Experiences at EANM'20 - by 3 ESRs
by Laura dal Toso, Mahmood Nazari, and Alberto Villagran Asiares
“The EANM Annual Congress is the most valuable Nuclear Medicine Meeting worldwide. Each year, nearly 7,000 participants and 180 companies use the possibility to discuss the newest trends and findings in the field of Nuclear Medicine.”
In 2020, EANM has been held virtually to give the chance to everyone worldwide to participate, especially to those not being allowed to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the entrance hall there were areas dedicated to the industry exhibitions, to the scientific program and to a helpdesk. In total, more than 150 sessions were included in the EANM program, with many parallel streams taking place each day. Three days were dedicated to mid-conference symposia, five days to the main conference. Most sessions in the scientific program were composed of pre-recorded presentations, which were streamed online at the scheduled time. It was easy to navigate the website and to save the relevant sessions in the personal program. Some highlights were published every day to give an overview of the upcoming sessions, while showing to the attendees some nice views of the city of Vienna.
Many members of the HYBRID consortium had the privilege of presenting oral or poster presentations at the conference. The PIs participated with presentations covering a broad spectrum of topics, from the clinical applications of dynamic PET imaging to the technical challenges of radiomics. The ESRs participated with 10 presentations, in which we discussed how we have successfully applied artificial intelligence, radiomics and image preprocessing techniques to different medical imaging modalities like SPECT, PET/CT and PET/MR and to different organs. With our work, we addressed different problems such as motion correction, image enhancement, therapy planning and cancer diagnosis and staging.
A great advantage of this virtual event was that after the live streams it was possible to access the material on demand. This allowed the participants located in different parts of the world to watch the presentations at different times. This feature also allowed the attendees to have access to presentations that were broadcast in parallel streams.
The conference begun with some technical issues (some channels were offline), which were rapidly solved. The helpdesk was very helpful and was promptly replying to any query. The downside of this online event was that the audio quality of some presentations was not good, so it was not always easy to understand what the presenters were saying. The main drawback of this virtual event was that there was no Q&A session, so the interaction between attendees during the talks was very limited and we did not receive any feedback. To partially overcome the lack of interaction, the organizers dedicated a specific area of the conference to interactive games and activities.
In conclusion, this year EANM was very inclusive and many people had the chance to attend the virtual event. EANM was a good opportunity for us to have an overview of the recent advances in the medical imaging field, with a focus on the clinical applications. We had the chance to present our work and to show the results obtained in our collaborations. We are looking forward to the next EANM edition, where we hope we will see each other in person again.