Monday, September 26, 2016

Getting excited at the Controlled Release Society Conference


Gala Dinner Party, ICRS meeting 2016. Photo by Amos Bar-Zeev. All rights reserved to ICRS. 
What are friends for?


Exactly three weeks ago, we had a spontaneous diving trip to Eilat with a good friend of ours, Eugene. Along with having fun in Eilat, we got some valuable feedback about LabSuit, since Eugene is a devoted user of our services. Having talked about many things, he mentioned that he is going to the Controlled Drug Release Society conference (ICRS). We picked up our friend’s excitement and decided to tag along to the conference too.


What is ICRS?


This biannual conference takes place in one of the most beautiful places in the north of Israel. To be more exact, in the very north of Israel, in Maalot- Tarshiha.
Although, we’ve been running LabSuit for more than three years, it was the first time that we attended this unusual meeting. One of the pleasantly surprising things was that the organizing committee gave us a hand in admission and ticketing. Special thanks to Dalit Landesman from Dan Peer lab (TAU).
We were very excited to get a booth at such short notice.


Taking place in Hacienda Forestview Hotel, it was the 10th conference of the Israeli chapter of the controlled drug release society. The conference lasted three days, from September 15th - 17th.

Day 1 - The way to someone's heart is through their stomach


September 15th, noon.
The 250 excited conference participants, among them researchers, students, PI’s (Principal Investigators) and pharma company representatives - all chatting, mingling and networking. The conference program started with a delicious lunch (a smart move!)  - even before the beginning of the lectures.
The first keynote presentation was by Philip S. Low (Purdue University, USA). Everybody came with a good mood and full stomach. The atmosphere after the lunch was relaxing and people looked like they’d  be happy to take a nap in their comfortable hall chairs.
Luckily, the fluorescent surgery videos were able to wake up the audience from their food comatose and bring their minds back to the lecture room.


The anti-cancer therapy lectures continued until late night. Every speaker passionately presented his research, aiming to share as much as possible information with his peers.


Students’ pitch! My favorite!


The students’ flash presentations finalized the scientific marathon of the first day with almost 20 talks. Each discussed project brought my heart back to the days I was a thrilled student presenting my research. The students followed their supervisor's enthusiasm and dedicatedly presented their work.
What I admired the most in the students’ talks is the honest devotion to their research. They want to share their knowledge with the world. The students are doing the RESEARCH and they are the best science ambassadors. There are no politics involved, the atmosphere is friendly and fruitful. l know that every student presenting a poster will go home with a bunch of valuable take-aways.


LabSuit’s footstep in Drug Release community


By the end of the day I’d met dozens of researchers, students and PI's who’d never heard of LabSuit. Many researchers shared with me their desperation for managing the thousands of materials in their labs - the same pain that urged us to kickoff with LabSuit several years ago. It was excited to hear that LabSuit can help these labs to ease their everyday lives. It was great to enter this new community of interesting people.


Day 2 - No time for rest


The second day’s sessions were dedicated to very diverse topics of the release field. Starting from fundamental chemistry, through gene therapy to tissue engineering. In a  special session companies presented new tools and technologies in their fields.


The highlight was undoubtedly the intriguing discussion panel. Panel members came from academia, industry and even from the VC (Venture Capital) field. Panel members were Chezy Barenholtz (HUJI), Simon Benita (HUJI), Dan Peer (TAU), Pini Orbach (Arkin Holdings), Yoram Sela (Sela Pharma) and Adi Elkeles (Ramot, TAU). The discussion was to evaluate technology transfer from academia to industry and vise versa. The breathtaking discussion didn't leave anyone impassive. The audience continued the discussion way after its formal end.


ICRS guys know how to party!


The beginning of a pastoral Gala dinner didn't leave a hint to what was going to happen next.
Prizes for Outstanding Achievements and for Best Poster award were announced.
Finally the audience got the chance to indulge themselves in delicious dinner.
To everyone's’ surprise, the official part over,  an energetic DJ stepped in. He swiftly turned the volume up, and diners made their way from around the tables to the dance floor.
I couldn't just sit there watching them having fun - after all I needed a break from our everyday life as well. I joined the fabulous Ronit Stachi-Fainaro (TAU) dancing group!  
The guys in the lab have not only a tremendous success in scientific work but they know how to dance too!


Day 3- we’re all friends now


In the morning of the last day, the tension drop was felt everywhere. The presenting companies stayed with a single representative, if at all. The students were passing by the lecture room but not everyone actually inside.
People enjoyed the last breaths of cool northern weather before going back to the heat of the cities.
Most of the chatting was casual “life stuff” not necessary about liposomes, cancer and fluorescent markers.


We met a lot of wonderful and enthusiastic people who are busy doing amazing things and saving our planet from cancer and other incurable diseases.
The organizing committee staff were very cooperative and helped greatly with booth logistics and registration. Thank you Keren Hochberg and Liat Avraham from Kenes Events.
Special thanks to Prof. Roza Azhari from Ort Braude.
Thanks to everyone we met.
I'm looking forward to the next conference, and wish it was be every year - not once in two years.

See you in two more years,
Helen

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