Progress in biological sciences has been driven by development in optical imaging. In the early days visualizing the structure of living cells lead to enormous insights. More recently the emphasis of optical imaging has shifted from structural to functional imaging, where very specific biological questions can be addressed at microscopic and, in some cases, nanoscopic scales. The importance of functional imaging has, of course, been recently recognized by the award of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the developments in Green Fluorescent Protein as a unique means to locate spatially many types of cellular process.
Functional imaging is a highly interdisciplinary area bringing together biologists, chemists, physicists and engineers. Our institute of Biophysics, Imaging and Optical Science has recently been established to bring together scientists in these disciplines and the present meeting is the inaugural conference representing this field.
We are fortunate to have attracted an extremely eminent range of speakers across many disciplines who will provide exciting visions of their own research which we expect to stimulate lively discussions leading to new research directions.