This is a machine transcription and therefore it may contain inaccuracies, errors, or mispronunciations. Notice an error you think needs changing? Please contact the Bitesize Bio team using this form: https://bit.ly/bsbtranscriptions
To the Microscopists,
a bite-sized bio podcast hosted by Peter oal,
sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy. Today on the Microscopists.
Today on the Microscopist, I have a special episode about Aging North America,
featuring the executive board members themselves. And coming up,
Alison North shares her motive for wanting to set up a community like Bina.
I realized that Europe, and also places like Australia, Singapore, whatever,
they all had these networks and they were all streets ahead of the US where
there was no network, and there were just many, many,
many core facilities now across the entire country.
Claire Bryan gives us an example of how they aim to emulate and learn from other
technique-based community organizations.
We did a session specifically on how did the flow community get standards and
quality control so integrated into their workflows, and,
and we got lots of really good, uh,
tips and advice from the flow community of things we can do in microscopy to try
to implement things more smoothly based on their experience.
And Nikki Biley explains how Bena aims to complement rather than compete with
other available bio imaging resources.
We now, we felt it was important not to compete with what was out there already,
because there are plenty of great places to find resources.
So rather than trying to draw traffic away from them,
we wanted to compliment what was already out there.
So we don't always deliver exactly what somebody wants,
but I think by working with them, we come to realize,
you know, that there's a solution that will work for everybody.
All in this episode of The Microscopists.
Hi, I'm Peter Oto, and welcome to the special edition of the Microscopist.
Today we are talking Bio Bioimaging North,
and today we have with us Alice North from Rockefella.
We have Claire Brown from McGill,
and we have Nikki Biley from Bioimaging North America.
Uh, so actually I'm gonna start just,
just for the audience so everyone gets to know you a little better and away
from, we'll start with you Nicky. Nicky,
can you just tell me a bit about your background please?
Um, so actually I'm a pharmacologist by training. I went to, uh,
the University of London King's College, actually.
And then I did a postdoc in the US in a pharmaceutical company,
and then one in Germany. And when I came back to the States,
'cause my husband dragged me back here, um, I,
I went into the lab for a little while,
but realized that wasn't really my cup of tea.
And I started working on more sort of community, different projects.
And actually that's how I first got to meet Claire, um, running a big, uh,
grant for the University of Virginia called the Cell Migration Consortium.
And then, you know, I, I've pretty much been in, um,
these sorts of community efforts since then. So about 20 years almost now.
Um, but more sort of cell biology based and oriented around developing tools for
microscopists. So I'm not a microscopist myself.
I did a little EM work that I didn't actually do. Of course,
I had a core facility take care of that for me back when I was doing my early
research. And I did some early yum histology work. But I've,
I've spent a lot of my time supporting, um,
microscopists in this more community driven effort. So again,
with the Allen Institute for Cell Science in Seattle, we developed tools from,
uh, microscopists. And then Claire approached me and said, you know,
we've got this great project that we're trying to get off the ground,
would you be interested? And I looked at it and said, yes,
that would be wonderful. I would love to,
to get involved in another project along those lines.
So that's kind of where I've come from,
a pharmacologist who sort of stumbled into microscopy and cell biology.
I like the fact it was a cell migration sideways.
It sounded like you migrated around a fair bit before we
A little bit,
I, I wonder if there's any diffusion or properties with that,
Alison would like to briefly introduce yourself.
Sure. I'm a cell biologist by training. Um,
I started PhD that was meant to be on confocal microscopy,
but the confocal never worked. So I did electro microscopy.
This was the very early days of confocal.
So I then became an immuno electro microscopist for a few years.
And I went back, that was, uh, I did a postdoc in Austria in Salzburg,
which is wonderful.
And then I went back to Manchester and I got a welcome Trust career development
And I still kind of giggle because they said in the interview that they would
give me one, but they felt it was wrong, that my background was only microscopy.
I really needed to learn molecular biology and cloning.
So I spent four years failing to do molecular biology and cloning,
but they said that there was no job that only considered a microscopy.
And then at the end of four years,
I was headhunted for this role at the Rockefeller University to set up a light
microscopy facility and have done only microscopy since then.
And I came here in, um, 2000, which is very frightening.
I meant to come for two years and I'm still here. That says it all.
Thank you, Alison.
So I am, my background is actually in physical chemistry, but, uh,
I found pure chemistry not so interesting.
So I was always interested in living systems. So in grad school,
I moved into a lab that was in a chemistry department,
but studying cell biology using, um, correlation microscopy techniques.
And it was similar to you, Alison. We had one confocal for the whole university,
and I used to go in on Saturdays just so I could get a good chunk of time to,
to do my imaging. And then, um, throughout my,
I did a couple of postdocs again at the interface kind of between physics and,
and cell biology at the Institute Curie. And then, um,
when I was, uh, working on the Cell Migration consortium,
I ended up just helping everybody with their microscope stuff. So I was,
I kind of became the micross in the lab, even though I was a postdoc. And then,
uh, when the position came up, uh, here at McGill, I was like, oh,
it would actually be my job to help everybody with their microscope, uh,
projects. And, uh, that's how I ended up here. And,
and I've always loved being on lots of projects and not just focused on, uh,
on one thing. So it's good fit.
Thank you everyone. So I, I maybe aging North America,
whose idea was it to start with? Who, who,
who thought we need to come together as a community?
I'm gonna let Allison answer that one. I,
There was a joint decision,
so there were people like me who had constantly been going to the European
meetings, like the ALMA meeting, which is still my favorite meeting of all, um,
all year round. Um, that's the European Light Microscopy Initiative.
People who don't know.
I also sneak my way in regularly to the UK facility managers meeting as you
know, Pete, because of my British accent.
So I'd heard about all these amazing European initiatives and networking going
on between European countries.
And I'd sat in on Europe by imaging discussions,
and I realized that Europe, and also places like Australia,
they all had these networks and they were all streets ahead of the US where
there was no network. And there were just many, many,
many core facilities now across the entire country where people just
didn't know each other. They felt completely disconnected. For example,
I had an O M X microscope, and even though the company was based in America,
I got more training on it from attending the international O M X users
group meeting with lot ela,
teaching us all how to really get the most out of it.
So this kind of training wasn't really available over here.
And I wanted to duplicate that kind of network over here.
That was my motivation. But at the same time that I was deciding this,
Claire was already running Canada by imaging,
which I'm sure she will talk about in a minute.
And then a whole group of us basically were,
were feeling the same need to set up some kind of organization.
And therefore it all came about really when we,
a lot of us attended a meeting at Janelia, which, um,
Leon Chu had invited us to.
And we all got our heads together and said,
right now it's time to actually do something about this and set up a national
initiative. Now I'm gonna hand over to Claire to finish her parts of the story.
It's very cool, because actually I was at that meeting at Janelia. Mm-hmm. Nice.
Again. And, uh, Graham, Wright, Singapore was there, see Correct.
Countries coming to talk about what they were doing Yeah. To emulate that. So,
exactly. You, you got Canada and BioGene through that.
Why go bigger?
Oh, bigger is always more fun. I always like, uh, yeah,
including everybody. And, and I, so what happened for me was, um,
we were setting up a Canadian network called the Canadian Network of Scientific
Platforms, where we were actually trying to bring in people from all research
infrastructure platforms, not just microscopy.
