Reflections from Hanoi & the 14th Conference of the Asian Crystallographic Association

Last December, I had the good fortune to travel to Hanoi for the annual meeting of the Asian Crystallographic Association (AsCA).  I met many student researchers and enjoyed hearing about their work.  The CCDC sponsored prizes for the best student posters.  After the meeting, I caught up again with two of the winners and asked them to send along a summary of their experiences of the meeting.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from students who are so enthusiastic about crystallography, structural chemistry, and presenting their work at scientific meetings.  I share their impressions of AsCA2016 with you here...

From Archana K M, Research Scholar at “The Functional Nanomaterials Group”, Material Science Division of Poornaprajna Institute of Scientific Research, Bangalore, India.

My research mostly focuses on Crystal structure analysis of functional oxide nanomaterials for photoluminescent and theranostic applications. I am in my second year PhD for which I synthesize nanomaterials and characterize them via various characterization techniques such as, p-XRD, Raman, FTIR, UV-DRS, SEM, TEM, Zeta potential and more interestingly, their bio-compatibility. Precise crystal structure analyses of these materials are carried out using Synchrotron and Neutron diffraction data to get more accurate crystallographic data such as bond angle and bond distances i.e., local environment of the luminescent ion.  Since my area of research mainly focuses on luminescent materials and their crystal structure analysis, I do prefer to attend crystallography conferences.  When I was searching for such conferences I came across AsCA2016, I am very fortunate to present my work in AsCA2016.

I am very grateful to the AsCA2016 committee for my abstract acceptance and for the travel support given to me to come across such a fruitful crystallography conference. In this context, AsCA2016 covered diverse aspects of crystallographic research ranging from materials to life sciences utilizing several advanced techniques. It is more beneficial to my research by exposing me to these cutting-edge areas. I strongly believed that the discussion of my work with eminent speakers and researchers has given me more scientific direction to stretch my research towards these fields.

My special thanks to CCDC for recognizing my work. I attended few National and International conference somewhere else also but as per my experiences AsCA2016 is the best conference so far I attended; I convey my heartfelt thanks to all whose enriched my skills and strengthened my knowledge in the area of crystallography.

It’s my immense pleasure to share our group experience and happiness with you.  It was a pleasant stay at Hanoi, which is a lovely place and I was greatly inspired by their humble nature.

Archana K.M. in her lab at Poornaprajna Institute of Scientific Research, Bangalore, India

From Daiki Umeda, third-year undergraduate student in the Department of Physical Chemistry, Hoshi University, Japan.

When I came for the first time to my current laboratory, I was particularly interested in one of the research topics within our laboratory, which is pharmaceutical crystals. However, since there is no crystallographer in our group, my professor (Professor Etsuo Yonemochi) decided to make a collaboration from crystallography research group in Tokyo Institute of Technology (Professor Hidehiro Uekusa).

During my experiments, one doctoral student from Uekusa group helps and supervises me in performing experiments. He also assists me to make a discussion about the project I am working on now. I am really interested working in the pharmaceutical crystal field because it can provide a better insight to understanding the physicochemical properties of drug materials. In mid-July, my supervisors asked me to join the AsCA2016 meeting which held in Hanoi, Vietnam. After discussing with my parents, I decided to attend this conference to get a new experience. I am the only student from my university to join this conference. However, one doctoral student from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Mr. Okky Dwichandra Putra, accompanied me during this trip.

AsCA2016 was special conference as well as a special trip for me. It was the first international conference I attended and it was also my first journey abroad. Before arriving in Hanoi, I needed to transfer in Seoul. During my transit time in Incheon, I used this time to enjoy Seoul and practice my presentation. As a third-year student, I was so nervous to speak in English because we rarely used English for communication in Japan. But I was determined to try my best to present my research. Finally, my presentation time was decided. I presented my poster on December 6th 2016. During my presentation, I met Suzanna Ward and Dr. Amy Sarjeant from CCDC and we had a short discussion at the time. I also met some big professors in the field of crystallography, such as Professor Ohashi, Professor Desiraju, and Professor Friscic, which many of their papers I have read before. Moreover, Professor Friscic from McGill University gave me a key chain from Crystal Growth and Design journal.

Since my goal was mostly to get experience, I did not expect that I would get an award at this conference. However, during the dinner, I was so surprised that my name was mentioned by Professor Ian Willams from HKUST. It was such an honor for me to receive the poster prize award from CCDC. I am also deeply moved be elected as one of the best posters among many interesting posters. My poster talked about the preparation, characterization and physicochemical properties of pharmaceutical cocrystals. In this occasion, I used an aldose reductase inhibitor of epalerstat as a model compound. I am also looking forward to getting our work to be published in the very near future.

Other than conference, I also tried to pack my schedule to enjoy Vietnam. Overall, I really like the weather in Vietnam because it is warmer and more humid than Japan. So this trip also can be considered as my hideaway trip from cold winter in Japan. The food was also delicious, cheap, and spicy.

Daiki Umeda receives his poster prize at the AsCA Awards Banquet.