AFM BioMed Conference



 Keynote Lectures


"Biological dynamics by AFM fostered by a dynamic AFM BioMed Conference

 Simon ScheuringWeill Cornell Medicine, USA

Simon Scheuring is Professor of Physiology and Biophysics in Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA. He is a trained biologist from the Biozentrum at the University of Basel, Switzerland (1992−1996). During his M.Sc. and Ph.D. (1996−2001; Andreas Engel laboratory), he learned electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, and got interested in membrane proteins, working on the structure determination of aquaporins and sugar transporters. During his postdoc (2001−2004; Jean-Louis Rigaud laboratory) and research assistant (2004−2007) at the institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM) and the Institut Curie in Paris, France, he learned membrane physical chemistry and developed atomic force microscopy for the study of native membranes. As junior research director (2007−2012), he set up his independent lab at the Institut Curie in Paris, France. Next, promoted to senior research director, he built a larger laboratory at INSERM/Aix-Marseille Université in Marseille, France, (2012-2016). He then moved to Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA (2017), where he got appointed as Professor of Physiology and Biophysics in Anesthesiology. Simon Scheuring’s laboratory is specialized in Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) based technologies for the study of various membrane phenomena, such as membrane protein structure, assembly, diffusion and conformational dynamics. Over the past years, his laboratory has been instrumental in the development and application of High-Speed Atomic Force Microscopy (HS-AFM), unique for the analysis of dynamics of unlabeled single molecules, allowing to bridge structure and function. To make HS-AFM more powerful for biological applications, his laboratory developed environmental control, i.e. slow and fast buffer exchange, temperature and force control. Further developments concerned novel AFM-based modalities, by integrating optical microscopy into a HS-AFM, and by developing high-speed force spectroscopy (HS-FS) and high frequency microrheology (HF-µR). The laboratory also developed HS-AFM line scanning (HS-AFM-LS) and HS-AFM height spectroscopy (HS-AFM-HS) which allow to probe molecular dynamicsat millisecond and microsecond temporal resolution. Most recently, Simon Scheuring’s laboratory introduced Localization Atomic Force Microscopy (LAFM) a super-resolution method that allows the extraction of quasi-atomic structural details from single molecule AFM data. Taking advantage of these possibilities, Simon Scheuring made significant contributions in the membrane trafficking and the channels & transporters fields. Simon Scheuring has received several awards, most recently the NIH director's pioneer award (2019).


"Future of Scientific Conference" (Online)

Cyrus Mody,  Maastricht University, The Netherlands 

Prof. Mody is an historian of recent science and technology, specifically the applied physical sciences in the United States since 1965.  He studies the commercialization of academic research, the longue durée of responsible research and innovation (RRI), and the technopolitics of scarcity in the long 1970s.

For 2020-2025, Prof. Mody is the principal investigator for an NWO (Netherland Organisation for Scientific Research) Vici grant, "Managing Scarcity and Sustainability: The Oil Industry, Environmentalism, and Alternative Energy in the Age of Scarcity." Other team members are Odinn Melsted (postdoc), Michiel Bron (PhD candidate, oil and nuclear energy project), and Jelena Stankovic (PhD candidate, oil and solar energy project).

In parallel, Prof. Mody is a co-PI in the ERC Synergy grant "Nanobubbles" along with colleagues @_Nano_Bubbles . This project seeks to understand why the scientific record is so difficult to correct and how scientists are able to ignore contradictory evidence. The aim is to foster a healthier scientific dialogue in which contradictory evidence can be debated and errors corrected without fear of repercussions.





"Current status and prospect: FM-AFM and force mapping" 

Hirofumi Yamada,  Kyoto UniversityJapan


Hirofumi Yamada is Professor Emeritus of School of Engineering at Kyoto University since April 2022 and is currently working at Ryukoku University at Seta and Keio University at Hiyoshi as a visiting Professor. He obtained a doctor degree in applied physics from the University of Tokyo in 1994 for his thesis work on atomic force microscopy (AFM) of organic materials, when he worked at AIST, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (the former Agency of Industrial Science and Technology in the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry/MITI). He moved to Kyoto University in 1996 and started a new project on high-resolution investigations of electrical properties of semiconducting organic molecules by frequency modulation AFM. He received several awards including Nanoprobe Technology Award in 2004 from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for his novel development of a dynamic mode AFM for nanoscale electrical measurements. The current research covers nanometer-scale science and technology on organic materials such as structures and electrical properties of organic ultra-thin films on solid surfaces, instrumentation of scanning probe microscopies for functional sensing of various materials, high-resolution imaging of organic molecules including biomaterials, development of molecular-scale electronics/devices and nanocarbon electronics, and nanoscale transducers/sensors using organic molecules. In particular, his recent research is oriented to molecular-scale functional visualization of bio- and nano-materials by AFM functional probes based on both high-resolution frequency modulation AFM and dual probe AFM techniques. The aim of the research is to develop a novel imaging method capable of visualizing molecular-scale bio-functions and to clarify the microscopic roles of various bio-molecules in cell physiological processes by this method. The developed technique is also applied to the molecular-scale investigations of various properties of wide variety of nanometer-scale functional materials.