And our funding agencies had told us,
if you wanna have a voice to the funding agencies, you need to,
to be representing a large community.
And they fund infrastructure across all the engineering and science and health
science. So, um, when I was looking into that,
I had heard about global bio imaging and I started looking at their website and
seeing what they were doing. And so I thought, well,
I don't wanna reinvent the wheel.
I'm gonna reach out to them and see how they set up what they're doing.
So that was around 20 15, 20 16,
I got involved with them and then they told us they were partnering with
So that was when we decided to form Canada Bioimaging as a technology node
of the Canadian Network of Scientific Platforms.
So that was not too long before, um, the JANELIA meeting.
And then at the JANELIA meeting,
they had asked me to come and talk about Canada Bioimaging. And, uh,
and when things started to move along after that, it seemed obvious to,
to include Canada in the, in the North American efforts.
But I do want to highlight, you know, this was a whole group of us. You know,
Leon obviously had also come up with the same idea because he'd been attending
all these meetings.
He and I actually were on the same panel for Euro by Imaging.
So we'd met that way.
So I think the idea was emerging in multiple people's minds at the same time.
It's interesting you go into what did a Canadian network of scientific,
I can't remember the exact Platforms. Platforms, thank you. Um,
it's not just microscopy. I mean,
the focus of this one is bio imaging North America, it's bio imaging.
It's microscopy, mostly like microscopy at this stage, if I'm not mistaken.
But there's no reason what you've done and what we're going to talk about today
isn't relevant to someone who does genomics or mass spectrometry or any of the
or let's go to electron microscopy or even material scientists.
It's that mm-hmm. Network. And how many other networks,
similar networks exist for other technologies across Canada
or North America, or U s A?
So the big one in the U S A is the A B R F,
the Association for Biomolecular Resource Facilities.
But the focus of that is more on infrastructure within the core facilities.
We really wanted this to be about the people, about networking,
the people in as who are imaging scientists and about the expertise.
And we do agree that there are things that are common across the whole platform.
So in no way are we negating the need for the A B R F.
It's a fantastic organization. Many of us have, are involved in that as well.
But imaging scientists, we think, you know, they,
they actually face unique challenges.
And really for them to be able to share their experiences and just networking
the people and seeing the value in people's expertise is,
is really what this organization, I think is about. Claire,
what would you throw in there?
Yeah, I mean, I would agree. And, and I,
I think what I'm seeing in Canada from our,
our Canadian network scientific platforms is some communities, excuse me,
are way ahead. So, um,
the material science communities are very well developed in Canada.
There's a number of different networks in Quebec and across Canada,
and they're focused on getting their technology also into, uh,
contact with industry. So there's a,
a group in Quebec called Prima Quebec that is funded by the provincial
government to get, um, academic labs working with companies in, you know,
device building and,
and things that can go on to medical devices and different things. So, um,
we've learned a lot from them. Um, also in building our,
our network of things to do things not to do. One of the key ones that I,
I keep hearing about is, is it's great to have a database,
but if you don't have people behind the database mining the database and making
connections, then the database just sits on a website somewhere. And, uh,
that's been a really good example of something we've learned from other
communities that we, we've avoided trying to do in,
in Canada by imaging for instance.
There's also the, uh, microscopy Society of America,
which deals mostly with electron microscopy and a lot with material science.
And I do think one, one of the issues that America faces is its sheer size.
There are just so many people,
you cannot have one meeting that's going to encompass everyone.
And I think that is a difference between the U S A,
especially if you're also bringing in Canada and Mexico as we've done and want
to do that. That's a big difference from say, comparing us with, you know,
a small European country. And so I think that's,
that's actually been quite a challenge.
But I'm sure there are also other organizations. Nikki, what are we forgetting?
'cause I know you are networking with all of them,
So, well, I dunno about all of them, but the, um,
the flow cytometry communities, it, you know,
it's pretty well networked and they are, you know,
we're very well along with many of the things that we are also trying to address
around sort of standards and things like that. So we are, we are looking to,
you know, how they have approached many of these things when we, when,
when we're trying to address some of the standards for image data and that sort
of thing, um,
within the neuro and also more broadly within Quare and the other groups that
we're working with to try and get, um, broader adoption of, you know,
best practices and standards in, in microscopy. Is that
Through Isaac? Uh, through the cytometry?
Yes, I believe so. And I think Claire, were, you were,
you participated in a meeting recently, didn't you? In, in Canada, that they,
um, they had spearheaded and we helped to sort of tease out of their program the
things that were more microscopy related so that our community could see what
in the flow Cy Cytometry community, um, was relevant to them.
Yeah, I think one of the big powers of these networks is if we,
if we network with other networks, we can learn from them.
And so I was part of a workshop at the CY two meeting with Isec in Montreal
recently, which I saw a lot of peter out as well. And, um,
we did a session specifically on how did the flow community get standards and
quality control so integrated into their workflows and,
and we got lots of really good, uh,
tips and advice from the flow community of things we can do in microscopy to try
to implement things more smoothly based on their experience.
Yep. So Nikki,
are you aware or anyone aware of a similar thing for genomics across America
or for mass spectrometry across?
I am not, I'm afraid. I'm sure that they probably do exist. Um,
I, I'm not sure how much they do because there, there's quite often fragments,
but, you know, aging North America,
if you'd have asked someone in that community, they may have said that, well,
there must be something for aging. But there wasn't until, what, 16, 17,
when it all kicked off.
I just wonder how far ahead you are of other communities,
uh, different technology platform communities.
Obviously you're way behind the UK and us, but you know,
So I know in Canada, genome Canada is a very big organization,
and that sort of came about from the Canada Foundation for Innovation that funds
the infrastructure because they said they didn't wanna put infrastructure in all
these different labs. They wanted it centralized.
So it's centralized in terms of the technology and access,
but I'm not sure that they have a network like Bina where,
where the people who are running the infrastructure and working with the
researchers are building a community.
So I would agree with you that it might be fairly unique and, uh,
Yeah, I, I'm not sure really. I think my colleagues in genomics aspect,
they certainly have meetings they go to, they certainly have networks of people.
I don't know how much it's formalized across the whole U S A,
I'd have to ask them.
It's one of those conversations that actually never come up.
It's funny you ask that question,
but I do think there is a slight difference in the techniques because I think in
those centers, it seems like the people running the center are, you know,
they are acquiring the data, they're handling the samples,
they're doing more of a hands-on work. Whereas in our, in our,
uh, facilities and imaging scientists,
it's more about educating the users a much, you know,
an awful lot of our time is on that rather than on actually collecting the data
ourselves. So that's why I think we have a unique challenge,
and that's why I think it's so important to link the people and not just the
Yeah. I don I wasn't thinking of linking the techno, bringing them together.
I just think it's very good.
What you are doing is a very good template for other communities. Uh,
I know mass spec in the uk they have their meeting, but it's,
it's very different to the type of meetings that we run here and what you run
but it's becoming closer because the instruments are getting more user friendly.
Mm-hmm. So more user of interacting.
