The 3rd Aquaphotomics International Symposium Report

Jelena Muncan ,Yukari Kondo

The 3rd Aquaphotomics International Symposium was held from 2 to 6 December at the Westin Awaji Island Resort situated at a beautiful location of Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. This year’s Symposium theme – “Water – Exploring Water Molecular Systems in Nature” gathered researchers from all around world to present their findings and learn more about water’s incredible properties, and functions in various aqueous and biological systems.

More than 140 delegates from 20 countries during the course of five days had an opportunity to attend the bilingual open lecture, pre-conference workshop, listen to 36 keynote and invited lectures and see 28 poster presentations.

The Symposium was opened by its chair-person and founder of aquaphotomics prof. Dr Roumiana Tsenkova, who during a lecture open to all the public presented the main concepts, principles and contributions of aquaphotomics in not only the field of water science, but life science and technological applications that can stem from the utilization of the acquired knowledge. The lecture was followed by an aquaphotomics workshop which intended to help attendants navigate the complex world of chemometrics and data analysis used in aquaphotomics. Dr Dusan Kojic from Keyo University in Tokyo shared his approach for enhancing subtle differences in complex spectra of aqueous systems by the application of spectral component analysis. Dr Ali Gahkani, from Aunir, United Kingdom, this year’s winner of the Aquaphotomics shootout session at the at the International Diffuse Reflectance Conference (IDRC), in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, through an interactive presentation showed the way to drastically improve effectiveness of quantification and classification of the NIR spectra by applying the covariance weighting approach aimed at elimination of interferent signal. Dr.Med.Uni. Bernhard Pollner from Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria and Dr. Zoltan Kovacs, Associate Professor from Szent Istvan University, Hungary introduced the “aquap2” software package for R-project programming environment which they themselves developed specifically to be suited for the aquaphotomics data analysis. Dr. Federiko Marini, Associate Professor at Sapienza University of Rome and an expert in chemometrics shared his advices on which chemometric tools he found to be most useful for the aquaphotomics data analysis. The workshops were really well received, attracted numerous questions from the audience and we could only hope that the shared experience of the workshop instructors would contribute to better data analysis in aquaphotomics community as well as result in new publications and perhaps novel applications.

Rich Symposium program included many keynote and invited lectures with topics spanning from fundamental water research up to the various points of practical applications of aquaphotomics. The fundamental research covered interaction of light of all frequencies with water and findings that resulted from it.  The program was divided into sessions: X-ray spectroscopy of water, UV spectroscopy of water, THz spectroscopy of water, Chemometrics, The role of water in health, Biomedical applications, Polymer-water interaction and biocompatibility, and many others. Several keynotes speakers – Dr. Craig Shwartz (X-ray spectroscopy of water), Prof. Dr. Koichiro Tanaka (THz spectroscopy of water), Prof. Dr. Hiro-o Hamaguchi (Formation of “nano-ice” in cold water), Prof. Dr. Gerald Pollack (Exclusion zone water and its role in health), Prof. Dr. Masaru Tanaka (Role of water in biocompatibility), Prof. Dr. Yasui Masato (Aquaporins) and Dr. Michal Cifra (Bioelectrodynamics), Prof. Dr Xueguang Shao (Chemometrics) delivered really novel and exciting findings and provoked many questions from the
audience. The full list of speakers, their biographies and presentations can be found at the official conference website (https://conference.aquaphotomics.com/ ).

