General Background

Inspired by the NIH road map in NanoMedicine, the ESF launched its Scientific Forward Look on NanoMed in 2004. In addition, the EC in 2006 promoted a key initiative, the European Technology Platform (ETP) NanoMed, to unite research with industry partners. The ETP NanoMed, involving 150 member organizations and in its strategic research agenda one of the the topics stressed is nanodiagnostics using imaging. The ESF NanoMed meeting in 2007 recognized Atomic Force Microscopy as a key technology in the field. Nowadays, the AFM technique is reaching a relative maturity with dramatic improvements made in the last ten years. A strong European AFM community exists, as demonstrated from the AFM BioMed Barcelona meeting in 2007 (200 attendees / 23 states,, reflecting that Europe is at the origin of the AFM invention. Single-molecule AFM studies provide new insights into the supramolecular assembly of synthetic and biological molecules, which is critical for the understanding of biological functions at the nanoscale. While the scientific knowledge in AFM-based research grows exponentially, the technology transfer to NanoMedicine and Life Sciences (NanoMed&Bio) remains challenging. The main hindrance lies in the abrupt research boundary between physicists, who create and develop the technology, and biologists, who apply the technology to solving the problems in life sciences. To bridge the research gap between AFM developments and AFM applications in Nanomedicine and to maintain the European leadership in NanoMed&Bio, this COST Action aims to organize scientific and technological cooperation with experts of different backgrounds. This transdisciplinary Action relies on scientists from different fields such as physics, chemistry, mathematicians, biochemistry, biology and medicine, as well as those in more recently developed and developing fields such as genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and microscope design assembly of synthetic and biological molecules, which is critical for the understanding biological functions at the nanoscale A Trans-Domain COST Action is believed to provide a key strategic platform and community to bundle these research activities.

 The COST Action will provide the conditions required for facilitating personal interactions throughout Europe and for increasing collaborations in the AFM community, ranging from physicists to clinicians. Due to the strong interdisciplinary features of the Action, the participants will greatly benefit from the synergy of continuous exchange of experimental skills and research prospects.

 This Action will also provide a nurturing environment for participants to apply for European Programmes (within the Seventh Framework Programme), and for individual scientists to apply for Intra-European Fellowships or Initial Training Networks under the Marie Curie Action.