How the First Young Israeli Controlled Release Society (YICRS) Conference Was Established
My name is Assaf Zinger, and I am a Ph.D. student in Avi Schroeder’s lab at the Technion, Israel. I’d like to share with you the story of the first YICRS conference.
So, like any other good story, “Once upon a time in faraway place…” Actually, it was on July 24–25, 2015, at Tel Aviv University. I was sitting behind Dan Peer, president of the CRS Israeli Local Chapter, during a CRS-sponsored conference: “New Horizons in Nanomedicine.” After enjoying all the amazing lectures, one thing started to disturb me: the fact that not even one student asked a question! So, during the coffee break I spoke with three professors—Dan Peer, Avi Schroeder, and Roey Amir—and shared my thoughts with them. I wanted to get students involved. Luckily for me, they also agreed. The next step was to put together an amazing team of people to make my idea come to reality. Tsuf Croitoru, Michal Shevach, Zvi Yaari, Maya Bar-Zeev, and I became the organizing committee of the first YICRS Conference.
The purpose of the conference was to share and spread knowledge. We encouraged the participants to be involved, to ask questions during the lectures, and to mingle during the breaks. The conference drew 106 students from all over the country: Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Be’er Sheva. Before the conference we asked students to submit work they wanted to present, and out of many great candidates, we chose 24 excellent research topics to highlight.
We were glad to also have two plenary speakers: Alon Seri-Levy, the CEO of Sol-Gel Technologies, discussed how to turn controlled release technology into products, and Dan Peer (Tel Aviv University) shared with us his experience of working with a concept to a novel clinical modality. These tangible examples were extremely motivating and inspiring to many of the scientists in the room.
The conference was divided into four different sessions, covering RNA/ DNA delivery systems and imaging, controlled delivery systems and tissue engineering, nanoparticulate delivery systems, and targeted delivery systems.
Throughout the day we received fantastic feedback from the students, who said that the freedom of being able to ask questions to a peer without feeling embarrassed really helped them to learn. We were happy to see that some students even started collaboration ideas between universities, something that is crucial in our field of research. At the end of the day, five speakers were awarded for best presentations—which was hard to do because we had so many talented researchers and exciting ideas!
It was an amazing experience, and we are already looking forward to the second YICRS conference. n