About the MSB Series

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Historical Overview

Originally established as the International Symposium on High Performance Capillary Electrophoresis (HPCE), the first event was held April 10 – 12, 1989 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA. The meeting was founded by Professor Barry Karger from Northeastern University, and sponsored by the Barnett Institute of Northeastern University, the Bay Area Chromatography Committee (BACC, predecessor of California Separation Science Society or CASSS), and chromatography instrument manufacturers. This first meeting featured oral and poster presentations that discussed the principles of separation in capillaries under high electrical fields; instrumentation development; and applications of HPCE, particularly in biotechnology. A summary of this meeting was published in Analytical Chemistry (Anal. Chem., 1989, 61, 413A–415A).

This symposium was introduced at the moment when capillary electrophoresis branched off from the HPLC community, giving the technology the necessary focus at a time when capillary electrophoresis instrumentation was first being commercialized by Applied Biosystems, Beckman (later Beckman-Coulter), and Hewlett-Packard (later Agilent Technologies). The symposium series was driven by the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) under its diligent chairman Barry Karger until 2000, followed by Frantisek Svec. Leading scientists in the CE field were James Jorgenson, Frans Everaerts, Stellan Hjertén, Shigeru Terabe, Ed Yeung, and Heinz Engelhardt. The series was organized world-wide by Prof. Karger untill 2000 and later by CASSS in the USA. In Europe and Asia, the meetings were organized by separate bodies.

The SAB changed the name of these meetings at HPCE 2004 in Salzburg to MicroScale Bioseparations (MSB), since the attendees’ interests expanded into the related techniques of micro- and nano-HPLC, microfluidic separations, and lab-on-a-chip applications while the fascination with pure CE slowly faded. The stylized logo was created at the same time, and captured the acronym MSB in a DNA helix motif given the prominent role that electrical driven microseparations have played in DNA sequencing and early completion of the Human Genome Project.

At MSB 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland, Beckman-Coulter established the prestigious Arnold O. Beckman Medal and Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievements in The Field of Electrodriven Separations Techniques, which has become an essential element of the series (see Arnold O. Beckman Award page).

Also, after the MSB 2012 symposium the SAB changed. Not just by including new members but especially by introducing new key concepts by which future meetings of the series will be organized (see Intent and Mission, MSB Essentials and MSB Core Format pages).The board also changed its name to “Strategic Program Committee” (SPC).

In consequence and in order to further broaden the scope of the series to a wider range of scientists, the SPC approved the acronym of MSB to refer to:

“Microscale Separations and Bioanalysis”

In 2016, that name was used the first time as the official conference name for MSB 2016 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, April 3-7, 2016.

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Intent and Mission of the Series

The MSB series of symposia intends to be the leading venue for advances in fundamentals and application of microscale separations in bioanalysis.

Our mission is to have MSB provide a forum for the discussion of fundamental and application-driven aspects of microscale separations and its application in bio-analysis at an international venue that assembles the thought-leaders from both the academic and industrial communities.
This symposium series is built upon a rich history of microscale separation science, and while formerly named HPCE to support the growing field of high performance capillary electrophoresis, the series has evolved to include all major microscale separation techniques including CE, nanoLC, microfluidics, mass spectrometry, CE-MS and Lab on a Chip devices independent whether pressure or electric field driven.  The program covers all aspects of microscale separations, mass spectrometry, hyphenated detection methods, microfluidics, fundamental aspects of micro/nanofluidics and applications related to systems biology, pharmaceutical sciences, biotechnology, clinical diagnostics, food and health, nanoparticles, industrial chemicals and advanced detection & instrumentation.

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Essentials of the MSB Symposium Series

The strategic planning committee of the MicroScale Separations and Bio-analysis symposium series has developed a seven-­point plan to integrate the essential attributes of electrical and pressure driven separations with the practice of coupling them with sample preparation and detection (mass spectrometry!) for practical application in bio-analysis:

