CRYO2018’s scientific program includes plenary sessions by five keynote speakers, a variety of symposia with invited speakers, and a large number of open submission sessions. 

Plenary sessions will last approximately one hour, with time for questions at the end. These sessions, spread over the first 3 days of the meeting will act as an introduction to key thematic areas and segue into similarly themed symposia and sessions.  

Breaking News – April 30, 2018
The following submitted abstract sessions have been confirmed. This list will be updated as further information becomes available. 

• From single cells to complex tissues, the power of plant cryopreservation
• Mechanisms and pathways to successful plant cryopreservation
• Advances in Thermal Medicine
• Endangered Specific Conservation
• Cryopreservation of Aquatic Organisms
• Cryoprotectants and Protocols that Control Ice Growth
• Comparative Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation 
• Comparative Oocyte Cryopreservation 
• Comparative Sperm Cryopreservation 
• Comparative Adult, Embryonic, Induced Stem Cell Cryopreservation for Regenerative Medicine
• Mathematical Modeling for Design of Tissue Cryopreservation Procedures
• New Technologies for Cryopreservation 


Symposia will last 90-120 minutes and include 4-6 invited speakers followed by a round table discussion/Q&A session. Symposia summaries and invited speakers’ biographies are being updated as further information becomes available. 

1) Role of the Aquaporins during Cryopreservation of Gametes, Embryos and Reproductive Tissues 
Chair: Teresa Mogas
 – Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Invited Speakers
Dr. Marc Yeste – University of Girona, Spain
Dr. Keisuke Edashige – Kochi University, Japan 
Dr. Adam Higgins – Oregon State University, USA

Nowadays, fertility preservation is an essential part of reproductive science that not only refers to gametes (sperm and oocytes) and embryos, but also to reproductive organs such as ovarian and testicular tissues. However, while cryopreservation is known to allow cells to be stored for long periods of time, cryoinjuries may compromise their integrity. Therefore, any step forward to increase cell cryotolerance is much appreciated. The permeability of plasma membrane to water and cryoprotectants is crucial during cryopreservation. The transport of water and cryoprotenctants across the plasma membrane takes place via simple diffusion through the lipid bilayer and facilitated diffusion through channel proteins. Whereas transport rates of water and cryoprotectants are low in simple diffusion, they are much higher in facilitated diffusion where aquaporin water channels are involved. Aquaporins, a family of highly conserved, integral transmembrane proteins, facilitate the transport of water and, in some cases, certain small uncharged solutes such as cryoprotectants. Aquaporins are crucial to prevent osmotic-induced damage, one of the major risks of cryopreservation protocols. For all these reasons, many efforts have been made to elucidate the relevance of aquaporins for the cryotolerance and differences in localization and function of aquaporins in oocytes, embryos, sperm and ovarian tissue have been already described. In this way, further research is required to address how these proteins exert that effect and to determine whether this knowledge may be used to improve cryopreservation protocols for gametes, embryos and ovarian and testicular tissues.

2) Cryobiotechnological Challenges for the ex situ Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources 
Chair: Daniel Ballesteros – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom

Invited Speakers
Dr. Daniel Ballesteros – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
Dr. Vanesa Cano – Spanish National Research Council, Spain
Dr. Valerie Pence – Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens,  USA
Dr. Elena Popova – Global Crop Diversity Trust, Germany
Dr. Randall Niedz – USDA-ARS, USA
Dr. Hugh Pritchard – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

Plant genetic resources are commonly preserved by the storage of dry seeds in seed banks. However, a large number of plants species cannot be included in these biobanks for their long-term storage, such as, for example, those with desiccation tolerant seeds with very short-lifespans, those with desiccation sensitive seeds, those with non-producing seeds, or those for which a particular genotype needs to be preserved. For these (exceptional) species, which are estimated to include two thirds of all plant species, cryopreservation and the technologies required for the precise propagation of the explants are needed. 

There are multiple institutions worldwide working on and cryopreserving a large variety of plant species, however, plant cryopreservation is not straight forward, and multiple cryobiotechnicological challenges exist (e.g. optimal selection of explants, differential response of tissues within an explant, oxidative stress, cryoprotection, in vitro growth) particularly in species from the tropics. 

This symposium will bring together researchers from around the globe who are studying plant cryobiotechnology, and will highlight current understanding, challenges of, and research on plant cryopreservation. 