Chair Persons & Invited Speakers


     Session: Imaging


        chair person:  Alice Pyne, The University of Sheffield, UK 


Dr Alice L. B. Pyne is an Associate Professor in Polymers and Soft Matter in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield, and is head of the Royce Nanocharacterisation laboratory. Her research combines high-resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM) and image analysis to determine how the structural and conformational heterogeneity in individual DNA molecules affect fundamental biological processes. Alice received an MSci in Physics from the University of Bristol in 2009, and an EngD in biophysics from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, in 2015. She was awarded an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship, followed by an MRC Rutherford Innovation Fellowship, to establish an independent research programme in high resolution biomolecular AFM. Throughout her career, Alice has worked closely with industry to develop novel AFM methods capable of routinely resolving the DNA double helix on individual molecules. She has pioneered these methods to achieve time-resolved imaging of DNA at the sub-molecular scale, showing DNA molecules twisting and “dancing” in ways that had not previously been accessible. Alice is building a community in the biosciences that adopts her high-resolution imaging methods, enabled by developing an automated image analysis pipeline TopoStats which combines AFM image correction, molecule identification, and tracing into a single tool. She is spearheading an international effort to promote quantitative tools for analysis in AFM (


        invited speaker:  Roderick Lim, University of Basel, Switzerland   


Roderick Lim is the Argovia Professor for Nanobiology at the Biozentrum and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, University of Basel. Rod studied applied physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He trained in AFM during his PhD at the National University of Singapore where he investigated the nanotribological properties of confined liquids. This was followed by postdoctoral work at the M.E. Mueller Institute for Structural Biology at the Biozentrum, where he was awarded the 2008 P-G. de Gennes Prize “From Solid State to Biophysics” for his use of biomimetic approaches to study the nuclear pore complex. Today, his lab combines biophysical, AFM (and HS-AFM), and cellular approaches to study biological function and to explore how biological machines may be leveraged towards bio-inspired applications. A key area of interest in his lab is to understand how nucleocytoplasmic transport is regulated by nuclear pore complexes. Lim is also a co-inventor of ARTIDIS ("Automated and Reliable Tissue Diagnostics"), an atomic force microscope-based innovation for cancer diagnosis.




     Session: Force


        chair person:   Felix Rico, Aix-Marseille University & INSERM & CNRS, France


Felix Rico is associate professor in the department of Physics of Aix-Marseille University since 2013 and researcher at the LAI U1067, a joint Aix-Marseille University, CNRS & INSERM laboratory. He studied Physics at the University Autonoma of Barcelona and received his PhD in Biophysics from the University of Barcelona. He was postdoc at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (Miami, FL) and then at Institute Curie (Paris). He has been working in force microscopy since 2001, focusing on the mechanics and adhesion properties of biological systems. He has developed various force spectroscopy-based approaches to investigate the mechanics of single biomolecules, membranes and cells. He pioneered high-speed force spectroscopy to probe the mechanics and dynamics of single biomolecules and living cells at microsecond timescales.