  1. Discussion of unpublished work
    An environment is provided that helps protect unpublished work through a series of confidentiality measures to be abided by conference attendees, an approach used successfully by the Gordon Conferences.
  2. Fostering diversity while maintaining high quality
    The number of invited speakers is reduced, building most of the oral program (70%) from submitted abstracts. The abstracts will be comprehensive overviews of the scientific work, including data and figures. They will be scored by double-blind peer review, blind of title, name or affiliation for the session. This whole process is done with transparency, to encourage maximum participation.
  3. Encouraging vigorous scientific debate and discussion
    Presentations are limited to 2/3 of the allotted time for the of lecture, leaving 1/3 of the allotted time for discussion. This approach will be carried into the poster session that follows the presentations by short oral poster presentations.
  4. Committed and engaged session chairmen
    Who build the oral program for the session topic by proposing the keynote speaker, select contributed oral presentation (blind of title, name or affiliation of the author) from the submitted abstracts, who introduce the session topic to the delegates in a short-oral presentation, and who will pro-actively foster debate, engaging and challenging the audience to participate in the discussions.
  5. Selecting an inspiring location
    A secluded venue will be sought allowing an environment integrating science and leisure, creating an atmosphere that is conducive to the task. When possible, campus-like venues will be preferred to resort-type locations.
  6. Engaging industry partners
    A forum called Science Café is included in the program. This is a daily luncheon that provides the opportunity to hear about new applications, products and solutions by the organizations commercializing these products.
  7. Honoring outstanding contributions to our field
    The symposium includes the presentation of the “SCIEX Microscale Separations Innovation Medal Award”.

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SMSB Board of Directors (formerly MSB Strategic Program Committee)

Towards this intent and fulfillment of the mission, a group of internationally renowned scientists in microscale separations and bioanalysis have gathered and formed the Board of Directors of the Society for Microscale Separations and Bioanalysis (SMSB). It is their task to:


Members of the SMSB BOD as of 2020

Michael Breadmore (Australia)
Philip Britz-McKibbin (Canada)
Isabelle Kohler (Netherlands), Secretary & Webmaster
Jörg Peter Kutter (Denmark), Chair
Vince Remcho (United States)
Govert Somsen (Netherlands)
Myriam Taverna (France)
Karen Waldron (Canada), Treasurer
Stephen Weber (United States), Vice Chair

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Past MSB Venues & Symposium Chairs

The Symposium has been already held in >30 meetings in locations throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Conference Dates and Locations with the corresponding Chairpersons are listed in the table below:

Year Location Chairperson(s)
2019 Corvallis, OR, USA Vince Remcho, Karen Waldron
2018 Rio de Janeiro, BR Marina Tavares, Emmanuel Carillho
2017 Noordwijkerhout, NL Govert Somsen, Rawi Ramautar
2016 Niagara-at-the-Lake, CAN Philip Britz-McKibbin, Karen Waldron, Sergey Krylov
2015 Shanghai, PRC Amy Guo
2014 Pécs, HUN Ferenc Kilár, Attila Felinger, András Guttman
2013 Charlottesville, USA Jeff D Chapman, James P Landers
2012 Geneva, CH Franka Kalman, Gerard Rozing, Jean-Luc Veuthey
2012 Shanghai, PRC Rong Zeng
2011 San Diego, USA Annelise E. Barron
2010 Prague, CZ Frantisek Foret
2009 Boston, USA Jonathan V. Sweedler
2009 Dalian, PRC Hanfa Zou
2008 Berlin, DE Andreas Manz
2007 Vancouver, CA Robert Kennedy
2006 Amsterdam, NL Gerard Rozing
2005 New Orleans, USA Michael Ramsey
2005 Kobe, JAP Y. Baba, K. Otsuka
2004 Salzburg, AT Wolfgang Lindner
2003 San Diego, USA Aran Paulus, Andras Guttman
2002 Stockholm, SWE Douglas Westerlund
2001 Boston, USA Barry L. Karger, William S. Hancock
2000 Saarbrücken, DE Heinz Engelhardt
1999 Palm Springs, USA Edward S. Yeung
1998 Orlando, USA Barry L. Karger, S. Fanali
1997 Anaheim, USA William S. Hancock
1997 Kyoto, JAP Shigeru Terabe
1996 Orlando, USA Barry L.Karger
1995 Würzburg, DE Hans Engelhardt
1994 San Diego, USA Shigeru Terabe
1993 Orlando, USA Barry L. Karger
1992 Amsterdam, NL Frans Everaerts
1991 San Diego, USA James W. Jorgenson
1990 San Francisco, USA Barry L. Karger
1989 Boston, USA Barry L. Karger

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