This year’s Symposium also made a significant step towards the future development of aquaphotomics not only as a scientific field, but also as an international organization. The efforts of the past few years finally came to fruition with the establishment of Aquaphotomics International Society (IAQPS). The Society is established with the aim to promote and facilitate integration of aquaphotomics knowledge into all areas of life sciences, thereby contributing to better understanding of water-light interaction and structure and functionalities of water species in aqueous and biological systems. During the 1st General Assembly officially, after the attendees were introduced to the organizational structure, vision and mission, by majority of the votes Prof. Dr. Roumiana Tsenkova was elected as its president, Univ.-Prof.Mag.Dr. Christian Huck and Prof. Dr. Masato Yasui were elected as vice-presidents and Prof. Dr. Shigeaki Morita as a treasurer, while Dr Everine van de Kraats will serve as a secretary of the Society. More than 15 officers in the Society Board will be in charge of European and Japanese liaison, as well as for development of various aspects of aquaphotomics research, technological development, promotion, education and others. Prof. Dr. Mutsuo Iwamoto, Prof. Dr. Yukihiro Ozaki, and Prof. Dr. Hiro-o Hamaguchi,  will serve as members of the The Advisory Board of the Society. Currently, the membership is free for all who are interested in aquaphotomics (https://www.aquaphotomics.com/). It is expected that Society will play pivotal role in the future development of aquaphotomics-based research and aquaphotomics-based technological application.

The best poster presenters were selected based on the largest number of votes from the delegates. The Poster Awarding Committee with three judges – Prof. Dr. Xuegang Shao from Nanking University, Univ.-Prof.Mag.Dr. Christian Huck from University of Innsbruck and Dr. Cristina Malegori from University of Genova had a difficult task of monitoring the voting. Among 28 posters displayed, three caught the most attention from the audience. The best posters from this year’s symposium were presented by Ms. Xiaoyu Cui from Nankai University in China (High dimensional chemometric algorithms for analyzing temperature dependent near infrared spectra), Prof. Dr. Angelina Kisselova, from Medical University in Sofia, Bulgaria (Pilot study of mouthwash Yume water) and Ms. Yuri Nakamura from Isol Technica, Japan (Use of the functional water for waterproofing on the highway concrete slab).

The Symposium also had a rich social program – the guests had an opportunity to visit the magnificent gardens of Westin Awaji Island Resort, during the Banquet they experienced the famous Tea ceremony and enjoyed marimba musical pieces and traditional Japanese music. During the final two days a tour of the Japanese sacred mountain Mt. Koya was organized, where guests visited several temple complexes and then afterwards, had a relaxing time at the Yunosato spa in Wakayama province. 

The Symposium was deemed a great success and a very inspirational time for all who attended.

第3回アクアフォトミクス国際シンポジウム

2018年12月2日から6日まで開催された第3回アクアフォトミクス国際シンポジウムには、19カ国から114人の参加者が集まりました。

今回のシンポジウムでは、「自然界における水分子システムの探求」(Exploring Water Molecular Systems in Nature)というテーマのもと、水の様々な特異性とその機能性の理解および生体・水溶液・食品など、水を有するものに対して水が持つ役割の理解をしようと努める世界中の研究者を集めることを目的としました。

その結果、10年前には小規模であったアクアフォトミクスに興味をもった研究者の会議が、大規模な国際的研究者グループへと発展し、アクアフォトミクス研究のアイデアも驚くほど進歩が見られました。

本シンポジウムは、5日間にわたる充実したプログラムとなりました。開催場所は、淡路島(兵庫県)にある淡路夢舞台国際会議場で、美しい自然に囲まれた素晴らしい環境でのシンポジウムとなりました。

シンポジウム初日は、アクアフォトミクスの創設者であるRoumiana Tsenkova教授(神戸大学農学研究科)による公開講座から始まりました。公開講義はアクアフォトミクスに興味のあるすべての人に対して、無料で行われました。参加者は、アクアフォトミクスという光のプリズムを通した最先端の水の研究について聴講し、大変満足した様子でした。

公開講演に続くワークショップは、最新のケモメトリックスツールの開発を紹介することを目的としたものでした。アクアフォトミクスのための独自の豊富な経験とデータ分析に関して、次の著名な5人の研究者によって行われたワークショップでは、活発な質疑応答も行われ、大変貴重なプログラムとなりました。

