SLTB Report

Written by Estefania Paredes (University of Vigo, ES), Dominic Olver (University of Saskatchewan, CA), Peter Kilbride (Asymptote Ltd., UK)
The Society for Low Temperature Biology annual meeting took place in the sunny and welcoming city of Seville (Spain) for its 55th edition in October 2-4th, 2019. The meeting started with a workshop in collaboration with the Stem User group (SCUG) and the Andalusian Initiative for Advanced therapies.

The Society for Low Temperature Biology Annual Meeting organized by Prof. Ramón Risco and Dr. Ariadna Corral, from the University of Seville 2019.

The gathering kicked off with a joint session between the SLTB, SCUG, and Andalusian Initiative for Advanced therapies. It was refreshing for regular SLTB members to hear about real-word clinical applications of our work in cryobiology and many fruitful discussions between the scientists and clinicians were initiated, both within the lecture theatre and at a great dinner organized by SCUG afterward! The whole cryopreservation process, cooling, shipping, and thawing were discussed, both in terms of fundamental biology but also in terms of the practicalities hospital staff require.

The primary SLTB meeting had a fantastic interdisciplinary display of topics: the biomedical field included talks on stem cell cryopreservation, cell shipment, and DMSO-free mediums.  The sessions covering reproductive cells and tissues covered interesting topics in vitrification approaches.  The animal session included talks on the cryopreservation for the aquaculture industry of molluscs. The plant sessions covered topics such as cryopreservation of coconut species, or plants from the kiwi fruit family and desert plants from the Huntington's desert garden. The physics and engineering sessions had its focus on biobanking, sample identification, thermal analysis, the Boyle van 't Hoff relation, and computational biology, all providing a unique perspective for approaching cryobiological problems. To complete the meeting, a session on cryoprotectants touched the DMSO-related issues, DMSO-free media, and antifreeze proteins. These are only to name a few of the diverse array of topics covered in this year's conference.

The conference flourished with interesting discussions coming from such a varied audience; new ideas were exchanged, and interdisciplinarity was boosted. The wide range of information was matched by a wide range of peoples attending the meeting. This SLTB meeting gathered 40 people from all over Europe (Spain, the UK, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Belgium, Ukraine, and Germany, to name a few) but also representatives from outside Europe with researchers from as far afield New Zealand, the USA, and Canada.

Dominic Olver was the recipient of the Audrey Smith travel award, “As a Canadian visiting Spain and the SLTB conference for the first time, I found it an excellent experience” he said.  “The peoples in the city and the conference are very friendly and engaging. The conference offered unique accessibility to new opportunities for collaboration and sharing of knowledge”. After the recent sad announcement of David Pegg's passing, the SLTB wanted to remember him both as a great scientist and a good friend of many of those present in the meeting. Professor Pegg was one of the founders of the society; therefore, his memory and work were felt throughout the meeting.

Housed at the University of Seville Rectory, the conference took place surrounded by history, culture, and creativity. The University itself is situated in an emblematic building - built as the Royal Tobacco Factory in 1728 and was considered one of the most significant industrial buildings at the time. At the precipice of the entrance, a statue of the Angel of Fame stands as a symbol of the path towards glory. This prominent image of the University is depicted in several paintings and stamps. It was an inspiring location, and the local organizers also gave us a great guided tour at the CAN "National Center of Accelerators" and a tour the medieval city centre highlights of which included the Archivo de Indias, the cathedral and Giralda, or the Alcazar Palace and the Jewish Quarter. A delicious tapas meal was also arranged in the historic city centre which was enjoyed by all.

In 2020, the meeting will take place from 7-9th October in Brussels, Belgium.

Royal Tobacco Factory (Seville, Spain) now housing the University of Seville


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