Invited Speakers

Plenary Speaker – Prof Séamus Davis – University College Cork

Emeritus Professor of Physics, Cornell University (USA), Professor of Quantum Physics at University College Cork, and Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, UK.

Séamus Davis hails from Skibbereen, Co Cork. He received his B.Sc from University College Cork, Ireland in 1983 and his Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley, CA, USA in 1989. He was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California – Berkeley and a Faculty Physicist at Berkeley National Laboratory between 1993 and 2003. He became Professor of Physics at Cornell University, New York, in 2003 and a Senior Physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York in 2006. In 2007 he was appointed SUPA Distinguished Professor of Physics at St. Andrews University, Scotland, and in 2008 the J.G. White Distinguished Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University, USA. He has served as Director of the Center for Emergent Superconductivity for the US Department of Energy (2009-2014). In 2019 he became J.G. White Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, USA; Senior Fellow of Wadham College, University of Oxford, UK; Professor of Physics, University of Oxford, UK; and Professor of Quantum Physics, University College Cork, Ireland.

Davis’ active research interests are in the macroscopic quantum physics of emergent quantum matter including studies of superconductors, superfluids and supersolids; Kondo, Weyl and Hund metals; magnetic and Kondo topological condensates; spin & monopole liquids.

Davis’ physics research has been recognized by the Outstanding Performance Award of Berkeley National Lab. (2001), the Science and Technology Award of Brookhaven National Lab. (2013), the Fritz London Memorial Prize (2005), the H. Kamerlingh-Onnes Memorial Prize (2009), Science Foundation Ireland – Medal of Science (2016), Science Foundation Ireland Research Professorship (2019), O.V. Lounasmaa Memorial Prize (2020), and UK Royal Society Research Professorship (2020). Davis is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK), the American Physical Society (USA), the Max Planck Gesellschaft (Germany), the Royal Irish Academy (IE), the America Assoc. for Advancement of Science (USA), and of the US National Academy of Sciences (USA). In October 2022, Prof Davis became the first ever Irish recipient of the prestigious Buckley Physics Prize for his work in developing quantum microscopes. Awarded annually by the American Physical Society, the Oliver E Buckley Condensed Matter Prize is given to individuals who have made “outstanding theoretical or experimental contributions to condensed matter physics.

Dr. Shelly Conroy – Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Dr Shelly Conroy is a Royal Society University Research Fellow, specialising in in-situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). The Conroy group at Imperial design quantum and energy materials at the atomic scale using electron and atom probe microscopy techniques. Her group is part of the new cryo-microscopy facility for engineering and physical sciences at Imperial and the Royce Imperial ‘Atoms to Devices’ thin film growth facility.

Dr Conroy worked at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a permanent staff scientist before joining the University of Limerick as a Science Foundation Ireland Analog Devices Research Fellow (PI). Dr Conroy holds a PhD in AlN thin film growth for optoelectronic device applications and in-situ TEM from Tyndall National Institute and University College Cork Ireland.

Dr Conroy’s Royal Society grant ‘Improper Ferroelectric Domain Wall Engineering for Dynamic Electronics’ is focused on thin film growth of the ferroelectric/ferroelastic boracites and in-situ 4DSTEM strain analysis. The project is in collaboration with the National Center for Electron Microscopy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and SuperSTEM the EPSRC National Research Facility for Advanced Electron Microscopy. 

Dr. Michelle Itano – University of North Carolina, United States

Dr. Itano is a cellular biophysicist, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology and Director of the Neuroscience Microscopy Core at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where she develops and customizes state-of-the-art optical imaging and analysis applications for a wide range of scientific research. 

Dr. Itano received her doctorate degree from the UNC School of Medicine, did her postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University, and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at Carolina. 

As Director of the Neuroscience Microscopy Core at the UNC Neuroscience Center, she trains and consults with investigators to fully address their imaging needs. She has developed and applied advanced microscopy techniques, cell biological applications, and quantitative image analysis to uncover important relationships between proteins, non-coding RNAs, viral RNA genomes, and other building blocks of basic biology. Through her expertise, she helps scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill and the surrounding area make crucial discoveries about human health and disease. 

In 2019, she was selected to be a CZI Imaging Scientist, in recognition of her investment in facilitating collaborations between researchers, software and infrastructure engineers and computing specialists to design and disseminate efficient bioimaging pipelines. 

Prof. Bram Koster – Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands (A.J.) Bram Koster holds a Chair as full Professor on Ultrastructural and Molecular Imaging at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands ( His interests evolve around 2D and 3D  imaging methods using wide variety of electron microscopy techniques with the goal to learn about biological systems and their functioning. Recently, he focused his research on the combination of cryo electron tomography (ET) workflows with machine-learning automation approaches for in situ structural cell biology applications.  

In his presentation methodological aspects of two types of 3D electron microscopy will be discussed, both applied in studies of corona virus replication organelles (Wollf et al., Science, 2020).  He will focus on the cryo electron tomography workflow that he applied on cryo-lamella that was done  in close collaboration with Dr. Montse Barcena of the LUMC and will highlight current developments in the field. Furthermore, he will put in perspective the 3D  volume-imaging results on resin-embedded samples with serial block face obtained in earlier studies. 

Prof. Deb Kelly – Pennsylvania State University, United States

Prof. Deb Kelly completed her PhD in Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University and her post-doctoral training in Structural Biology at Harvard Medical School. During these pursuits, she developed technical breakthroughs in the field of cryo-Electron Microscopy (EM) that are now also being used by the materials research community. As interest in high-resolution imaging has skyrocketed in recent years, the Kelly team has been on the leading-edge of adapting these tools for biomedical applications involving human viruses and cancer. Dr. Kelly is currently a professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, where she holds the Lloyd and Dottie Foehr Huck Chair in Molecular Biophysics and directs the Center for Structural Oncology (CSO). The CSO aims to combats molecular culprits of human disease by revealing their hidden vulnerabilities. 

Dr. Donald Evans – University of Augsburg, Germany

Funded by the German research foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) Don currently leads the scanning probe microscopy (SPM) team in the Center for Electronic Correlations and Magnetism (experimental physics V) at the University of Augsburg, Germany. His background is in SPM techniques on advanced functional materials, starting with his PhD at Queen’s University Belfast where he provided the first direct observation of magnetoelectric coupling, at room temperature, in a single crystal multiferroic. During postdoctoral positions at the University of Cambridge and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, he expanded this research to multi-order parameter systems in general, focusing on how such multi-order parameter traits are manifested in microstructure like domain walls. This work has been published in a range of high-impact journals and is enthusiastically disseminated at conferences around the world. The team’s current research focus builds on Don’s holistic background to use cryogenic SPM techniques to map the local electronic and magnetic properties of quantum systems, such as Mott-Insulators, Kagome magnets, and high-temperature superconductors. 

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