On 7 June 2011, a “Training and Exchange Day” took place at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), bringing together all young NanoDiaRA-investigators from Switzerland. As this was the first time that such an event was conducted independently from the regular scientific meetings, the main focus was on the very basis of the NanoDiaRA project: the production of the SPION particles.
In the morning, the young investigators visited the Powder Technology Laboratory (LTP lab), where EPFL members explained different aspects of the SPION synthesis and functionalization: Lionel Maurizi talked about the foundations of the particle synthesis, their physiochemical characterization and surface properties. Géraldine Coullerez encouraged the participants to reproduce different particle coatings directly in the lab. Usawadee Sakulkhu showed how the iron quantification with Prussian Blue works, and Vianney Bernau explained different aspects of the colloidal stability of the produced particles. Ending with a demonstration of protein separation and the magnetic fixed bed reactor which was developed at EPFL, the participants had the opportunity to comprehend the whole particle production and characterization step by step.
The afternoon was dedicated to selected topics the other participants are currently working about in NanoDiaRA. Lindsey Crowe, University Hospital of Geneva, talked about the MR imaging in rats she and her group are conducting. Hui Gao explained the function of the biomarker COMP that is used at Arrayon Biotechnology for detecting Arthritis, and Julian Kaufmann presented the micro-reactor for particle capturing he is developing at Centre Suisse d´Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM).
The day was not only filled with interesting presentations, but also with lively discussions about the contents of the talks and the collaborative work. It was decided to continue with this kind of meetings, the next two times focusing on biomarker detection and in vivo testing respectively.