The 30th International Symposium on MicroScale Bioseparations (MSB2014) took place in Pécs, Hungary, April 27 - May 1. The meeting was organized by Prof. Ferenc Kilár, who was the symposium chairman together with Profs. Attila Fellinger and András Guttman as co-chairmen under the auspices of the University of Pécs. The MSB symposium traditionally focuses on fundamental aspects of separations on the microscale or down to nanoscale. The scientific areas of the symposium cover the application of electrically driven, microscale separations for (bio)analytical  measurements  in  life  science  research,  (bio)pharmaceuticals  development,  forensics, toxicology,  doping  analyses,  food  safety  and  authenticity  and  keeping  our  environment  clean  and sustainable. See the symposium website for more information.

 The symposium venue was the Regional Library and Center for Learning in Pécs which was very well suited for the meeting. About 180 attendees were present at the symposium who listened to about 60 orals and reviewed close to 80 posters. The oral program was completed with Science Cafés by Agilent Technologies on Monday and Sciex Separations (formerly Beckman-Coulter!) on Tuesday during lunch. On the poster floor a small exhibition was arranged where Sciex Separations and Edaq presented their products. Workshops on mass spectrometry and microfluidic opened the symposium on Sunday. Monday morning opened with the Arnold O. Beckman Medal and Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievements in the Field of Electrodriven Separation Techniques lecture by the awardee Prof. Barry Karger. Other plenary lecturers were Profs. Mary Wirth, Takehiko Kitamori, John Yates, Jean-Louis Vivoy, György Marko-Varga and Jonas Bergguist.

Apart from contributing to the Agilent Science Café, (you will find my talk in the menu "Publications" under "My Orals", see the remark below).  I was responsibile for arranging the selection of posters the Best Award sponsored by Thermo Scientific. The results of the review can be found in a short PDF report in the menu "Publications" under "My Reports" (mind that you need to be registered to have access to this menu. Register via "Read this first" in the Home menu).

The Strategic Planning Committee of the MSB series has been reshaping the symposium format to make it interesting for the broad community in this field. Elements of the MSB2013 symposium have been propagated in the 2014 issue and will be in forthcoming like:

  • by having 70% of the symposium’s papers populated from submitted abstracts. A double blind review of submitted abstracts was used to ensure diversity. In addition, to maintain quality and novelty an extended two-page abstract is required. Reviewer scores provide a rank for selection for oral presentation.
  • by having expanded discussion - enforcing the allocation of 1/3 of the time of a session slot for discussion through rigorous time management. Session chairs are responsible to stimulate discussion supported by thought leaders in the session topic.
  • by having session chairs a decisive role in shaping their session. They are responsible to invite a scientist for the keynote presentation opening their particular session and for review and filling the session with contributed submissions for oral presentation (double blind!).
  • by continue to include the Arnold O. Beckman Medal for “Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Electro-driven Separation Science” honoring contributions of a scientist to the MSB symposium main motif.

These goals were well achieved in MSB2014 and will provide a basis for rejuvenate the MSB symposium series. E.g. at MSB2015 which will move to Shanghai in approx. the same period.

On the scientific part I noticed that CE and especially CE-MS are becoming more and more vibrant again. E.g. Otsuka and Schappler described approaches in which the sheath solvent that is used in CE-MS coupling actively influences the chemistry of the CE separation or of the ionization process (by supercharging of proteins by additives in the sheath solvent) in addition to providing a stable and robust spray providing new pathways for improving sensitivity of CE-MS with a triple tube sprayer IF.


Ferenc, Attila and András for a job very well done. We will keep MSB in Pécs in very good remembrance.


The organizers have posted a large amount of pictures on the symposium home page at . One will need time to view them all.