Lorentz Center - Anisotropy and Shape in Biological Materials: From Structure to Functionality from 23 May 2016 through 27 May 2016
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    Anisotropy and Shape in Biological Materials: From Structure to Functionality
    from 23 May 2016 through 27 May 2016


Anisotropy and shape in biological materials: from structure to functionality

23 – 27 May 2016, @Snellius


Topic and field

The workshop focused on the role of anisotropy on the structural and functional attributes of biomaterials, especially from a morphological perspective. The main goal was to create a round table between disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology and engineering), to understand the fundamentals of anisotropic soft materials, and in tandem, develop new applications.



The workshop was attended by 29 participants (16 men, 13 women) with mixed seniority:


12         Senior research leaders

9          Junior professor and young faculty

6          Postdoc

2          PhD students


The workshop was fully booked, with most participants staying for the full length of the event. Almost all the participants were present at the social events and discussion sessions.


Program and sessions

The scientific program contained the following activities:

2          Keynote lectures (45+15 min)

27         Invited lectures (30+10 min)      

1          Small group activity

1          Moderated discussion session


All the lectures were very well attended and raised significant discussion. Ten minutes of discussion time was planned between the invited lectures (15 minutes for the two keynote lectures). Often discussions at the end of a lecture had to be interrupted to allow the beginning next lecture. It might be more effective to introduce dedicated discussion slots between the lectures. For the small group activity the participants were divided in 4 groups. Each group was assigned a broad multidisciplinary topic (e.g. self-organization of the cytoskeleton, bio-mimetic devices etc.) and asked to identify 3 or 4 interesting research ideas. These were then presented and discussed with all the participants. The outcome of this activity was a very lively and stimulating discussion that everybody very much enjoyed.


The coffee and tea breaks were very effective means to stimulate discussion, especially since whiteboards and tables for discussion were nicely available and posters could stay up all week.


In summary

This workshop was generally regarded as a great success. The workshop has brought together researchers with heterogeneous backgrounds and fostered cross-fertilization between different academic disciplines. As importantly, the participants enjoyed the excellent atmosphere and ambience of the Lorentz Center and Leiden.


Organizers: Luca Giomi, Anupam Sengupta, Linda Hirst, Stephanie Höhn