        invited speaker:  Thomas Perkins, JILA/University of Colorado Boulder, USA 


Thomas Perkins is a Fellow of JILA, a joint institute between the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado. He graduated from Harvard University, did his graduate work at Stanford under Steve Chu, and post-doctoral studies at Princeton and Stanford with Steve Block. His group specializes in developing and applying high-precision single-molecule techniques to answer biological questions. Over the past decade, his group developed a series of focused-ion-beam modified cantilevers to study the folding and unfolding of proteins with enhanced precision and stability. By using cantilevers optimized for 1-µs resolution, his group re-examined the unfolding of individual bacteriorhodopsin (bR) molecules in native lipid bilayers with a 100-fold higher time resolution and a 10-fold higher force precision than previous studies. The unfolding pathway was resolved with unprecedented detail, indicating the structural elements associated with bR unfolding that were as small as two amino acids. These advances in AFM metrology have been merged with site-specific conjugation to investigate the dynamics and energetics of a wide range of additional systems ranging from small globular proteins and structured RNA molecules to effector proteins and cardiac myosin. Tom is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He is also a long-time co-organizer of the biennial Single Molecule Biophysics meeting at the Aspen Center for Physics. Tom has received a number of awards, including the Dept. of Commerce’s Gold Medal (its highest award) and its Ron Brown Excellence in Innovation Award, an Arthur S. Flemming Award for outstanding achievement in government service, and the Colorado Governor’s award for high impact research.



     Session: Cellular & Tissue Mechanics


        chair person:   Takaharu Okajima, Hokkaido University, Japan 


Takaharu Okajima is a Professor at Hokkaido University, Faculty of Information Science and Technology since 2013. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2000. He joined the Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology at Tokyo Institute of Technology as an assistant professor (1995-2003). Since 2000, he started to develop AFM techniques for measuring mechanical properties of biological samples in the laboratory of Prof. Atsushi Ikai at Tokyo Institute of Technology and then in the laboratory of Prof. Hiroshi Tokumoto in the Nanotechnology Research Center at Hokkaido University. After he moved to the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at Hokkaido University in 2007, he focused on his research in investigating the universal and specific features of cell rheological properties with AFM. A current focus of his work with AFM is on exploring physical mechanism of multicellular systems such as developing embryo at the single cell level.


        invited speaker:  Adam J. Engler, University of California, San Diego, USA  



Adam J. Engler is a Professor of Bioengineering at UC San Diego, where he has been on the faculty since 2008. He also is a resident scientist at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Engler previously trained with Dr. Dennis Discher at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his PhD studying how ECM stiffness regulated stem cell fate. He also trained as a postdoc with Dr. Jean Schwarzbauer at Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology.

Dr. Engler’s research focuses on how physical and chemical properties of the niche influence or misregulates cell function and modifies genetic mechanisms of disease. In particular, his lab studies the phenomenon in the context of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases and cancer. To accomplish this, his lab makes natural and synthetic matrices with unique spatiotemporal properties to mimic niche conditions, improve stem cell behavior and commitment in vitro, or direct them for therapeutic use in vivo.

Dr. Engler has received numerous awards in recognition of this research, including young investigator or mid-career awards from International Society for Matrix Biology (2008), Biomedical Engineering Society (2008), American Society of Matrix Biology (2014), American Society of Mechanical Engineering (2015), and American Society for Engineering Education (2018). Dr. Engler is a fellow of the American Institute for Biomedical Engineering and recipient of an NIH New Innovator Award grant.



     Session: Technology & Theory


        chair person:   Noriyuki Kodera, Kanazawa University, Japan


Noriyuki Kodera is a Professor at the Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI) in the Kanazawa University. He studied Physics and received his PhD from Kanazawa University in 2005, where he was involved in the development of high-speed AFM (HS-AFM) at the laboratory of Prof. Toshio Ando. During his postdoc at Kanazawa University (2005-2010), he began research in biological application studies using HS-AFM and succeeded in the direct observation of myosin V walking along actin filaments. In 2010, he joined the faculty at Kanazawa University. After that, he has been continuously developing and improving the methods related to HS-AFM and observing proteins at work, particularly cytoskeleton-related proteins and intrinsically disordered proteins, using HS-AFM for providing novel insights into their functional mechanisms. He has received several awards, most recently the JSPS Prize (2018). From 2019, he is an elected board member of the Biophysical Society of Japan.


        invited speaker: Florence TamaNagoya University RIKEN, Japan  



Florence Tama is a Professor in the Department of Physics and the Institute of Transformative biomolecules at Nagoya University and a team leader at the Center for Computational Science in RIKEN. She studied Physics and Chemistry at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse and received her Ph.D. in Biophysics in 2000. During her post-doctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, she started to work on the development of computational tools to integrate X-ray and cryo-EM data to build 3D models of biomolecules. In 2006, she joined the University of Arizona as an assistant professor, where she continued such developments with applications to SAXS data. In 2013, she moved to Japan, first to RIKEN, and since 2015 Nagoya University. In recent years, she has extended her work on the development of integrative modeling to X-ray Free Electron Laser data and high-speed AFM data and worked in collaboration with experimental groups to elucidate the function of biomolecules.

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