So their roles are changing from being the hands on the ground to being more
educational training on the ground and then doing the higher end stuff,
you know, not just all the turnkey stuff. Uh, so I,
I think I understand why, how did you get it off the ground?
Sung good and well having an idea.
And Leon had the meeting janelia and you sat round and you decided, yes,
we need to do it. That's the easy part. Then,
then the hard part. How, what,
what was the biggest difficulty you had in actually making it become
bena? I, I'm going to Alison's laughing, so I'm gonna go to Alison first.
That's an easy one to answer. Two failed grant applications. That was,
that was the biggest challenge.
About nine or 10 of us got together on the com on a committee.
We started out and we said, right, you know,
the only way we're gonna move this forward faster than we can do by ourselves is
to get funding,
to get funding to bring on people on board and actually have an organization.
And so we applied for an initiative, and I hope I'm allowed to say this,
but I think you're probably allowed to say when you fail to get a grant,
it was actually an N S F initiative for a network of networks.
And we did not get it the first year. Um, I think their,
their comment was that we were sort of underdeveloped.
There wasn't enough going on.
And then we applied the next year and their comment was that we were now too
developed and in a sense that we were doing so much already,
we didn't need funding. So that was honestly the biggest challenge. Mm-hmm.
And frustration that we spent so much time trying to get money and thank God for
the C Z I, which then stepped in or C Z I as I would say,
in my NA native country. So, um, but they really, the,
the save the day by funding us,
and that is how we actually enable to get Bina off the ground and hire Nikki
and Vanessa, who is, yeah. So the two of them have just like, I mean,
the speed of movement of what's been happening has just accelerated beyond
belief since we've had to have mm-hmm.
Since we've been able to have dedicated people on board.
I'd say there's so many podcasts. Uh, if we look at the African in initiatives,
if we look at Latin America initiatives, so man,
it comes back to Chan Zuckerberg initiative and sees that I mm-hmm. It is,
yeah. Seeds Ed, you're right there, Allison, on the second pronunciation. Uh,
it, it, it is, it has been really enabling. And it's interesting.
You've got the funding,
you could then recruit the staff and I'm going to go to Nick now.
The advert went out. It's seed corn funding. Really, you know, it's quite risky.
Uh, I would say in the early stages, it's quite a risky job.
Why did you say yes? Why'd you go for it?
'cause it's exciting. And I, I, I really, so that's what I like doing,
is I like building these sorts of things.
I like getting in at the ground level and helping, you know,
wrestle those challenges to the ground and, and getting things up and running.
Um, as I say, I,
I went out to Seattle to help build the Allen Institute for Cell Science.
And again, many of the challenges were new to me, but I enjoy that.
I like, I like going, okay, well I don't know how to do this,
but I'm sure I can find people who do or I can figure it out.
And that they had done an enormous amount of work. Had the, the,
the volunteers, this was a, this was all volunteer based when I first started.
And they'd done an enormous amount of work getting themselves organized into
working groups and, um, getting things off the ground.
And so it really was a question of just sort of coming in and seeing the lay of
the land and trying to help put some structure to it and,
and systemizing things to some extent just to try and help them chug along, um,
kind not exactly on their own. 'cause they're,
so I liken my job to the person who goes round, you know, in Tibet,
turning those drums, just making sure everything keeps turning,
just touching stuff and making sure it keeps rolling or,
or the oil in between the wheels of a, a piece of machinery. I am,
I'm there just to help facilitate and move things along.
And if somebody comes up with a roadblock,
I come up with a solution to eliminate that roadblock so they can keep doing
what they are best qualified to do. So for me, that was the exciting part,
Claire, you know, the group said, this is what we're trying to do. And I went,
oh, that looks really exciting. I'd love to be a part of that. That
Well done Claire in getting Vanessa. But I, I'm gonna just say,
be really worthy.
'cause obviously Nikki really likes those new challenges of setting up new,
now you're established, you've gotta make
Sure we've still got lots of work to do.
Well just keep finding roadblocks for her to solve. There you go.
I said that that would, that would be a a a, yeah, a major,
actually thinking about this, how is it going to self-sustain going forward?
So, I mean, that is, that is one of the big challenges.
And C Z I or C Z I are very supportive still. Um,
they are actually helping put on, uh,
sessions to help all of the networks figure out how best to do that.
So we actually just wrapped that up when we were at the meeting last week,
last two weeks ago. Time is, time is, yeah,
challenging to keep track of these days with, with a, with that in mind. And,
and Young was there, and also answer from Euro,
bioimaging and Global Bio Imaging to share their perspective on things.
So they are trying to enable us, and I do think that we are,
we are building value that we can demonstrate to other funders.
I hope that there's value in what we're doing. It would be a great shame,
I think if this didn't continue, because I do feel that time and,
and money has been invested, which if a small amount,
it doesn't take a lot of money. It really doesn't.
A lot of this work really is people are engaged and want to
Organizing it and making sure it happens is the piece that's a bit challenging.
And as, as, um, Alison and Claire pointed out,
Vanessa coming on board and my coming on board has really helped move things
along a lot faster because we can dedicate our time to keeping our eyes on all
of these things and keeping them moving.
And I think that they would both agree that this is also critical in core
facilities is having people dedicated to that sort of thing.
There's lots of investment in equipment frequently and sort of infrastructure,
but it really is about the people that are behind making sure that those things
Look how is the industrial engagement side, you know,
in multiple ways, uh,
but actually are companies interested in sponsoring actually donating money into
Bena to keep it together and to help it move forward? I, Claire, who,
have you got big sponsors or not?
I think the, the companies are contributing in a lot of different ways. Um,
Allison could probably say a bit more after about the corporate partners working
group, but we're really trying to, I think, take the lead from,
from the alm e from the European Light Microscopy initiative,
where the companies are really partners.
So it's not just asking them for sponsorship and come, you know,
set up a table at our, our meeting. We really wanna work with them.
So we've been really working with them on standards and quality control.
We've been talking about ways that they can train people in imaging facilities
so they can do some troubleshooting themselves,
especially if they're very remote or in areas that it's difficult to get
service. And, um, as far as the,
the different meetings and stuff,
they're really interested in sponsoring people to travel to meetings.
We're talking about running user group meetings in partnership with them where
they would cover travel. And so there's lots of different layers. Um,
I think really, you know,
sort of many prongs or many patches on a quilts rather than, you know,
just a big donation to, to bena per se. Yeah.
I I'm the co-chair of the corporate partners working group with Lisa Cameron at
the moment. And we, we started this group, um,
a couple of years ago and, and we felt very strongly that it was a partnership.
And this, I think, again, this is like, in a way an, you know,
a way of thinking I've inherited from Elmi. I, that's why I love that meeting,
because it is so clear that the, the corporate people are viewed as partners,
not just sponsors, right, from the first day with the football match,
which I know you always take part in Pete. So, but I,
I think that sets the right tone, right?
We see them as our partners and our friends and and colleagues as well.
And I've also, of course, in running a course at, uh, woods Hole,
which is just coming up at the end of next week, you know, we,
we need the people from the companies to bring equipment.
They provide a huge amount of expertise themselves that again,
I think is totally undervalued in general by the scientific community.