・ワークショップの講演

「A Poor Man’s Guide to AquaPhotomics: Analysis of Variance in Near-Infrared Spectra of Water」Dusan Kojic氏(慶応義塾大学)、「Removing interference signal from NIR spectra」Ali Gahkani氏(Aunir)、「Aquaphotomics multivariate analysis tools – aquap2」Zoltan Kovacs氏(Szent Istvan大学)とBernhard Pollner氏(インスブルック医科大学)、「Chemometric tools for aquaphotomics」Federico Marini氏(サピエンツァ大学)

12月3日~5日にかけては、36件の口頭発表と28件のポスター発表が行われました。

口頭発表では、アクアフォトミクスの基礎と応用に分けられ、基礎セッションでは、X線、UV、vis-NIR、IR、THz領域の電磁スペクトルの範囲についての発表がありました。特にXueguang Shao氏による「水のスペクトルから干渉を除去し、関連情報を抽出する方法の改善」は、大きな関心を集めました。

応用セッションは、水と光の相互作用に関する最新の進歩と刺激的な新しい発見についての発表となりました。その内容は、水と溶質の相互作用に関する最も基本的な研究から、食品や水質のモニタリングにおける課題、高分子化学、そして生体適合性における水の重要な役割まで、さまざまなトピックが取り上げられました。さらに生物医学科学の分野での応用と健康における水の役割について、新しい知見が紹介されました。

・基礎セッションの基調講演

「X-RAY AND UV-SPECTROSCOPY」Craig Schwartz氏(スタンフォード大学SLAC)、「CHEMOMETRICS」Xueguang Shao氏(南開大学)、「THZ SPECTROSCOPY」田中耕一郎氏(京都大学)

・応用セッションの基調講演

「Nano-ice” forms in cold water and causes the density maximum anomaly」浜口博雄氏(国立交通大学)「The fourth phase of water: a central role in health」Gerald Pollack氏(ワシントン大学)、「Design of soft-biomaterials based on the interfacial water structure for advanced medical devices」田中勝氏(九州大学)、「Water biology and medicine: roles of aquaporins (AQP)」安井正人氏(慶応義塾大学)、「Microwave and optical bioelectrodynamics at the nanoscale and molecular level」Michal Cifra氏(Institute of Photonics and Electronics)

本シンポジウムにおいては、2日目にアクアフォトミクス国際学会「Aquaphotomics International Society(IAQPS)」が設立されました。まず、Everine van de Kraats氏から国際アクアフォトミクス国際学会設立に関する提案がなされ、多数の参加者の賛同を得ました。その後、第一回国際アクアフォトミクス総会では、改めて以下の設立趣旨および目的が説明されました。

本学会の目的は、アクアフォトミクスの研究において、光と水の相互作用を理解し、生体や食品をはじめ、水を有する物質に対する多種多様な水の機能性の解明により、ライフサイエンスの幅広い分野にアクアフォトミクスを応用させ、学際的研究を発展させることです。さらに学会は、アクアフォトミクスの基礎研究および革新的技術の発展のための共通のプラットフォームの提供も目的としています。

その後、IAQPSの会長としてRoumiana Tsenkova氏、副会長に安井正人氏、Christian Huck氏、会計に森田成昭氏が選出され、その他の役員が紹介されました。

ポスター発表は、発表者による3分間のプレゼンテーションを行うとともに、シンポジウム開催の間、ホワイエに掲示されたポスター前において自身の研究の説明および質疑応答を行いました。最終日には、参加者の投票によるベストポスター賞が以下の3名に授与されました。

・Xiaoyu Cui氏(南開大学)「High dimensional chemometric algorithms for analyzing temperature dependent near infrared spectra」

・Angelina Kisselova氏(Medical University of Sofia)「Pilot study of mouthwash Yume water」

・中村ゆり氏(Isol Technica)「Use the functional water for waterproofing on the highway concrete slab」

その他、レセプションパーティー、バンケット、学習ツアーなど日本の伝統的な文化を楽しみながら、参加者たちが親睦を深めることができました。