The cosmopolitan city of Barcelona provided the perfect setting for the recent conference: "Workshop on 3D Solutions in Cryo-Electron Microscopy". Participants and world-class international experts on the topic gathered in the Scientific and Technological Centres of the University of Barcelona.
The participants were treated to an intense and stimulating mixture of sessions – from talks on cutting edge research to practical hands-on sessions which provided hints and tips on sample preparation and the best practises when running the instruments. The practical sessions which focused on sample vitrification, cryo-electron tomography, single particle cryo-EM and 3D reconstruction were kept to an intimate size of six or seven people, which allowed us all to get up close and personal with the equipment.
I was invited to give a presentation on the use and benefits of the Linkam CMS196 cryo-correlative stage which was met with great interest (despite the late evening time slot that I was allocated!). There was also a special appearance from Liz Duke from the Diamond Light Source, in the UK, who described how they had used the CMS196 stage in their study on "Cryo Soft X-ray Tomography: 3D imaging of intact, unstained biological cells".
The evenings were also packed with entertainment: there was a very extravagant dinner in the stunning Palau de la Música in the heart of the city, and of course there were plenty of opportunities to sample the world famous cuisines and enjoy the carnival atmosphere on the most recognisable street in the Iberian peninsula - Las Ramblas.
Overall, the workshop was a great success and we look forward to being part of it again next year. We would like to thank the organisers - in particular Prof. Carmen López-Iglesias and Prof. Peter Peters - who worked hard behind the scenes to make it all happen.
By Dr Michael Schwertner