3) Unmet Needs for Cryopreservation: Research and Drug Development 
Chair: Dr. Alyssa Ward –
Program Director, Organ Preservation Alliance, United States 

Invited Speakers
Gina Dunne Smith – International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine, USA

This symposium is presented in association with the Organ Preservation Alliance

High clinical trial failure rates make the development of new treatments a risky and expensive proposition (e.g., ~$2.6 billion in investment for every drug approved in the U.S.) and the inadequacy of models for human physiology has frequently been cited as a major driver of this problem. Similarly, numerous aspects of disease research are limited by the poor availability of viable human tissues for research. Today roughly 90% of research-grade organs in the U.S., as well as many research tissues, cannot be placed with labs before their preservation limits are exceeded. Cryopreservation advances hold promise to make viable, functional human tissues and whole organs available on-demand, greatly accelerating progress in biomedical research, reducing healthcare costs, and providing access to new treatments and cures for patients in need. 

This session will bring potential end users of cryopreservation technologies in the research and drug development space to discuss ways that the cryopreservation research community. 

4) Cryopreservation of Organs 
Chair: Dr. Ramon Risco –
University of Seville, Spain

Invited Speakers
Dr. Ramon Risco
University of Seville, Spain
Dr. Greg Fahy
21st Century Medicine, USA
Dr. Adam Higgins
Oregon State University, USA
Mr. Jedediah Lewis, J.D. –
President and CEO, Organ Preservation Alliance

This symposium is presented in association with the Organ Preservation Alliance

Summary available soon. 

5) Cryopreservation of Aquatic Organisms
Chair: Dr. Estefania Paredes –
University of Vigo, Spain 

Invited Speakers 
Dr. Estefania Paredes – 
University of Vigo, Spain
Dr. John Bischof – University of Minnesota, USA
Prof. Igor Katkov – 
V. I. Kulakov Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology, Moscow, Russian Federation
Dr. Jonathan Daly – University of Hawaii, USA
Prof. Tiantian Zhang –University of Bournemouth, UK

Cryopreservation of marine organisms and cells has blossomed in the last 40 years but there are still some barriers that remained uncrossed: when addressing algae, it is the cryopreservation of large diatoms, dinoflagellates or macroalgae; for marine invertebrates, the grand prize is the cryopreservation of oocytes; and in the case of fish, the cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos. Much information has been gathered in the last four decades on the peculiarities of developing cryopreservation protocols for aquatic organisms.  This symposium will revisit what has been achieved in the field thus far, in order to illustrate and discuss the steps that are now needed to keep moving forward with the aforementioned difficult tasks.

In this symposium speakers will present their research focused on freshwater but also oceanic organisms, bringing together researchers who are studying very different cells (from microalgae, to invertebrates to fish) with their specific challenges and pursuing different applications. Speakers will show results obtained with both a wide variety of technologies/tools from traditional cryopreservation methodology to novel techniques like vitrification with laser warming.

6) The Best Way to Avoid Ice Formation? Removing all Freezable Water – Lessons we can Learn from Anhydrobiotic Organisms
Chairs: Dr. Daniel Ballesteros – Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom and
Dr. Antonio Molina
 – Spanish National Research Council, Spain

Invited Speakers
Dr. Dirk Hincha – Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany
Dr. Anja Thalhammer – University of Potsdam, Germany 
Dr. Kikawada Takahiro – Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Research, Japan
Dr. Richard Cornette – Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Research, Japan
Dr. Joseph Saragusty – University of Teramo, Italy
Dr. Thomas Boothby – University of North Carolina, USA

Intracellular ice crystal formation and growth during cooling and rewarming is lethal for most cells, and is one of the limiting factors for life at sub-zero temperatures and cryopreservation. The absence of intracellular freezable water (with the permission of late Dr. Felix Franks*) is one of the easiest solutions to avoid ice formation, however most cells do not survive the desiccation needed to reach those low water contents. In fact, ice lethality is itself closely related to its ability to remove residual essential water molecules. However, in nature, diverse organisms (and their cells) tolerate the removal of large amounts of water, up to a point that cooling and living below zero is possible without ice formation. We can find these organisms among plant seeds and pollen, plant and bacterial spores, yeasts, nematodes, insects, and many others. A combination of the accumulation of sugars and proteins to protect cell organelles during drying and the acquisition of diverse repair mechanisms are characteristic in these desiccation tolerant organisms. What can we learn about them? Could we apply their natural technology to desiccation sensitive cells to decrease their sensitivity to the removal of water and hence reduce ice crystal formation? This symposium will bring together researchers who are studying anhydrobiosis in diverse organisms.  It will highlight current understanding of the genomics, proteomics and mechanisms for desiccation tolerance that could serve as a basis for the development of novel strategies to prevent intracellular ice formation when freezing. 

* “Unfrozen water, yes; un-freezable water, hardly; bound water, certainly not”. Cryo-Letters editorial note by Felix Franks (1986).

