Winter BEMS Board Meeting Held in Zurich

Members of the BEMS Board of Directors and officials from the European BioElectromagnetics Association (EBEA) met in Zurich February 5-7, 2009.

The meeting coordination was flawlessly done by the recently appointed scientific coordinator at the Foundation for Research on Information Technologies in Society (IT’IS), Iris Szankowski, in conjunction with ASI, Inc.

The meeting on February 5th focused on the details and budget of the upcoming BioEM 2009 Joint Meeting. Attendees included the Executive Boards of each society.

On February 6th, members of both societies jointly met at the IT’IS, hosted by BEMS President and IT’IS Director, Niels Kuster. IT’IS was established in 1999 as a nonprofit research spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule or ETH). Key area of interest at the foundation are electromagnetic sensor technologies, computational electromagnetics, dosimetry, basic research related to health risks evaluations, MR safety of implants, health support systems, and the newest activities in computational physics for biology, physiology and medicine including cancer treatments, blood brain barrier modeling, etc.

The meeting began with two parallel brainstorming sessions on the joint futures of the BEMS and EBEA societies. At the conclusion of these sessions, the meeting progressed to a tour of the research facilities at the foundation. Presentations were made by:

Ezra Neufeld described the foundation’s work in computational physics for biology, physiology and medicine focusing on tissue and vascular simulations and studies of the use of hyperthermia to create preferential necrosis for tumor cells. Work is underway to get a better deposition of electromagnetic energy where it is needed rather than in tissues with better conductivity. This includes the ability to reoptimize the field profiles using CT/MR based patient models including feedback from the patient. Neufeld also noted the Virtual Family computational models developed at IT’IS in conjunction with FDA for scientific research that have become familiar to those attending BEMS annual meetings.

Fin Bomholt, of Schmid & Partner Engineering AG (SPEAG), a major sponsor of the research at IT’IS, demonstrated the latest time-domain sensor technologies.

Manuel Murbach provided an overview of the foundation’s specialized exposure setting ranging in size from small in vitro coils to large enclosures suitable for rodent and mammal exposure.

Myles Capstick demonstrated the largest of these exposure chambers which includes a new approach for stirring the signal reflections to create a (time averaged) homogeneous exposure (time averaged) of all animals.

Sven Kuhn described testing underway related to MRI safety of implants. By better understanding how these devices perform under MRI exposure, implants can be designed such that they will not cause internal RF burns during standard MRI scans or fail due to electromagnetic inference.

Sven Kuhn (far right) demonstrates testing equipment to Board members (L to R) Andrei Pahkomov, Ewa Czerska, and Indira Chaterjee.

Members of both societies then rode Europe’s steepest normal gauge adhesion (not cable) railway to Uetliberg, a mountain just outside of Zurich, to bring together the results of the earlier brainstorming sessions. Following this, they enjoyed some of the fondue for which Switzerland is appropriately famous.

Society presidents Niels Kuster (BEMS) and Carmela Marino (EBEA) join Gloria Parsley, BioEM2009 Meeting Organizer, Dariusz Leszczynski, BioEM2009 Co-Chair, Ewa Czerska, BEMS Past President, and Lynn Plitt, BEMS.

Minutes of the February 7th Board of Directors meeting will be published in a later issue of the newsletter.