, microfluidics, molecular biology and health sciences evolves at an astonishingly high speed.”
Van den Berg pays credit to the people in the Dutch ecosystem: “People like Janny van den Eijnden – van Raaij and Christine Mummery of the hDMT, human Organ and Disease Model Technologies consortium play a decisive role in bringing together the right people, expertise and, not the least important, funding.
Asked for further highlights in the iMNC 2017 programme, Van den Berg points at both Integrated Photonics and Materials Characterization. “These two domains are quite new on the schedule. Integrated photonics is highly relevant in the science-industry MicroNano community these days. A number of big deals have been made in this field and more are on the brink of being executed. The technology and the research has its place in this years’ programme, both at the component level and in the application in nano instrumentation.”
Thus the strong track of lectures on characterization of materials comes into focus. Material science is a big issue for the future, specifically at the nanoscale. “It is very much about imaging, seeing particles, molecules, atoms and than manipulate them. We have a high level of contributions on this programmed in Amsterdam this year.”
Albert van den Berg does not forget to mention the MicroNano sensor technology. “We have a strong, almost traditional history of collaboration in sensor research and development between institutes in Switzerland, South-West Germany and the Netherlands. These days we benefit from this tradition at the level of single cells.” Van den Berg himself spent a sabbatical in Switzerland and people like Sabeth Verpoorte, Andreas Manz and Nico de Rooij, they personify the connection.
“It is really great that we have a specific MicroNano sensors track on the first day of the iMNC and a full conference programme with three parallel tracks in the parallel Sensor Conference ‘The Sense of Contact’ on the second day, December 13.”
Being the son of an entrepreneurial craftsman in groundwork contracting, Albert van den Berg is known for his involvement in academic spin off startup companies and in collaboration with private companies, funding academic research. “This aspect is one other unique selling point of the iMNC. Maybe ‘typical Dutch’?”