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Vol. 27 No. 3
May-June 2005

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/symposia

Polymer Networks 2004

by Ferenc Horkay

The Polymer Networks 2004 Conference (17th Polymer Networks Meeting) was held in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, from 15–19 August 2004. The conference was organized under the auspices of IUPAC by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Polymer Networks Group.

The conference chairs were Dr. Eric Amis (NIST) and Dr. Ferenc Horkay (NIH). Financial support was obtained from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIST, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

The conference is part of a series of biennial international meetings that began in Strasbourg, France, in 1975. The Polymer Networks Conference series has developed through the years to become a unique forum for the discussion of all topics relevant to the formation, structure, properties, and applications of synthetic and biological networks and gels. The theme for the Polymer Networks 2004 Conference was “Research of Gelation Phenomena and Properties of Synthetic and Biopolymer Gels.” The most recent advances from eight topical categories were presented and discussed:

  • Phase Transition in Synthetic and Biopolymer Gels
  • Associating/Self-Assembly Systems
  • Polyelectrolytes and Intelligent Gels
  • Controlled Synthesis of Networks
  • Tissue Engineering and Hydrogel Scaffolds
  • Nano-Particles in Diagnostics and Therapeutics
  • Gene and Drug Delivery
  • Simulation and Modeling of Polymer Networks

The scientific program featured 24 invited lectures, 72 contributed talks, and 92 poster contributions. The invited lectures (complete list available at
<www.polymer.nichd.nih.gov>) were delivered by the following individuals:

  • Kristi Anseth (University of Colorado)
  • Peter Basser (NIH)
  • Frank Bates (University of Minnesota)
  • Ben Chu (State University of New York, Stony Brook)
  • Edmund DiMarzio (NIST, University of Maryland)
  • Jack Douglas (NIST)
  • Erik Geissler (University of Grenoble)
  • Alan Grodzinsky (MIT)
  • Gregory B. McKenna (Texas Tech University)
  • Murugappan Muthukumar (University of Massachusetts)
  • Ralph Nossal (NIH)
  • Adrian Parsegian (NIH)
  • Costas Patrickios (University of Cyprus)
  • Buddy Ratner (University of Washington)
  • Simon Ross-Murphy (King’s College)
  • Ron Siegel (University of Minnesota)
  • Rocky Tuan (NIAMS, NIH)
  • Julius Vancso (University of Twente)
  • Pedro Verdugo (University of Washington)
  • Newell Washburn (NIST)
  • Miklos Zrinyi (University of Budapest)

Professor Robert F.T. Stepto (UMIST, Manchester, UK), the official IUPAC representative, gave an excellent lecture about the IUPAC organization.

Overall, the conference was a major success, with over 300 attendees and twice the number of paper submissions as in earlier years. The attendees represented 26 different countries spanning five different continents. Contributed talks were held in two parallel sessions. The posters were on display for the duration of the conference, and extended lunch breaks and a designated poster session allowed ample opportunity for discussion of them. Both IUPAC and the Polymer Networks Group gave poster awards for best student presentations. The IUPAC Poster Prizes were awarded to Ashish Batra (Cornell University) and Samir A. Shah (Wake Forest University).

The conference succeeded in maintaining a very high scientific standard and providing an interdisciplinary forum for physical scientists, engineers, biologists, and clinicians to meet and discuss their work, exchange ideas, and assess the latest developments in this rapidly expanding field of science.
A selection of the papers from the conference will be published in Macromolecular Symposia. The next meeting in the series, Polymer Networks 2006, will be held in Sheffield, England, UK.

Ferenc Horkay <horkay@helix.nih.gov> is a researcher in the Section on Tissue Biophysics and Biomimetics at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Horkay was one of the organizers of Polymer Networks 2004.


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