Most of the people working in the companies have come from research,
either via a core facility or straight from a lab. So their,
their expertise is enormous. And so what we are trying to do is work with these,
um, partners and, and, and actually establish, um,
activities that are useful for them as well as for us.
So rather than it just being a one way, you know, how can they help Bina?
It's like, well, okay, how can we help them?
So one example of that at the moment, you know, we talked about 'em in meetings,
in what ways can we help you?
And they said they find it hard to recruit good people to come and work for the
companies. There's a lot of misunderstanding about what these roles involve.
And so their suggestion was, please would we run a, uh,
seminar series on careers outside the traditional academic path?
And so we've been doing that. That's been sponsored.
It's on the third Wednesday of every month. I think that's right, Nikki. Yeah.
And, uh, we have speakers coming up for the next few, you know,
few months as well.
And actually it's proved incredibly popular because it's a way for graduate
students and postdocs to find out what is a sales role,
what is a marketing role, uh, what is a service role as well as you, you know,
all these different roles that you might not think about. Um,
so that's one way that we've been working in them.
They also offer free internships,
which I didn't even know that they're that mean paid internships, I should say.
So, you know,
people actually can go and work for them for a few weeks and get paid to do this
and to learn about the different roles,
but they find it hard to recruit people to actually, you know,
take part in these because it's just a matter of advertising and reaching the
So they are thrilled to have our community as a way to like pass the
information along to the researchers.
So that's one other way that we're working with them. Um, the,
the corporate partners working group is about half and half people who run core
facilities or in research and people who are in the companies. Um, we're also,
at the moment, we are putting together a list,
a database of support numbers and websites for
technical support, application support. You know, this'll be a way that's,
you know, whenever anyone in the university says to me, oh my gosh,
my microscope's broken. What, what are the numbers to call someone?
It'll all be there. And this is all being done where the tremendous help of the,
um, database that Vic,
that Nikki has been putting together with Vanessa and with a group and with the
help of a professional team. So I'm, I I, maybe I should hand it. I mean,
I think that's something that Nikki should talk about here. Well, Nikki,
Uh, so yes. Um, we,
we have these databases where we are collecting all that information so that we
can make them available. And I think what, um,
Allison is also alluding to is the Microscopy DB project,
which we've both been involved with. Vanessa and I have helped, um,
sort of steer this. Uh, it's again, a community effort. It, it's not,
it's not strictly beener, it's, it's a community effort. Almir involved with it.
Um, the global Bioimaging team, there's a whole bunch of partners involved.
And the hope with this was to try to get as much
comprehensive information that's MI related to microscopy to as many of the
communities as possible with the latest lift.
And so what we had realized is that there are still plenty of good places where
you can go to find this kind of information,
but it's often not comprehensive because it means you have to go to multiple
places to put that information. So, for example,
if you have a job or if you have an event happening or you have a training or
you tend to migrate to your own community website to put it into their resource
database, which is great because you want your community to find it,
but you would also probably quite like everybody else to find it.
So by partnering with this microscopy db, which sort of underlies all of this,
you can put it in, in your, at the website that you usually go to,
if they're partnering with microscopy db,
and I think we have nine or 10 partners now. And it will automatically then,
then get disseminated to the other partner websites. And we, we are, as,
as Alison pointed out, and Claire, we are for bioimaging scientists.
We are not just for academic bioimaging scientists,
we're for bioimaging scientists in the industry community as well.
So if they want to post a job in the job listings or they wanna highlight their
they go into that database and then they can appear on the Canada site,
the Latin America site, the ALM e site, all the other sites that are partnering.
So it's an opportunity to more broadly disseminate their content,
whether it be training content,
whether it be events that they're hosting or jobs.
And it's beneficial to our communities because they can now see a more
comprehensive picture of what's available in the way of events, jobs,
and training materials. So that is again,
something that we have helped spearhead with some of the funds from C Z I C Z I,
um, that we are, you know,
delighted that the community is taking interest in and getting
Can I add in another thing I forgot to mention,
and another exciting initiative that's coming from this database is that the,
um, one of the challenges of course is with demos, with equipment demos,
very expensive to being bring a piece of equipment into a lab for a week and
demo it. And it's also risky. We know that, you know, things get shipped,
they get dropped, they don't work in the demo and,
and they're perfectly functional pieces of equipment.
So sometimes it's just not worth the money, honestly,
because it will turn out that there is a similar piece of equipment available
locally that someone can visit.
Now this of course is the premise behind Euro by imaging, right?
This is nothing new. Again, I've sat in on all the, uh, meetings, I'm on the,
the advisory committee and um,
so we know that it's much more cost efficient to take people to sites.
The problem in America is, again,
people don't know where this equipment is housed.
And so one of the things that Bina has been doing together with the corporate
partners group is actually ask core facilities,
are they willing to advertise what equipment they have and whether they
would be prepared to let someone come and visit them to try out this equipment.
And so this is another way that the companies are now gonna be able to access
this information on the database and say, oh look, you know,
actually there's this system here. I can just reach out to this person.
They say they're willing for, you know, a demo to be held there.
And I think that will benefit the companies tremendously as well. Yeah.
So I would just add, um, with the database, um,
we use it for our Canada Bioimaging website and we were really struggling to
keep our website up to date.
And so we actually have an interface where it goes directly to the database for
events and jobs and it, it stays up to date.
So it's automatically uploaded from the, from my cross P D B.
And then if somebody is interested in events in Canada,
there's a really easy filter tool and they can just type in Canada and find the
jobs in Canada. So that's been absolutely fantastic for saving time. And,
and then as Nikki said, being really comprehensive as well.
I think keep it upstate,
which especially when it comes to the resources that are available,
the types of microscopes as they,
as they become obsolete and new ones come to replace it,
keeping that up to date is a real challenge. The R m Ss,
we have the facility database,
the biggest challenge is just getting people to update it and,
and 'cause it's such a low priority,
getting it on there is a high priority updating it is a much lower priority.
So it, it, it's a challenge only. So you've got industrial members,
you've got academic, you know, research, community membership.
How many members do you currently have?
Ooh, well, I gave a presentation yesterday actually at the, um,
Mexico Bio Imaging, one of the Mexico bio imaging workshops.
And we are at 1000 one hundred and eleven one one one. That's,
Oh, nice. That's, so yes,
You say 111.
Yes. I think it's probably a bit more now because I, I,
I was pushing heavily that we wanted, um,
more representation in Mexico and I think we got a few more people signing up as
a result of it. Um, but yeah, we're doing pretty well on our, um, you know,
our Canada, Mexico spread.
It's pretty reflective of the populations of those countries.
And we are about 74%, um,
academic and I think about 12%, um,
from industry right now. And the rest is sort of other,
which would include funding agencies and that sort of thing.
So we are slowly trying to increase that, uh, corporate partner, um, membership.
But I think they often don't feel like, you know,
if unless they've had a chance to speak to us,
they don't realize that this is open to everybody. 'cause so many,
there are other, you know, other spaces where they're not allowed to play.
They're not allowed to submit their their stuff, or they have to say, oh,
I'm corporate, you know, and be very clear about the,
the content that they're sharing. You know, they can't submit jobs,
they can't submit, um, events and things in, in some of these areas.
So as Claire was saying,
we've had very positive feedback about the microscopy DB content
and that people have had a much, um,
broader or diverse representation in applications for courses.
