Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Adventures in Cartagena

Just as in the movie "Romancing the Stone" the city of Cartagena was the locale of the 12th Inter-American Microscopy Congress  which took place September 24-28, where over 400 scientists and 30 vendors from many of the countries in the Americas gathered to discuss their results and techniques regarding microscopy.

12th Inter-American Microscopy Congress
12th Inter-American Microscopy Congress
Besides the biological sciences, which included agricultural research, human and animal health subject areas a wide array of topic areas were presented at the meeting. Materials science and nanotechnology, which studies the physical and chemical properties of materials, covered topics of archeology, cultural heritage preservation, forensics, dentistry, nanotechnology, energy and geosciences. Presentations on instrumentation and fundamental techniques in light,  fluorescence and electron microscopy were also presented.

Cartagena is an old city situated on the northern coast of South America with access to the Caribbean ocean. The city boasts a large port that has been fought over for centuries. While the city has been controlled by several countries throughout its history including England, France and Spain, today it is part of Colombia. The old city, surrounded by protective walls, has narrow cobblestone streets and a vibrant eclectic charm and numerous small restaurants surrounding a central fortress that has been preserved and open to the public. Numerous small cars and taxis make their way around the streets mixing with the plethora of pedestrians and motorcyclists. The new part of the city has beach front condos and high rises and a modern conference center. The mix of the old and new provides something for everyone.

Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia
I was fortunate enough to attend this meeting and present a lecture entitled "A New Look at Cell-based Assays: Combining PMT-based Cell Population Data with Imaging-based Sub-population Analysis". This lecture described the use of latest product from BioTek, the Cytation 3 Cell Imaging Multi-Mode Reader. The Cytation 3 has the ability to generate both quantitative numerical data as well as provide qualitative images using microscope objectives and a gray scale CCD camera.  BioTek's local products distributor Animal Diagnostics National (ADN) had a display booth with a functional Cytation 3. A number of avid microscopists brought samples to the meeting and imaged them.

Booth at the Congress
Busy Display Booth at the Congress

I didn't meet Jane Wilder while I was there, but in addition to my presentation I did manage to walk the walls of the old city and visit the fortress where a portion of the movie was filmed.  While I also didn’t find an emerald, as in the movie, my colleagues and I had several adventures in the interior of Colombia, but that is another story….

By, BioTek Instruments

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