The 2006 In Vitro Biology Meeting was held at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota from June 3-7. The meeting focused on a wide range of topics and issues of interest to both Plant Biotechnology and In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Sections of the Society. A total of 331 scientists from 15 countries attended the scientific meeting and interacted with exhibitor representatives. This year SIVB again offered free registration to Students and 77 took advantage of this opportunity. Continuing the successful format first started in 2005 the meeting was kicked off each day by a Society wide plenary session highlighting cross-disciplinary subjects of interest to all members. In 2006, these sessions included Molecular Nutrition, Bioreactors for Pharmaceutical production, and Controlling Transgene Delivery and Integration.
The Keynote presentation was the highlight of the first day as Dr. Ron Phillips of the University of Minnesota spoke on “Ever-Expanding Horizons” in which he linked his involvement in many key achievements in the field of plant biotechnology to future research directions which need to be undertaken to ensure food security and proper nutrition for all people – food for thought indeed. This was followed by the Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall and was a positive forum for participants to meet with the exhibitors and poster session presenters.
The Meeting Program consisted of 17 Symposia, 4 Contributed Paper sessions, and 6 Interactive Poster sessions. In all, 218 abstracts were received, of which 109 were presented as posters. The sessions illustrated the wide range of interests and expertise of Society members covering such diverse research areas as bioinformatics, conservation of endangered orchid species, stem cells, alternative crops and invertebrate immunity. A new session for 2006 was Student Professional Development, which provided an expert panel, combined with audience participation to discuss issues facing students as they consider various career options in In Vitro Sciences. The meeting ended with a Distinguished Plant Symposium in which plant transformation pioneer Dr. Marc Van Montagu of the University of Ghent, Belgium, highlighted the past, present and future of Agrobacterium transformation.
Once again the Society demonstrated that it is not all work and no play with several entertaining evenings including an evening of dinner and drinks at the historical Mill City Museum and evening socials for both sections. The Plant Biotechnology social once again featured stellar entertainment provided by the guitar stylings of SIVB’s own Greg Phillips, David Altman and Jerry Ranch.
The SIVB is deeply indebted to a large list of individuals who put this program together. These individuals include: conveners, fund-raisers and corporate sponsors, presenters, moderators and exhibitors. As Meeting Chair, I would especially like to thank the Committee Chairs from each section and the Meeting Co-chair (Peggy Ozias-Akins, Guido Caputo, and John Harbell) as well as the rest of the Meeting Program Committee for putting together a stellar program. And something that cannot be overlooked, the office staff of SIVB that pulled the meeting and programs, meeting facilities and events all together into a positive experience for all that attended. My thanks to all for making this meeting a great success and I look forward to seeing you all in Indianapolis in 2007.