Professor Uri Rosenchein, the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion invited me to a fresh blood symposium. I am reproducing the header of the invitation. Gruesome isn’t it?
Not sure what to expect but being generally curious (which killed the cat), I slipped a set of Dracula fangs into my jacket pocket, and set off for the Technion last week.
Not withstanding Professor Rosenchein wearing black and having a rather gaunt appearance, it wasn’t a vampire party at all. It turned out that the event was an opportunity for new faculty members of the Technion whose research interfaced with medicine in some manner, to give 12 minute presentations about their research.
The day was intellectually stimulating and very enjoyable. The speakers were a bunch of brilliant researchers who covered an eclectic range of technologies and research interests.
In his introductory remarks, the President of the Technion, Peretz Lavie, mentioned that the IP Policy of the Technion was under review, but tantalizingly, didn’t go into details.
Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman gave the first presentation about biodegradable stents made of magnesium, and reported on in vivo experiments using rabbits. I must admit that I got a kick out of noting a typo in one of his slides. True, it could happen to anyone (and did to other lecturers later). Nevertheless, I urge all Israelis using English slides, to run them past a native English speaker before giving a presentation. Actually, that is good advice for native English speakers as well. As a materials scientist, who actually started a PhD on biomaterials (polyethylene-polyethylene composite tendons, Casali, Applied Chemistry), before moving to Applied Physics at the Hebrew University, I particularly enjoyed his presentation. I was somewhat bemused though, by him stating that he couldn’t find any experts on stent design in Israel, since I have two separate clients in the field, and am well aware of others.
The first main session was devoted to genome scale discoveries, and dealt with genes and RNA. I found the talks a little beyond my knowledge, but Dr Ben Spungin, my partner who has a biology background found the talks fascinating. After a coffee break, there was a session on better hospitals, and it was quite eye-opening to realize the amount of activity going on in a hospital. There was a section on architecture that was particularly fascinating. It provided an insight into weird and wonderful shaped buildings, sometimes being the result of rigorous analysis to optimize light, heat and water usage.
We were introduced to a range of weird and wonderful research projects including silicon chip analog computers for modeling respiratory systems, miniature magnetic resonance probes and using smartphones for diagnostic purposes.
One lecturer brought a vampire cape, so I realized that I wasn’t the only participant who had misunderstood the nature of the event.
It wasn’t that long since I did my PhD, but long enough for the new faculty members to seem young. Ah well.
We congratulate Uri on organizing a wide-ranging very interesting symposium. I hope it encourages cross-fertilization of ideas, which sounds better than ‘contamination’, which is a more appropriate blood metaphor. I suspect there are few academic institutions that could have organized an event like this on Xmas Day.