31 March 2016 14:59

More than 140 scientists are to converge on Lancaster University from all over the world for the first ever conference on biological oscillations from 10-14 April 2016.

Examples of biological oscillations include brain waves, heart rate, breathing and blood oxygenation.

Professor Aneta Stefanovska from the Nonlinear and Biomedical Physics Group in the Physics Department at Lancaster University is the Conference Chair.

She said: “Under discussion will be novel methods of measuring, analysing and understanding the role of biological oscillations in health and disease.

“There are immediate or potential applications to the diagnosis and assessment of cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart failure, and hypertension, for example, as well as to measurement of depth of anaesthesia.”

The International Conference on Biological Oscillations also includes the 9th ESGCO (European Study Group on Cardiovascular Oscillations) meeting.

Participants will include physicists, mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists, cardiovascular biologists, neuroscientists, big data analysts, information theorists, microvascular physiologists, clinicians, and experts in nonlinear dynamics.

With this broad range of expertise they hope to push forward in understanding the fundamental nature of biological oscillations and will explore possible uses of the new knowledge.

Professor Stefanovska said: “This field was started by the Rev. Stephen Hales in 1711, studying blood pressure oscillations in a horse. But his measurements were invasive and he could neither record nor analyse them. Another 300 years had to pass until the advent of computers and noninvasive sensors opened up the extraordinary opportunities that now lie before us.”

The main precursors of the present conference were the continuing series of ESGCO meetings, starting in Cardiff in 1998, and confined to the study of cardiovascular oscillations.

Professor Peter McClintock, one of the organisers, commented: “Our forthcoming conference is the 9th ESGCO, but it is also much more than that because it deals with biological oscillations in the round, not just with one kind. Hence we can start to address the mutual interactions recently demonstrated between brain oscillations and cardiovascular ones.”

Valentina Ticcinelli, a third year PhD student and Gemma Lancaster, Research Associate, both in Physics at Lancaster are members of the organising committee of the conference.

They said: “We are very excited about the forthcoming event and we expect a lively meeting that moves forward rapidly on all fronts associated with the measurement and analysis of biological oscillations. We feel privileged to be part of this emergent and promising field.”