I couple of weeks ago Rebecca, Mike and I (i.e. the breath people from the chemistry group) went to a workshop that was organised by the University of Loughborough and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Host of this workshop was Paul Thomas, Professor of Analytical Sciences at Loughborough University.
The workshop started t 10 o ‘clock in the morning with an introductory speech and welcome from Paul Thomas. First talker was Jonathan Beauchamp from Fraunhofer IVV, who talked about the challenges a research has to face in breath analysis. Next, Billy Boyle from Owlstone introduced us to the new breath sampler that came out to the market. This first part of the workshop ended with a talk from Jens Langejuergen (Loughborough University) regarding the TOXI-TRIAGE project and more importantly how to maintain and monitor quality control of the workflow of a breath sample.
After a small break for some caffeine boost and networking, the second session started with Prof. Stephen Fowler (Manchester University) talking about the importance of breath analysis in clinical applications and the issues a researcher faces when designing a clinical study aiming its further application in a clinical environment. Last but not least, was the talk of Hannah Calder (Markes International) on thermal desorption tubes and their application on breath sampling. Hannah gave a full review on adsorbent materials and which things should be considered for choosing the right material (or mixture of materials) in order to capture breath.
Following an hour of work lunch, as it was called, it was time for table-top exercise. Meaning, all attendees were split into groups where each group had its facilitator and a specific topic to talk on for 30 minutes. The topics that were discussed were on sample parameters, environment and storage, stability and transport of breath samples. Small debates between all participants were created, constructive talks and questions were put on the table making way for an hour discussion afterwards where all facilitators presented a summary on the topics mentioned above. The main two subjects everyone agreed on for further development are the creation of standards and methods for calibration and testing breath sampling and analysis and the development of a quantitative comparable system through which laboratories will be able to quantitatively compare their results and the procedures followed to get these results.
By the end of the day everyone seemed happy and satisfied by the talks, discussions and questions mentioned through the day.
As for me, I once more felt a bit better seeing that it ‘s not just me in the end that has all these unanswered questions in my head regarding breath sampling and its further analysis, reminding me that in the end we’ re all on the same boat. 🙂