They're seeing that their applicant pool isn't just coming from their usual sort
of general demographic.
They're actually getting applications from a much broader pool now because more
people are able to see them. And in fact, the, uh,
database that Allison was referring to, it isn't actually in,
it's the same backend, but it's, it's a bena base.
It's not a microscopy DB base. It's,
it is to highlight where our core facilities are in Canada, Mexico, and the us.
And it's a little bit lighter lift, I think,
than the r m s one in the sense that we direct people to the core
facilities website. Again, we try to push traffic,
we try to use what we have as a way to elevate somebody's, um,
existence and push traffic to them rather than diverting traffic from their
And the boxes that you can check are actually helpful for us because we have
this exchange of experience, um,
which is a bit like the global bio imagings job shadowing. So if you go to that,
you can filter all the, um, facilities that are in Canada, Mexico,
and the US that would be willing to host an eoe.
And then you can select another box that that tells you what technologies they
have and what instruments. So you can go, oh,
well that's what I'd like to learn on. So it helps us with that program,
but it also helps the corporate partners if they're looking for somebody to
collaborate on and they're looking for a specific technology,
it sort of helps narrow down the field of people that they need to reach out to.
And, and some members are non non-American,
but first staff and I know other from Europe are members as well.
Uh, really more for keeping up,
keeping up to date with what you're doing and how it's progressing.
It's interesting from outside, you don't have to be from North America either.
Alison, you were gonna say something? I'm sorry.
Well, first of all that, that actually you say it's for you to keep up.
It's more for us to keep up with it.
With everything that's been going on in Europe,
we didn't want to reinvent the wheel. So all of our working groups have got, um,
international advisory members. I think, um,
because we know that there are all these initiatives going on elsewhere and we
just don't want to duplicate efforts. I was gonna say,
the fact that I got it wrong just really confirms why it's so important to have
Nikki and Vanessa there, because these are the kind of things No, sorry, Nikki,
I'm just saying it
Wasn't, it's, it wasn't Allison, it was
Just, it's a technicality because it's the same stuff on the back end.
It's just Right not in the main
Database, but this is the point. I don't have time to keep in charge of,
on top of all these things because I have a job to do in the facility as well.
And that's been so tremendous with Nikki and Vanessa,
and one cannot emphasize the importance of the number of times that I've dropped
the ball on something, you know,
and then they just give us sort of a polite little reminder by email and it's
like, oh, yes, yes, we were supposed to be in another.
This happens every time before the corporate partners working group.
They send out these emails and reminders. But that's what's been so enabling.
And the other thing that's been so great with Bina, I think,
is that because it's a,
we've had a small number of people sort of involved from the beginning in a
sense setting it up, and we now are getting more and more people,
and that's really critical that the working group spread and amplify the effect.
But I do love the fact that, you know,
I can have an idea and I can just say to Nikki, you know, oh,
we think this will be a really good idea. And, and they're just so positive.
They're like, oh, we can make that happen. And then they make it happen.
And that's just tremendously exciting.
But how much you gonna ask, and maybe for Nikki on this one,
you get given the ideas,
but how much do you then re rely on the volunteers to help deliver those ideas?
So generally, if they've come up with the ideas,
they know it what it is that they, they want.
So they have to be a part of finding the solution because we wanna make sure
that they get what they want. At the end of the day, the,
the Microscopy DB project didn't exactly deliver what was
originally requested just because I,
we know we felt it was important not to compete with what was out there already,
because there are plenty of great places to find resources.
So rather than trying to draw traffic away from them,
we wanted to compliment what was already out there.
So we don't always deliver exactly what somebody wants,
but I think by working with them, we come to realize,
you know, that there's a solution that will work for everybody.
And I think that they, they are an integral part of finding the solution is,
is what I would say.
Okay. And Claire,
So I'd just like to add, um,
and this kind of goes with the sustainability of the network as well, and, and,
um, when we were brainstorming early on in the formation of, of Bina,
we really focused the working groups around the problems and challenges of the
community and made sure that the people who were leading the working groups were
people who were really vested in this,
but also that it was maybe part of their day job. Because all of us, uh,
are volunteers who are, who are doing the work.
But if I'm volunteering in a group, say our, um, lattice slide sheet user group,
we've just purchased a lattice slide sheet in my facility so it makes sense for
me to spend time networking with that group and setting up meetings and reading
the literature. And,
and so we've been really conscious of aligning with the needs of the community.
And I think when you see organizations that don't sustain,
it's because they come up with an idea that aligns with the community,
but then they don't check back and say, is this still what the community needs?
Is this, you know, do we need to pivot?
And I think that's something I try to bring to our board meetings and stuff,
we need to constantly be looking for feedback of what we're doing and should we
do this event again,
should this working group continue and or is there a gap that we need
a new working group and okay, we need a new working group,
but then we also need someone who's willing to take a lead. And so I think it's,
it's kind of creating this structure to enable the community,
but then really ensuring that we're aligned with, with what the community needs.
Yeah. Allison, I just want to add, yeah, we've said all along, I mean,
it's a huge amount of work from the volunteers on all of us who are really
deeply involved. It's a huge amount of work,
so it's only worth that amount of effort if we feel that something really
positive has come out of it at the end. And so we, you know,
keep polling the community this, and I,
I think it's very heartening and encouraging when you hear positive feedback
from people. So last week I was at a course in Montreal,
which Claire was running a train the trainer course,
and there were several people there who said to me how Bina had
really changed their lives. These are people who,
who work in core facilities where they're the only person running there,
and they just felt very, very isolated and like there was no support,
nobody to talk to,
and they wondered if the challenges they were facing were unique to them.
So to hear back from them that these things have really made a huge difference
in their lives, it's like, okay, now I feel that all the work was worthwhile.
Mm-hmm. So I I, I've got two questions I'm gonna come back to.
What is your target? Do you have a target number for the end of this year?
And do you have a, do you think, what are your targets for membership?
Do you have any targets for your membership?
So I will,
I will sort of jump in and I will say we're not necessarily targeting a specific
number. We're trying basically to broaden our membership as much as possible.
Because as, as, um, Claire and Allison pointed out,
we are fairly heavily core facility folks right now, which is terrific.
We are here to support them, you know, with the virtual events.
'cause frequently they can't get away to things as, as they pointed out,
they're generally single person calls.
We're here to support them however we can with their training and so on.
But we are there also for the broader communities like the image analysis
folks. And they may not have,
they may not exist necessarily in a core facility in the United States.
I know that in Europe, those people are often associated with a core facility,
but not so much here in the US at the moment.
We're also here for the people that like to build.
So we are trying to broaden our, uh,
membership in those areas and also people that are just generally
underrepresented, whether it's geographical or, um, you know, cultural ethnical.
We are trying to be as,
as encompassing as possible to bring what we all feel
is a phenomenal career opportunity and,
and way to do research in,
in microscopy to a broader C community and let them know that, you know,
this group is here to try and support them in that. So we, we are actually,
we have an early careers group as well. It's not a working group as such yet,
but it is a, a group of youngsters who are just wondering, is microscopy for me?
