10th International Symposium

The 10th International Symposium on Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence was arranged and hosted by Aldo Roda (Bologna University), a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Society for Bioluminescence & Chemiluminescence (ISBC). The Symposium was held from Friday, September 4 through Tuesday September 8, 1998 at the Aula Magna S.Lucia - Complex of S. Giovanni in Monte, University of Bologna, Italy. The Business Meeting of the ISBC, together with the election of Officers, was held on September 8, 1998.
It is now 20 years since the first symposium in this series was held in Brussels. This, the 10th Symposium attracted more than 200 delegates from every part of the world. The eleven scientific sessions covered the major bio- chemiluminescence topics, such as chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and applications in biomedical, environmental and industrial fields.

THE MARLENE DeLUCA PRIZE presented by E&G&G BERTOLD GmbH & Co KG Some ten years have now elapsed since this Prize was first given at the 5th Symposium, which was held in Florence. It is presented for the best presentation(s), lectures or poster, by a young worker(s), who had not reached 35 years of age at the beginning of the symposium. The following three prizewinners were chosen by a small committee, chaired by ISBC President, Professor Frank McCapra: Dr Jean-Francoise Rees (Belgium), Dr Vadim Viviani (Japan), and Dr Michael Winklmair (Germany). Dr Herick of EG&G Berthold presented the Prizes.

Oral presentations numbered 78 and included lectures and short contributions were delivered with active and stimulating discussions. In addition, 118 posters were presented with interesting verbal discussion dealing with all the main topics.

Session A was focused on the chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics of chemiluminescence (CL) and bioluminescence (BL). In particular, it included contributions on the development of new CL substrates and the elucidation of the mechanisms of CL reactions, and presentations on the structure and function of different luciferases and their reaction mechanisms.

Session B comprised a part on cellular luminescence and a part on radical and antioxidant assays.
Cellular luminescence has been used to study different pathological processes and the effect of drugs. CL tests have been proposed to evaluate the antioxidant activity of various substances, particularly with applications in the bio-medical field, and to assess radical production in biological systems.

Session C was devoted to the instrumentation for CL and BL and to ultrasensitive imaging. New instruments for light detection were presented and the critical aspects of light detection and instrument components were discussed.
Luminescent ultrasensitive imaging techniques were proposed: applications in the bio-medical field included in situ hybridization and immunocytochemical studies and the monitoring of pathological processes in live, intact animals.

Session D and F dealt with a wide range of topics concerning BL molecular biology. Applications of the luminescence reporter gene technology to monitor gene expression, using green fluorescent protein (GFP), aequorin and lucifrases, were presented. The use of bioluminescent reagents, including recombinant proteins, as tools in cell biology was also described.

Session E showed how luminescence could be used in education. Bioluminescence was proposed as a teaching tool for courses in biotechnology, microbiology and enzymology. Subsequently, an open education session was held to promote luminescence in science education among high school teachers and students. Session G on BL and CL biosensors included presentations on the use of genetically engineered luminescent bacteria as biosensors to monitor environmental pollutants, and the development of chemiluminescent immunosensors for multianalyte detection.

Session H concerned the environmental behaviour, functional and ecological aspects of bioluminescence. The mechanisms of communication and synchronies in fireflies were discussed, along with the hypothesis of a non-bioluminescent evolutionary origin of coelenterazine and the characteristics of the photophores of fishes which emit red light.

Session I dealt with the use of CL and BL in immunoassay and nucleic acid detection, by proposing new instrumentation, BL labels for immunoassays and gene detection, CL enzyme substrates, and a novel bioluminometric approach for DNA sequencing.

Session J on ATP-based assays and rapid microbiology included the following topics: a new principle for measuring ATP down to the attomole level, the measurement of free intracellular ATP by micro-injection of luciferin-luciferase into individual cells, and the use of ATP assays for determining the spatial distribution of microbes in cultural heritages. Session K began with the presentation of the latest developments in reporter gene detection methods based on the dioxetane type substrates, then the applications of sonoluminescence in tumor therapy were discussed. The therapeutic theme was continued with talks on radiosensitization in the treatment of lung cancer and on high throughput reporter assays in the context of drug discovery assays. Finally, clinical diagnostic applications of chemiluminescence were presented.

Despite the heterogeneity of the sessions and the historical non-scientific interest outside the symposium, the participation in the various sessions was satisfactory and most participants seemed highly interested.

Delegates and accompanying guests were given a very warm welcome by Professor Roda and his team at the Party they gave on the night before the Symposium started. The Sala Farnese - Palazzo d'Accursio was a fine venue and delegates renewed old acquaintances and made new friends.

Delegates and accompanying guests were treated to a concert in the Munipal Theater given by the "Corale G. Verdi" followed by the Gala Dinner held in the foyer of the theatre (September 5, 1998). The train trip to Ravenna (September 7, 1998) was also greatly appreciated by delegates and accompanying persons, giving them the opportunity to see the extraordinary historical mosaics there.On the return train journey everyone was able to socialize and receive the legendary Bolognese hospitality and food. Abbott Divisione Diagnostici very generously sponsored a dinner for speakers at the Giardino d'Inverno, a very elegant venue with frescos decorating the walls. Besides the excellent meal, the evening was noted for the first public presentation of the "Glow-Worm Song" by Felicitas Berthold. The words were composed by Felicitas & Fritz Berthold. Images and the words are available.

Accompanying guests (and some delegates) took advantage of the specially arranged tour to enjoy the cultural and heritage aspects of Bologna (September 5, 1999).

The proximity between exhibitors stands and coffee and lunch breaks area facilitated exchange of scientific and business information. The Local Organizing Committee would also like thank the sponsors and all those who contributed financially to the Symposium.

The speakers and poster authors were diligent in providing the camera-ready manuscripts of their presentations, thus facilitating the work of the Editors of the Symposium Proceedings and allowing the publication of the book within six months.

The feed-back from the participants was very positive in terms of organization, accommodation, food quality and social events, even if it is hard to reach "perfection" in Italy!! The Local Organizing Committee, students and volunteers worked very hard to guarantee a smoothly operating symposium and the highest quality of service and indeed they solved problems of many kinds for the delegates.

The President, the Co-President and all the Local Organizing Committee wish to thank all participants, sponsors and supporters, that made possible this Symposium and contributed to the growth of the International Society for Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence both in terms of scientific strength and social relationships, and look forward to seeing Members at the 11th Symposium to be held in Monterey, California in September 2000.