“Long time no see”, someone would say! After a long time of absence here, mainly due to heavy workload, I managed to find some time to update my blog with my recent activities.
Since I haven’t done so, I decided to focus this blog on a winter course I went to, which took place at the Italian Alps, while I was in Dornbirn for my placement.
Some people might wonder: “winter course? Don’t these things happen usually during summer in nice locations, preferably at a nice summer resort?” That was my question, too, but this course just proved the opposite. Since many people of the ISOCS society are ski lovers, they decided to arrange this year’s course at a winter resort. Truth to be told, I never heard of the ISOCS community, before this event, which was suggested to me by Prof. Chris Mayhew, the head of the Institute for Breath Research in Innsbruck. ISOCS stands for the International Society for Olfaction and Chemical Sensing. Even though this society was not directly relevant to my subject as they mainly deal with sensors, I thought it would be a good opportunity to check and learn other ways of breath research. Who knows? Maybe some of the talks would be of my interest, too.
The winter course took place between 5 and 10 of March in a beautiful small village in valley Camonica, Italy. Since getting there was a bit tricky, I arranged to go to Innsbruck by train and then meet there with Chris Mayhew and Veronica Ruzsanyi from the Institute in Innsbruck, and then drive all the way to Italy. After a long and tiring journey, we arrived there in the afternoon, exhausted and a bit dizzy after all the snake roads we had to cross. Nothing much was arranged in the evening apart from dinner and meeting some of the fellow participants and organizers.
The next day was full of talks, presenting an EU project called SNIFFPHONE, a collaboration of universities and some industry partners in order to build a device to detect lung cancer through breath. The talks were focused on how they built the device and what research was done up to that point. Talks were scheduled during morning and afternoon hours, while from 12 to five o’ clock there was a break for (what else?) skiing down the slopes. Luckily for skiers, it snowed during the previous night so snow was somewhat fresh.
For me those hours were for resting and exploring the small village, as skiing is not my thing. Quite the contrary!
The winter course continued more or less the same for the next days.
Some highlights of the talks were Prof. Sandiago Marco’s talk on computational discovery of volatile biomarker fingerprints, opportunities and risks, Dr Pawel Mochalski‘s talk on the sampling device of SNIFFPHONE, Dr Vera Ruzsanyi’s talk on IMS and its applications on breath analysis, and of course Prof. Chris Mayhew‘s talk on PTR-MS and its applications.
In total, I would say it was an interesting course where I met some very interesting people and learnt their field of work.
The highlights of these 5 days could be the beautiful scenery, some very interesting talks, the organizing of ciaspolata, where we had to wear some weird shoes that looked like rackets and walk around the snowy woods and of course the food! No matter where you go to Italy the food will always be amazeballs!
The drawbacks of this 5 day course could be:
The location! If one didn’t know ski was doomed!(i.e. me)
The organization. Even though most of the people I met were really nice and welcome, I need to say that the whole event lacked organization, as there were many essential things missing (e.g. name tags, coffee during the coffee breaks and of course punctuality on the schedule we were given!).
And of course for once more I realized that not all research is good, regardless the adding to knowledge part!
Until the next time
p.s. More photos were taken, but unfortunately they are too big for this site :/