In persistent times of crisis - such as the worldwide spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) - the "5th Bioinspired Materials 2020" was briefly on the brink of collapse. Due to increasing travel restrictions and cancellations by various participants as well as the ultimate closure of the Irsee Monastery as ordered by by the Bavarian government, DGM was forced to look for an alternative solution. A concept of a web-based conference was quickly developed, whereby not only a large number of participants located outside Germany could (actively) participate.
"Our constant approach was the installation of a platform that guarantees an ongoing transfer of knowledge and insights", explains Dr.-Ing. Frank O.R. Fischer, DGM Managing Director. "The planning and ultimately the joint implementation of the conference of our team with the participants was absolutely groundbreaking. The pioneering work, both scientifically and technically, has laid a foundation for us to being able to offer the upcoming events as webinars.“
The conference, chaired by Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel (University of Bayreuth) and his deputy Prof. Dr. Cordt Zollfrank (Technical University of Munich), was divided into thematically coordinated blocks and featured highlights with an international flair.
Colour Engineering: From Nature to Applications
Prof. Dr. Silvia Vignolini (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Materials Mechanics for Impulsive Movement
Prof. Alfred J. Crosby (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA)
Synthetic building blocks to direct cells
Prof. Dr. Laura De Laporte (DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials, Germany)
Entangled Microgels for 3D Bioprinting Applications
Prof. Dr. Marcy Zenobi-Wong (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Switzerland)
Designing new Bioinspired 3D Hydrogels for Tissue Regenration
Dr. Lihi Adler-Abramovich (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
Laser-Based High Resolution 3D Printing for Biomedical Applications
Prof. Dr. Aleksandr Ovsianikov (Technische Universität Wien, Austria)
"The conference has provided a great forum for scientists from all over the world to exchange ideas and discuss ways to advance bio-inspired progress alltogether," states Alfred J. Crosby of UMass (USA). "It was an honor to contribute to this special event as a plenary speaker."
A particular (technical) challenge was the realisation of the "Special Poster Session: Biofabrication" scheduled for the second day of the conference. A total of 15 contributions were presented, some of which the speakers had adapted from their original poster size to screen format within a short preparation time.
During the entire duration of the "5th Bioinspired Materials 2020", an online discussion board installed especially for this purpose was available to the participants for constructive exchange and active networking beyond the lectures and presentations. This measure met with great approval from all participants and, apart from the official programme, formed a dynamic platform for the transfer of scientific knowledge.
The conference management and the German Materials Society would like to thank everybody involved for their participation in the first-ever DGM conference which was fully presented on the Internet. With its successful execution, this event has made an elementary contribution to scientific exchange in times of crisis and will thus be a shining example for many subsequent events.
The sixth edition of "Bioinspired Materials" will take place in 2022 - the exact time and place of the event will be communicated in due course.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel (Chairman, University of Bayreuth)
Prof. Dr. Cordt Zollfrank (Deputy Chairman, Technical University Munich)