Is that where I want to end up going? Um, and again, we have an early, um,
interest group around builders, which is going to, we hope,
solidify and become a working group at the meeting in Kovar, um,
not Akra in Mexico in September. So I think it,
rather than a specific number, I think we're talking about, you know,
I was just gonna say, I think I've really noticed it in the, uh,
careers seminars I've been thrilled at to see names. I don't know,
almost exclusively, because I think the early Bena events,
the networking events, you know, it was lovely. It was,
but it was on the whole people that we already knew in core facilities.
And it's been very exciting to run these careers talks and look on and see a
list of 40 names,
35 of which are unfamiliar to me because that means that new members are coming
Well, to actually, uh, someone from York went over to the us uh, Andy Stone,
uh, he'd been postdocing over there and he is just gone to his it,
I dunno how to pronounce this really bad, Brandis University, Brande Universe,
thank you, uh, to run the core facility there. One the,
like my cross be core facility. So the first thing, uh, well, sorry,
he gave me a call, said, what do I do to know what's going on? I said, well,
first thing is to join bena. So it's great that he's got somewhere.
So you kind of know you're immediately gonna have a support network and maybe,
maybe something that hasn't really come been emphasized yet.
It is sup offering a support network and all these events, of course, the train,
the trainers, the other events we'll talk about,
it's really just providing a network that can support you and you can call on
and can get help. Now, of course,
I told him to join the R M S and he must go to Elmi to get a true feel for what
everyth they think.
But I think the importance of having it on your doorstep and bringing it
together is really important. And so actually I,
I would say thank you to yourselves for thinking of it, Nicki,
for supporting C Z I for actually funding it,
because otherwise Andy would be starting that job and yes,
he'll pick up the phone, he can call me.
But to have someone in the same time zone even and on your doorstep that has the
same feel is so important. Claire,
I just wanted to add, we had this, uh,
train the trainer course last week here in Montreal and we had a huge, uh, um,
number of people from Mexico, which I totally credit to Bina because I,
I met all those people through the global bio imaging bina workshop, uh,
last February. And, um, it was exactly that. So, so we had 14,
um, attendees, but then we had 12 faculty and,
and half the attendees had as much teaching experience as the faculty and
we really tried to set the tone that this is just a community to learn from one
And a lot of the people who were leaving the course want to set up a course in
their own, um, institution, which was the, the rationale behind the training.
And now they, a lot of them said,
now I feel like I have a group that I can reach out to,
and when I'm putting together my course, I,
I know people that I can can reach out to and ask for advice or, you know,
bounce ideas or invite them to help, you know, to come and help.
So it was really satisfying and, and you could really feel the,
the sort of being a, um, both funding people to go there, uh,
global bioimaging funding people to go there. And then, you know,
it was a Canada Bioimaging round event. And so it was,
it was a really nice sort of, um, culmination of a,
of a whole bunch of factors that I think achieved what,
what we've been trying to do. So it was very satisfying and, and, uh, good week.
But I just wanna add to that as one of the people who was deemed to be faculty,
I learned so much from the Mexican participants. I couldn't believe it.
And particularly, of course,
they are way ahead of me and many other people when it comes to outreach
to people who haven't even heard about a microscope. You know,
that was so interesting to me,
hearing how do you approach someone who's never seen a microscope?
So the amount that we learned from each other, it was incredible
You not practice that every time you're in a taxi, they say, what do you do? Oh,
I, I play with microscopes. He's going,
they're gonna think about this little school microscope,
not what it can really enable and how important it is behind almost everything.
Actually, you know, it,
there's almost nothing in our lives that a microscope isn't involved with in
some way. Uh,
both materialists materials due to the airplanes that you're flying on through
to the medicines you're given. Mm-hmm. Uh, it's always good to bring that in.
We need more microscopies coming through and it is the only technique that
matters, isn't it?
You'll get full agreement here.
Don't let my staff hear that. And of course,
cytometry and genomics and metabolomics in basic interactions, everything else,
of course. Okay. So I think
It's, it's also, it's also, you know,
we this the sort of networks within networks and the support for,
for that we're offering our community in North America as you've,
as you know, 'cause you've done these with other communities,
they're supporting in their local community. But we are all getting together.
So we have a regular meeting with the administrative side of a lot of the other
networks to just touch base with them,
find out what's happening in their community, what they're doing.
And Global Bioimaging is sort of the umbrella organization for all of us.
And I think it's, it's important that there's this,
this system to be able to filter up and bring back down and filter up and bring
it back down so that, you know, you can, you can reach the broadest community,
but you can also filter things up to try and get consensus and agreement on what
say best, best practices might,
might be or best trainings and then filter that back down again.
So without this sort of structure of all of these communities connected in a
it it's difficult to implement something that everybody that would then adopt
that's, that's sort of standardized.
So I think that's another strength of just all of these networks we all work
together to try to provide that environment to enable that,
that kind of great microscopy.
Yeah. Alison, I I was gonna ask you one of my questions was,
is a lot of what you do is best practices and pick a mix of looking at what can
work for you. It may be different to what can work for Lab, for Africa,
for Europe, for uk it's a pick a mix of what works best for your community.
Alison, sorry, you were gonna come in with something.
No, I was actually just gonna add in something else,
which is on the science front. I mean,
I find it impossible to keep on top of the literature and everything that's
going on. And as you know, that's the importance.
So as well of going to these meetings that we hear about all the science going
on. And while we were at the meeting last week, um, a Dan who was a,
a representative from Mexico and,
and he taught me about the work he's doing with a, a,
a new image analysis method in effect to get super resolution data out.
And I'd missed that paper and now he sent it to me and it's like, again,
it's just learning from these people. So I don't want it to sound as though,
you know, either that they're only involved in outreach,
there's incredible high level science going on mm-hmm. In,
in all these different places that it is just very hard to keep on top of.
And so that's another reason why the networking is so important.
You know, I, I, I, so I registered for the, uh,
lab and being a meeting upcoming year,
one of the questions on that registration form is what is your challenge at the
moment? It is the last question. Voluntary. I,
well should put something in anyway. And Alison, just to empathize with that,
my, my, I think the biggest challenge is keeping up with the broaden,
broadening range of microscopy techniques, because they're really different.
They're really almost, if you were to start new core facilities,
you can almost see like microscopy course almost splitting in the future.
'cause they are so broad now and merging into other technology's keeping up
properly, keeping up not just a broad awareness. It's really challenging.
And so I, I totally agree with that. So from a be a perspective,
where do you see the biggest risk going forward? I,
I dunno who to ask that for. So if you think of a risk each,
I'm gonna ask you for two, two words.
If you could do two word or three words of what you think the biggest risk is.
So Nick's looking confidence, I'm gonna start with Nikki.
Oh, right. Well, um, well one,
I think if we can't continue to do this sort of work, I think that a lot of the,
the funding that's going out there is,
is not gonna get leveraged as well as it could be.
And I think it's very important to recognize that it is,
as we've said all along about the people.
So making sure that they feel like they're adequately trained, as you say, it's,
there's so much to keep up on. Um, what
About the risk to bena itself, to keep as an org as an organization?
What is the biggest risks for Bena
to anyone, Claire?
Um, I would come back to my comment earlier of aligning with the community.
I think it could be really, um, uh,
potential to get too broad and to try to do everything.
