OrganVision Annual Meeting 2023 @ Tromsø, Norway
After a sensational first meeting at Barcelona, Spain, the second annual scientific congregation of the EU FET-Open RIA project OrganVision was held from 19th – 21st June 2023 in Tromsø, Norway. The project spans Norway, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom with 8 principal investigators (PIs) across 7 organizations encapsulating a spectrum from research to industry. The team includes microscope developers, biologists, and computational scientists. Although the scientific and administrative teams meet online monthly, the annual physical meeting ensures synergy in this demanding yet exciting interdisciplinary scientific endeavor.
OrganVision is a combination of Organ and Vision. The organ represents the organization of a multitude of entities intending to achieve a single unified function albeit their diverse individual roles. The vision is the cumulative ability to see, understand, and predict to take meaningful action. Envisioning complex body organs is quite a colossal task. OrganVision simplifies this complexity by pursuing tiny proxies of the organ i.e., organoids. The aim is to create a technology that can image these organoids living and breathing. As mapping the technology to organoid science is not simple, OrganVision employs cutting-edge computational solutions to link [what-we-see] to [what-is-happening].
Several open talks were organized at UiT (Arctic University) and UNN (University Hospital), Trosmø. The talks discussed important aspects of the research related to the project, such as sustainability in computational science and the power of computational analysis to see beyond what meets the eye. There were talks on microscopy and spectroscopy technologies that can image our body without chemical labels and proposed strategies to see deeper, faster, and better. We also had sessions on heart-engineered tissues and their impact on regenerating human hearts after an attack and how minuscule organelles get affected during such an attack. The sessions were complemented by captivating interactions with the audience.
The project functions through the implementation of 8 different work packages. The meeting had exclusive sessions for each work package that involved rigorous sessions to discuss progress, roadblocks, and possible resolutions. Needless to state the resolutions seemed rather easier to achieve when we have this diversity of perspectives from different areas of research and development in a single room at our disposal.
“All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.” Our organizing team understood that well and took preventive measures during coffee breaks. We played quizzes on high-school physics, guess what you see, identify the 3D shape, and find the fact from the myths. Exciting prizes were bestowed upon the top scorers. We had a hair-splitting debate between two teams of four composed of PIs and senior researchers, who demonstrated massive courage and resilience to debate the truth behind human activities’ impact on climate change. Their handicap was that they did not get to choose which side they would debate. The audience voted and the winners took home heart-shaped stress balls.
Treats and retreats
To fuel such an enthusiastic team we needed energy and preferably tasty ones. We had a couple of lunch buffets and a gala dinner at a popular local restaurant. The food served involved fresh local harvests of fish, shrimp, and vegetables. In the final lap of the event, the team drove to a nearby beach island of Sommerøy, located an hour’s drive from the University. We played beach games and relished a barbecue amidst the surreal beauty of nature.
Until we meet again
The Tromsø meeting witnessed several motivating and fun-filled outcomes. The team voted for Southampton, United Kingdom to be next year’s destination for the meeting hosted by the University of Southampton.
Till then Ha det bra (Goodbye, take care – in Norwegian)!!
Written and compiled by Biswajoy, photo credits: Sebastian, Biswajoy, Aisada.