Exhalomics Circle: solving the puzzle together
Establishing breath analysis as a non-invasive diagnostic tool in everyday clinical practice is a multi-disciplinary endeavor. Each of the fourteen research groups within Zurich Exhalomics contributes individual puzzle pieces—technologies, methods of analysis, insights from clinical trials, and more—to work toward this common vision. Putting together the pieces requires a common language, mutual exchange of knowledge, and teamwork.
As an interaction platform for doctoral students, postdocs, and employees from the different host groups, the Exhalomics Circle was launched in March 2021. Through its bottom-up approach, the purpose of the Exhalomics Circle is to strengthen our Exhalomics community, facilitate collaboration, and support each other in their work.
In our first get-togethers, we gained insights into the approaches and tools of the various groups by pitches, and started discussions on common challenges in smaller groups. Our own Gather Town, including a secret door to an underground after-work bar, served as a virtual meeting space in the middle of the pandemic. With a barbecue in summer and a visit to a Christmas market, we rounded off the first year with two in-person meetings. Not even the light rain during both occasions could stop us from exchanging our ideas.
To stimulate the contact with companies and neighboring institutions, this year's program includes, besides scientific seminars, two new elements. Recently, an excursion to the Gas Analytics Lab at METAS, the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, provided valuable inputs on the generation and quantification of SI-traceable reference gases. As a next program point, we will gain first-hand insights into the start-up world of breath analysis. In a small setting, we will discuss with two start-ups about their work and experiences in building a company.
How the Exhalomics Circle will evolve in the future remains to be seen. We are still exploring various formats to bring together our experts with a diverse set of academic backgrounds, coming from different institutions and locations. Clearly, the ideal setting should get as many members of Zurich Exhalomics involved as possible, and it should stimulate interactions across their fields of interest. In this way, the platform might not only assist in inserting the puzzle pieces, but it could also spark out-of-the-box ideas for creating entirely new pieces.