7) Tools and Technologies for Cryopreservation and Cryo-Research
Chairs: Zhiquan (Andy) Shu – Washington State University, USA and
Prof. Dayong Gao
 – University of Washington, USA

Invited Speakers
Dr. John Bischof – University of Minnesota, USA
Dr. Xiaoming “Shawn” He – Ohio State University, USA
Dr. Ramon Risco – University of Seville, Spain 
Dr. Lindong Weng – Harvard University, USA 
Prof. Dayong Gao – University of Washington, USA 

Cryobiology and cryopreservation is an interdisciplinary subject, which involve biology, physiology, physics, chemistry, engineering, etc.. As any other subject, the development of novel technologies and tools can benefit the cryobiology study and applications. When we look back to the history of cryobiology, each blooming period of this field was more or less related to the application of novel technologies or tools. From the groundbreaking advance in cryomicroscopy, Coulter Counter, to the current micro-/nano-technology and others, such novel techniques have enabled us to investigate the cell behaviours responding to cryopreservation and better understand the mechanisms of cryoinjury. Meanwhile, the emerging devices for cryopreservation, such as Mr. Frosty, cooling rate controlled freezer using passive or active cooling mechanisms, freeze-dryer, etc., have significantly facilitated the successful applications of cryopreservation in different fields. In this symposium, the speakers will talk about their research about the application or development of novel tools and technology for cryopreservation and cryoresearch, such as methods for the measurement of cellular biophysical properties for cryopreservation, application of microfluidics for cryobiology and cryomedicine, ultra-fast and uniform rewarming of cryopreserved tissues or organs with radio frequency and electromagnetive wave, development of novel devices for cryopreservation, and others.

8) Controlling Ice Formation and Growth – From Fundamentals to Applications in Biological Systems 
Chair: Dr. Robert Ben – University of Ottawa, Canada 

Invited Speakers
Dr. Robert Ben
– University of Ottawa, Canada
Prof. Igor Katkov – V. I. Kulakov Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology, Moscow, Russian Federation
Dr. Thomas Koop – Bielefeld University, Germany 
Dr. Ido Braslavsky – Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Dr. Takaaki Inada – Research Institute for Energy Conservation, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan
Dr. JM Fernandez – Spanish National Research Council, Spain

During the past forty years the field of cryobiology has seen tremendous advances in understanding how ice formation and growth affects biological systems.  Much of this early work focused on understanding how cells are affected by ice nucleation and ice growth during freezing and/or warming. In the recent decades, other work has clearly demonstrated there are biochemical effects associated with cryoinjury.  With these efforts, much information has been gained with respect to the physical and biochemical effects of cryopreservation. Despite this understanding, ice formation is unavoidable during freezing and/or thawing. While many novel strategies have been developed the cellular injury associated with cryopreservation is often decreased but not prevented. Thus, unique multidisciplinary approaches to mitigate the formation and subsequent growth of ice during freezing and thawing remains a fundamental issue. This symposium will bring together researchers who are studying or developing novel strategies to prevent ice formation and control the growth of nucleated ice crystals.  It will highlight current understanding of ice, ice nucleation, ice growth and novel strategies to prevent the undesired biological effects of ice during freezing.

9) Challenges in Cryobiology for Microorganisms
Chair: Dr. Andrea Gomez-Zavaglia – Center for Research and Development in Food Cryotechnology, Argentina

Invited Speakers
Dr. Andrea Gomez-Zavaglia – Center for Research and Development in Food Cryotechnology, Argentina
Dr. Peter Kilbride – Asymptote, UK
Dr. Julie Meneghel – Asymptote, UK
Dr. Francesca Randez-Gil – Spanish National Research Council, Spain

The increasing biotechnological importance of microorganisms from different genus and species highlights the requirement of appropriate preservation processes. Moreover, their stability when faced to adverse environments (low pH, temperatures, high salt concentrations, dehydration, among others) is a critical issue when considering industrial applications. During all these processes, different bacterial structures can be damaged, in particular, bacterial membranes. For these reasons, stabilizing microorganisms of industrial relevance is a great challenge, and the strategies to be implemented are dependent on the type of microorganism and on the conditions to which they are exposed. This symposium will bring together researchers with interests on the stabilization of different genus and species of microorganisms, as well as on the mechanisms involved on bacterial stability.

10) Cryobiology in Food Science and Technology 

Chair: Dr. Andrea Gomez-Zavaglia – Center for Research and Development in Food Cryotechnology, Argentina

Invited Speakers
Dr. Maria Cecilia Puppo – Center for Research and Development in Food Cryotechnology, Argentina
Dr. Antonio Molina – Spanish National Research Council, Spain
Dr. Antonio Prieto – Spanish National Research Council, Spain

The goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers concerned on the formulation of functional foods, offering solutions to technological issues involved in the elaboration of food products, including industrial management, economics of food industry. Issues like obtaining dehydrated food products and storage conditions will be specially addressed.