Weekly Status Update #20: VCBM

Wow, twenty weeks of the weekly status update already. Not bad! This week featuring: VCBM preparations, VCBM beginnings, VCBM dinner, VCBM social events and a VCBM presentation:

  • The week started out with preparing my presentation of Berend Klein Haneveld’s master thesis work RegistrationShop for the VCBM (Visual Computing in Biology and Medicine) conference in Vienna, Austria. I am apparently the worst at listening to my own advice, because I still spent a lot of time during the conference stressing out about my unfinished slides and the lack of rehearsing the finished presentation at least once mentally. Bad Noeska! At least I did choose the story approach and I didn’t go for the default structure.
  • On Wednesday morning, we flew to Vienna to enjoy the pre-conference satellite-events activities. There was a VCBM fachgruppe meeting featuring some interesting talks in the afternoon and in the evening, we enjoyed a guided tour of the Narrenturm (Fool’s Tower) followed up by a delicious dinner at Unibräu (which sounds surprisingly like unibrow to people like me that can’t pronounce it 😉 ). The Narrenturm tour was really interesting.  Built in 1874 to treat mental patients, it now serves as a museum for the Pathologic-Anatomical Collection. I’ve been in a pathology/anatomy museum before (in Leiden), but this one was something else I have to say. In Leiden, I mainly saw wet specimens, but the Narrenturm features a huge collection of moulages. These are wax models of diseases made based on real patients and used in medical education.
    Moulages in the Narrenturm
    Moulages in the Narrenturm

    It was really an interesting collection, but at the same time there is also something quite disturbing about seeing all these realistic-looking bodyparts mounted to the walls. I guess the most disturbing items of all must have been the little girl suffering from congenital ichthyosis that they stuffed (full body and face) and the cyclops baby.

  • After this guided tour, we went straight for dinner (great combination) and I decided to try out something Viennese: Käsenockerln mit Blattsalat. Oh the deliciousness of it all! Some type of noodles completely covered in molten cheese! It was epic. Besides this amazing dinner, it was really cool to see the familiar faces again of people met at previous conferences 🙂
  • On Thursday the conference itself started and the day was spent enjoying the interesting talks and tweeting for medvis.org. I’ll write a separate post on medvis.org to talk about the content highlights in the interest of not keeping this blog post going on forever 😉 In the evening we hiked up through the vineyards of Vienna to the social event: dinner at the Waldgrill Cobenzl. The view on the vineyards and Vienna itself was really stunning. Dinner was again delicious and apparently it was Sturm time. Sturm is actually grape juice that has just started fermenting. So yes, grape juice gone bad just before it turns into wine 😉 After dinner the winners of the Karl-Heinz Höhne Award for Medical Visualization were announced and this is actually the great news I couldn’t talk about earlier: Cees-Willem Hofstede got third prize with his thesis work on the Online Anatomical Human! Congratulations!!!

    After the social event, there was more social activity to be had in Vienna that lasted until about 3:30 am and I will not write about 😉 What happens after social events at conferences stays there ^^.

  • After a glorious three hours of sleep (four and six hours the two nights before), the final day of VCBM dawned upon us and also the fact that I had to give a presentation dawned upon me. Not my best work by a long shot, but I am very thankful for the sweet responses and questions I got. Future me will definitely do better, I promise!

    I didn’t mention this yet, but the really amazing venue for the talks itself was actually the old anatomical theatre of the AKH and still has the original marble slab that was used to dissect on back in the days as a table:

    Hörsaal D at the AKH
    Hörsaal D at the AKH

Currently I am spending my weekend recovering from what was definitely an amazing conference. I came down with a cold and fever that may or may not have had something to do with the lack of sleep and hope to recover from it soon again 🙂 Have a great week!


  1. Welcome back from the fortunate journey! At my times I would have won more prizes if I were less social in the evening before my presentation. We learn…

    1. Thanks! I wonder if I will ever learn 😉 I already had learning opportunities at EuroVis and VCBM 2010 and so far no changes ^^

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