Neutrons for Life Sciences

Under the slogan “Neutrons for Life Sciences”, this year’s MLZ Conference took place from 08 – 11 June 2021. More than 200 scientists from 24 countries registered for the event and contributed to a lively and diverse digital exchange on neutron research in biology, biophysics, pharmacology and medicine.

211 Expertinnen und Experten aus allen Bereichen der Lebenswissenschaften registrierten sich bei der digitalen MLZ Konferenz 2021, um sich zur Forschung mit Neutronen auszutauschen. © FRM II / TUM

Die Konferenz wurde zeitgleich auf twitter begleitet, was auf reges Interesse bei der Nutzergemeinschaft stieß. © FRM II / TUM


The importance of neutron research for life sciences is on the rise. Also, the number of users performing experiments related to biology, biophysics or medicine at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ) is growing steadily. This development was also reflected in the MLZ Conference 2021, which brought together numerous experts from all areas of the life sciences.

Proteins, membranes and the fight against virus diseases

In a total of 46 talks and 37 poster presentations, the scientists exchanged ideas in lively discussion sessions. In addition to research on proteins, biological processes, membranes and surfaces, the participants gained insight into neutron and complementary methods in biology. The international conference guests followed with interest how neutron research in the life sciences is developing, especially at the Russian neutron scattering facilities. The talks on drug design and virus control with recent examples from corona virus research, impressively demonstrated the importance of neutrons in answering highly relevant and topical questions.

Digital conference – high attendance

Due to the Corona pandemic, the MLZ Conference was held as a purely digital event. The direct personal contact between the scientists was thus missing. “However, the digital format made it possible for many international researchers to attend the conference in the first place,” says Dr. Andreas Ostermann, instrument scientist at MLZ and co-organizer of the event, pleased with the high number of participants. “The opportunity to meet casually during coffee breaks in a dedicated digital room served well for the exchange of scientific ideas, almost like a real coffee break,” adds Dr. Tobias Schrader, also an instrument scientist at the MLZ and co-organizer of the event. In fact, with 211 registrations and 83 submitted contributions, this year’s MLZ Conference was one of the best-attended meetings of neutron researchers to date, which is organized by MLZ with a different focus each year.

Interest for science in social media

Also on the social media channels of the MLZ (twitter and facebook) the lecture topics on neutron research in biology, physics and medicine met with lively interest. More than 4,000 people could be reached with the tweets about the MLZ Conference.


More information:

Detailed information on all topics and presentations of the MLZ Conference 2021 can be found on the official event page.