International year of light marked at SINAPSE Annual Scientific Meeting.
The SINAPSE ASM this year, for the first time, included a session on optical imaging. Dr Tom McGillivray set the meeting alight with a splendid update on the VAMPIRE programme, a collaboration led by Edinburgh and Dundee. Dr Nigel Bolster from Strathclyde described PEEK, a portable eye examination kit for use in remote parts of the world and Dr Sam Philips from Aberdeen presented on their project on automation of the detection of diabetic retinopathy.
As the meeting was taking place in the magnificent setting of King’s College in Aberdeen it was appropriate to mark the contribution to science, electromagnetism and hence magnetic resonance imaging, made by James Clark Maxwell, who was Professor of Natural Philosophy at Marischal College in Aberdeen from 1856-60. This was delivered in a short, entertaining presentation by Michael Stringer, a doctoral student at Aberdeen. Previously Michael had made a similar presentation at the Scottish final of FameLab, an event promoting public awareness of science.
The keynote address at the meeting was delivered by Professor William Jagust from the University of California in Berkley. This dovetailed splendidly with talks on treatments for dementia given by Professor Craig Ritchie from Edinburgh and Dr Roger Staff from Aberdeen. Bill Jagust is one of the world’s leading authorities on Alzheimer’s disease and the role of molecular imaging in assessing pathophysiology and treatment. Anyone who was unable to come to the meeting can follow him on YouTube. It’s not as good as hearing it first hand and interacting, but still very informative.