And you could come back to the technologies as well, right?
To try to have too many working groups and too many different, uh,
goals and ideas. So I think keeping, um,
enough going on and staying aligned with the community but not, uh,
not getting scattered, you know? And, um, I think, um, we have,
I don't know if Nikki has it handy 'cause I'm not gonna remember it off the top
of my head, but we do have a mission and a vision statement.
So I think always coming back to that and making sure that whatever we're doing
is aligned with, um,
our mission so that we don't get fra fragmented and,
and diluted out. You know,
Any other thoughts?
I would say my biggest fear is that the,
the initiatives that the actions that we're taking will reach core facility
but not translate into the people doing research in their own labs who are
minded, their own microscopes. I mean, a lot of you were talking Pete,
about standards, and of course all of us are heavily involved in, um,
um, quality and reproducibility and light microscopy. You know,
we're trying to establish a set of standards and you know,
one of the things that we're trying to implement in a working group I'm on is to
try and, and a set a checklists that the journals will implement, um,
for what you have to report in a mic, in,
in a paper about the microscope or the images or these kind of things.
And I'm nervous because, you know,
suddenly we all know the importance of these standards.
We all understand that without them you can't do reproducible science,
but it is gonna impose a lot of work on people who are not used to doing this.
And so I'm just acutely aware that unless we get all of the researchers
on board, you know, nationwide,
that they all understand the importance of these initiatives, um,
that it just won't move forward as a whole.
So, so I'm interested that none of you're concerned about the funding of Bina.
I think that's what Nikki was saying. I mean,
I that's how I took hers or I'd have said that. Yes.
I think that that was where I was going is that, you know, the,
if if the funders that have been funding us thus far obviously want to try and
find others who will be willing to step to the plate and help support this kind
of activity. And if we don't get anybody doing that, um,
yes, I, I, you know,
I think that we will lose out on something that really is gaining momentum and
having, adding extra value to the dollars that are being invested elsewhere.
But you are now developing courses and events, different courses,
so they must hopefully will start to recover their costs and some of,
and the background staff costs involved. So Nikki,
Vanessa's salaries can start to surely be, start to be covered within that.
So right now we don't have membership for bna, it's free.
And that is intentional because we want people to join and get engaged and be
involved. And we are looking at different models for sustainability.
And what we are hoping is that some of the resources that we are producing
become sufficiently valuable that funders realize it's important to keep them
going. The microscopy db, the, the, the, um,
equipment database. I mean, when, certainly in the United States when, um,
infrastructure funds go out,
they often are looking to find out what other infrastructures are there in the
area. And if you could go to the mi to the Bena site and see on the map,
oh yes, look, there's,
there's this instrumentation there that makes the life easier of the funder,
but also of the person who's submitting the application because they don't have
to, they can find out quite easily what is in their local vicinity.
I think that the way that Yuba Imaging is organized,
where really it's very clear where the technologies are and the instrumentations
it helps their funding agencies know where to deploy their euros more
And I'm hoping that we are producing the sorts of resources that appeal not just
to our community,
but to people who are in a position to help support us with maintaining it.
And that also includes, you know, the vendors if they,
they find it useful to know that there's a collaborator with that kind of
expertise in that area that they could reach out to Claire.
I would just say, um,
we've been working a lot in Canada to try to talk to the funders and,
and I think one of the challenges is that they don't really understand what we
do. And I think a lot of people think a network is,
you set up an email list and you email everybody about stuff that's going on.
And I think this podcast will be a great, um,
resource and I think we need to continue to, to talk about what we do.
And what became really clear for me recently is that we're, um,
what would be a horizontal organization and that we're,
we're helping everybody use microscopes. So we're not a, we're not in, you know,
focused on cancer or immunology or material science.
We're really focused on microscopes and bringing that to all researchers.
And the funding mechanisms tend to be set up in silos, right? That, that you're,
they're funding very specific projects. And at the, um,
c C I meeting recently, we had, uh,
N S F and N I H and the program officers were fantastic and they really,
really wanted to help.
But they were trying to find programs that they have that we fit in and it was
very clear that we really don't fit in and that they need new programs.
And so I think that's a bigger ask, right? It's really a change of culture,
a change of the way of doing science.
And I really think that these networks and even facilities in general are asking
for a change in the way we do science and really transforming how we work.
So I don't think it'll happen quickly,
but I think if people get it and we find ways to communicate the value of what
we're doing, then, then it has a tremendous potential.
I, I think that's a really good point.
And I think this is also where that picker mix of looking at different
countries, UK uh, Allison, you mentioned the facilities meetings,
you GATE crashed because your English accents,
but actually anyone is welcome because it's sharing best practices.
But actually all our major funders are there. You know,
the Medical Research Council and the B B S R C.
So for the biological non-medical research side, researchers,
the physical E P SS R C comes to that meeting as well. Welcome,
trust quite often attend and they're the people involved in awarding funds
around the infrastructures, the equipment and the science. And actually I,
I will, I will give a,
a shout out to M R C and B B S R C who funded by Imaging UK
a similar initiative to Oma Imaging North America. It wasn't,
it didn't fit one or the other. It fit both. And actually research councils.
So the funders in the UK are quite good at having a centralized pot that doesn't
fit one or the other, but coming together to do that, it's not easy. Yes.
I don't wanna give anyone the illusion that any of this is easy,
and as you said, it takes time and convincing.
But the wonderful thing is when the funders are actually at the meeting,
they're listening, they're hearing,
they're seeing the value of it and what else it can do. Uh,
and I, I presume, I don't know,
beside hopefully Chance Ofo by imaging will be at be there in lab,
but of other vendors attending as well. Nikki, you are,
They're mostly gonna be,
they're registering to attend virtually 'cause as our meeting is going to be
hybrid. Mm-hmm. So they may,
some of them definitely will be there in person and certainly some of the local
representatives in Mexico we hope will be there in person. But I think that, um,
you know, n i h and n Ss f it's, they,
they don't have budgets to necessarily travel out the country to go there to
those sorts of things. But we're hoping that they will participate. Um,
Are they, are they talking at the meeting?
They're not talking at this one.
So the program for this one sort of solidified it a little earlier on,
but we will, we already have the dates for our, uh,
bio imaging North America meeting in 2024 will be in Madison,
Wisconsin in September, I believe it's, it's around the same sort of time.
It's that, that last week in September, full week in September. Um, yeah,
I can't look at my calendar 'cause that's 2023. But, uh,
it's the same sort of general time and we are piggybacking it with another
meeting that, um,
Kevin er is gonna be organizing around open hardwares and that sort of thing.
So, um, we're hoping to be able to, you know, bring more folks from, uh,
the funding agencies to that. But as I say, we hope they'll,
they'll participate virtually with this one. And, and I did just wanna say that,
you know, I, uh, the, the, the,
the way we recognize good science is going to have to
have a culture shift as well. We're pushing for fair in all that we do,
but fair generally means that you need to start being a little bit more
collaborative. So, you know,
recognizing ways of demonstrating and measuring that you are being
that you are sharing your data and you getting points for that when you apply
for funding is, is not there right now.
