Workshop on Biological Effects of EMFs

Vth International nternational Workshop ON Biological Effects OF EMFs

Marko Markov, Workshop Program Director

The Vth International Workshop “Biological Effects of EMFs” took place at the resort Città del Mare, located about 20 miles east of Palermo, from September 28 to October 2. This meeting originated in 2000 as a “Millennium Workshop on Biological Effects of EMFs” and took place at the Greek Island of Crete. Since that, every other year this Workshop took place at different island in Mediterranean Sea: Rhodes, Kos, Crete, and now Sicily.

The resort offered wonderful environment at Terrasini Bay, as well as to visit the overcrowded city of Palermo. The “Barbershop orchestra” entertained participants during the cocktail and banquet parties. It is not well know that Sicily was for long time governed by Greeks. The participants had the opportunity to visit main attractions in Palermo and exceptional churches that maintained the symbiosis of Byzantine and Arab architecture and interior. This was an excellent symbolic act of transfer the site of the Workshops from Greek Islands to an Italian island. In addition, after only one-hour drive participants were able to visit Erice, site of the International Center Ettore Majorana.

The founder of this series, Prof. Panos Kostarakis had the pleasure to be assisted by a remarkable secretary, Ketty Apostolou. The Sicily meeting went under leadership of Prof. Antonio Lo Casto from University of Palermo. For the first time, the meeting was served by a professional organization, ASC- Palermo.

The Workshop was sponsored by the Local Government of Sicily, University of Palermo and a number of Italian and International organizations. Recognizing the importance of this meeting to bring together young scientists from the Mediterranean area, East Europe and Middle East, the BEMS for the forth time have provided a sponsorship to the Workshop. A number of BEMS members took part in the meeting, including former BEMS president, Frank Prato, as well as current BEMS board members A. Pakhomov and C. Ohkubo.

The scientific program included 14 plenary lectures presented by such recognized scientists as Dr. P. Vecchia, Dr. P. Kostarakis, Dr. M. Grandolfo, Dr. C. Ohkubo, Dr. D. Miklavcic, Dr. A. Pakhomov, Dr. R. Cadossi, Dr. M. Markov, Dr. A. Colbert, Dr. M. Israel, Dr. C. Magnani, Dr. F. Prato, Dr. C. Hazlewood, Dr. T. Kalkan. The plenary lectures covered a large spectrum of topics – from ICNIRP guidelines and standard of exposure to EMFs in different countries, to clinical application, to nanoporation. I would like specially to point the very exciting lecture of Prof. Panos Kostarakis who described with photos and short videos the history of the Workshop.

The platform and poster presentations were separated in 14 sessions for platform presentations and two poster sessions. Two series of parallel session took place: Biological/medical and Engineering/dosimetry gave the podium for 59 presentations. Due to large number of posters, for the first time two afternoons were secured for viewing 63 posters and this provided much better opportunity for discussions. The participant number was 200 scientists from 32 countries, including North America, Japan, Australia. Very large group of scientists came from Europe, including Italian scientists who used the opportunity to meet colleagues from abroad and to discuss their own research. I would like specially to emphasize the attendance of 10 scientists from Iran. A very compact group from The Netherlands used the Workshop to enter the field of bioelectromagnetics research. Following the tradition of this Workshop, Prof. Lo Casto offered free accommodation to 35 young scientists from countries with low monthly income.

I believe that this Workshop series that belongs to the people, not to countries or organization. I was pleased to see young people who presented papers at previous meetings as students, and now being team leaders. This fact only is enough to prove the importance of this meeting. It provides the opportunity for a low cost of participation and friendlier atmosphere than at large international meetings.

The journal The Environmentalist, published by Springer, recognized the importance of the Workshops with special issues focusing on biological effects of EMFs published in 2004 and 2007. This journal expects to publish another special issue on this workshops presentations in 2009.

The International Advisory Committee met twice to discuss the work done so far and the future of this Workshop series. Next meeting will take place in Turkey in 2010.