And I think we need to find ways for that to be possible. And you know,
we frequently get people asking us, you know,
well I'm a member of this working group,
how can I put that onto my resume and make it look like I'm actually doing
something? 'cause I am actually doing something.
And Allison, you were wanting to come in on this as well. Yeah,
I just wanted to add in that I think one thing that's helped us, excuse me,
will be the, um, the fact that the n I h brought in these new,
this new requirement for data management plan in every grant.
And so up until now it's been, it's been more sort of,
we see the need for good David and management,
we can see how it helps us now that it's actually required.
Everyone's talking about, oh gosh,
how are we actually going to implement this and make, make sure of this.
So certainly in my university where I work this is has led to long
conversations between the faculty, um, the head of the library, the library, um,
it, and, and us in in core facilities.
And I think this is really gonna help push things forward.
And the other thing I wanted to say was just that I think we have to keep
remembering that Bena is really young. I mean, I,
I've come to the ALAMI meetings and I've heard year after year after year,
the update on Euro by imaging.
And I take my hat off to anti Kepler for this publicly because,
you know, so many times she would talk about this and you felt like, wow,
you know, when are they gonna get funding?
And now they've been applying for all these grants and they, I think when I,
when they spoke last year, they got seven grants they'd apply for or something.
I mean, it's extraordinary how that team have really pushed it forward. And so,
you know, I am, I am worried about being a funding.
I don't want to see all our work come to nothing.
But I also feel hopeful because I just think the,
the sheer passion of everyone who's involved in these efforts,
we don't want it to fail after all this work. And we've,
we've only been formally in existence since 2018. I mean, that's nothing,
you know, so we'll follow auntie's lead and we'll keep moving.
You hardly the r m s with what, 180 years
Exactly. The R m ss another amazing organization. Yeah,
We are, uh, we are just over the hour and I was gonna ask,
and I'm still gonna ask one last question and what is your favorite meeting?
And I'm gonna start with Nikki.
Oh my goodness. Um,
well I have to say ours because, um, I've got to, yeah,
I think ours, because I, we are,
we offer it hybrid and I think if covid to taught us one thing,
it was that making it possible for as many people to participate as you
can is really the ideal way to go.
We are still working on making the virtual experience as rewarding as the
in-person experience, which is a challenge when you run a hybrid meeting.
But I think that making that available at least means that you are being as
inclusive as you can be. So I,
I would encourage others to try to consider if,
if they can't make it hybrid at that moment,
to maybe record stuff and put it online afterwards so that people can still be a
part of it. And I love the fact that ours are,
there's no registration essentially. You,
you pay for your hotel room and your food. There's no markup at the moment.
The that helps to support us. Maybe that will have to change,
but I hope it doesn't because as I say,
it makes it as attainable as we possibly can make it.
And there's no fee to be virtual so
That our facility meetings UK are also free to attend out in those because the
companies all pay to attend, which sponsors. So it's their sponsorship,
it's they attendance sponsors the academic side, which is,
it's not the easiest funding areas for people to go to. Claire,
what's your favorite meeting?
I have to say the global bioimaging meeting. 'cause it's, uh,
also combined with travel and seeing the world. And I've really enjoyed, uh,
going different places and seeing what different communities are doing.
And I would say that I brought all of that to Canada,
bioimaging and Bina as well of what I've seen working well.
And we integrated a,
an outreach activity in our course last week because I had heard about it at a
meeting in Mexico, you know, so I really enjoy the international community.
Yeah, I I do, you know, I've not been to a big low bio imaging,
so that's one I've missed and I can't go to it this year either. So,
but next time
I need to get that in the diary. Alison, my favorite meeting,
I think you've already said once,
I have already said, but, but,
and I've already said Elmi and it's partly because of the talks and the
workshops and everything about it,
but it is also because El Elmi people keep saying the Elmi family,
the Elmi family. And I think that is the point. And, and, and after I had, um,
a severe medical issue last year, the,
the number of emails and tweets I got from the Elmi community
just sending it to me internationally of support and, you know,
caring was just incredible.
So that's why I love Elmi is not just 'cause of the size,
it's 'cause of the people.
I'm very excited about the upcoming Bena lobby meeting in guava and
I'm actually much more excited now than I was two weeks ago.
And the reason for that, yeah, I mean I was excited anyway, don't get me wrong,
Nikki, but the reason for that is because last week,
because I met so many people at the Montreal course who are gonna be there,
and now it's like, okay, now I feel that, that my being a family is not just,
uh, north America,
but also I've met a lot of the Canadians at the meeting last week and I've met a
number of the Mexicans and people from, you know, the,
the other countries involved, you know, Uruguay and whatever.
And I just think so it, it changes it. I think we're all human, right? If you,
if you go to a conference and you see people, you know,
who you think of friends and not just colleagues,
but you think of them as friends, it,
it makes the meetings so much more enjoyable.
So I'm very excited to go there now.
So just in case anybody knows, I'm gonna do a, a plug for it.
It's the 25th through the 29th of September. And you can go to our, we our,
our website to register.
We're still open until the 20th for in-person registration of this month.
I'm not sure that when this goes live, uh, but it'll be closed.
Oh, that's true.
No, it's okay. Uh, but of course you've got the plug for 24 already.
Yes. 2024 similar dates. 23 to through 27, I think of September.
I look forward to seeing how Bena develops in the future.
How you develop your own el 'cause you need to develop your own el not just
through that be a meeting, but actually a mm-hmm.
It's a different emphasis to to that. And I wish you all the best with it.
I I you're gonna have some challenges, but you've got, we've got, we've
Yeah. And you have and Vanessa and you have a big Yes.
Big community. Massive
Opportunity out there to to to,
to expand into it and to doing so much in what, five years.
Ah, come on. You're gonna, you're gonna cruise it. Allison,
I'd totally remiss to allow this to end without acknowledging Kevin,
the huge input of work by Kevin Ri,
who has not only been co-chair with us, and he's not on this call,
but he has hosted the Bena organization at the Mortgage Institute.
Kevin came on later,
which is why Claire and I really started up and we then brought Kevin on because
we knew we needed someone who was deeply into image analysis,
but he just has jumped into it headfirst and put so much work in and we are so
I would just wanna add, uh, Liang and, uh,
Anja because they were the ones who spearheaded that meeting at Janelia that
really brought the European community and the other networks together to,
to show the North American community what was happening and,
and sort of plant the spark of, uh, of getting things started. So,
And VLA from C Z I and the others of the team, but particularly Vlad
And everyone we've forgotten. Yes.
I, I, I miss for me not to comment and Allison's whiteboard that says,
don't forget, join Bio Imaging North America. Uh, very good plug,
but we have to go 'cause it is way over the hour now.
Thank you for everyone who's listened or watched. Mm-hmm.
And thank for your patience to the end, but I, that's gone so super fast.
I hope you found it just as interesting.
And actually even I have gotten new ideas,
so I've been writing down new ideas what we can do within the r m s from
listening to you. So this is a two-way process,
everyone brilliant today,
but what you're doing is fantastic and I wish you all the best in the future.
Thank you. Thanks Pete.
Thank you Pete. Thank you.
Thank you for listening to the Microscopists,
a bite-sized bio podcast sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy.
To view all audio and video recordings from this series,
please visit bite-size bio.com/the-microscopists.