Summary and Highlights from the 2017 SIVB Conference

Addy Alt-Holland (2017 In Vitro Biology Meetng Program Chair) and Dwight Tomes (SIVB President)

The 2017 SIVB Conference was held from June 10th to June 14th, 2017, in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Raleigh Convention Center and Raleigh Marriott City Center. It was an exciting, productive and successful conference that offered strong scientific and educational program as well as plenty of social activities and time to connect, exchange scientific information and build new networks and collaborations.

During the Conference’ Opening Ceremony on Sunday, June 11th, the Society for In Vitro Biology honored Dr. Gregory C. Phillips and Dr. J. Denry Sato with the SIVB Lifetime Achievement Awards, signifying their years of exemplary research, achievements and pioneering contributions to the field of cell culture. The Society honored Dr. Miho Furue and Dr. Kan Wang with the SIVB Fellow Award, a distinguished award that recognizes members who made outstanding contributions to in vitro science research, teaching or administration. The Society honored Dr. Allan Wenck with the SIVB Distinguished Scientist Award that recognizes outstanding mid-career professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of in vitro biology. Dr. Sukhpreet Sandhu was honored with the SIVB Young Scientist Award, which recognizes young professionals who have contributed significantly to advancement of the in vitro sciences. Finally, Dr. Vadim Beilinson, Dr. Vivian Dayeh, Dr. Michael J. Fay, Dr. Ted Klein, Dr. Sergei Krasnyanski, Dr. Qiudeng Que, Dr. Pon Samuel and Dr. Mary Welter were selected by the SIVB President to receive the SIVB Distinguished Service Award for their significant efforts in support of the SIVB programs and endeavors.

The society was honored to have Dr. Antony Atala, Director and Chairman of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, as the Robert H. Lawrence Jr. Keynote Symposium speaker in his inspiring and engaging presentation “Regenerative Medicine: Current Concepts and Changing Trends.” The lecture that was held on Monday, June 12th, was followed by a special Keynote Reception honoring Dr. Atala.

The successful and informative workshop titled “Grow with the Flow: Expand your Application in Biological Research with Flow Cytometry” was held on Saturday, June 10th and opened the Conference’ scientific program. Sponsored by Beckman Coulter, this hands-on workshop highlighted state-of-the-art technology for studying plants and animals at the cellular and subcellular levels. Four Plenary Sessions titled “Innovative Advances in Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting for Plant & Mammalian Cells,” “Microbiome Challenges to Scale Production,” “Scaffolds from Plants and Synthetic Materials for Human Tissue Engineering,” and “Natural Products and Biologics” combined together SIVB members from both the In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences and the Plant Biotechnology Sections. Overall, fourteen Breakout, Section-driven Sessions were organized by the Plant Biotechnology and the In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Sections, of which 5 Contributed Paper Sessions were dedicated to highlight the research of SIVB members. The topics that were discussed in the Breakout Sessions of the In Vitro Animal Cell Sciences Section included: “From Single Cell Analysis to Multiplexed Screening Assays of Cell Cultures,” “Cell Culture Systems for Agricultural and Environmental Research,” “In Vitro and Silico Databases and Analysis,” “Microfluidics for Applied Biology” and “Exosomes/Secretomes.” The topics that were discussed in the Breakout Sessions of the Plant Biotechnology Section included: “Cannabis: Past, Present and Future,” “Role of Secondary Metabolites/Antioxidants In Vitro,” “Advances in Woody and Ornamental Plant Tissue Culture,” “Biosafety Best Practices For GMOs and Regulatory Challenges with Genome Editing,” “Regulatory Protocols for Transgenic Crops,” Workshop on Cannabis Best Practices and Regulation,” “Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress,” “Practical Media Improvement using DOE: Case Study Comparisons of a Commercially Available MS Media Improvement Kit,” “Medicinal Plants,” “Start Up for Commercialization, Idea Development, and IP Capture” and “Plant Genome Editing.”

Left to Right: Addy Alt Holland (2017 Program Chair), Dr. Anthony Atala (2017 Keynote Speaker), and Joshua Gasiorowski (IVACS Vice Chair Meeting)

The SIVB encourages and supports Student and Post-doctoral educational sessions and activities during the annual meetings. The students skillfully organized an interactive Student Symposium on “Persuasive Presentations: Tips and Techniques for Public Speaking, a Student Networking Luncheon that focused on “Creating Winning Resumes and CV,” a Student Affairs ad Ad Hoc Student Committees Breakfast, and non-competitive Student Oral Presentations session. In addition, four Poster Sessions, five Interactive Poster Sessions, and three Student and Post-doc Oral Presentation Competitions were organized by both Society sections during the conference. These important activities serve as a platform to recognize the research work of students and post-docs and provide them with valuable feedback, enhance their public speaking skills, and encourage education and exchange of scientific information during the conference.

The joint sections’ social on Monday, June 12th, was followed by a movie-night and special pre-screening presentation of “Food Evolution,” a documentary from the Academy Award®-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy that is narrated by the science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson. This documentary aims to separate the publicity from the science in the polarized debate that is fueled by fear, doubt and misperception surrounding GMOs and food. It also aims to address the question “Amongst all this conflict and confusion around food, how do we make the best decisions about how we feed ourselves?” As appropriate for a movie-night, hot popcorn bags were served, and we were excited that SIVB members who attended the movie were discussing it long after the screening ended.

The In Vitro Animal Cell Science and Plant Biotechnology “Sections Business Meeting” were held on Monday, June 12th, and the “SIVB Business Meeting” was held the following day. In addition to three distinct receptions, the conference’ social activities included the “Tuesday Night at the Museum” at the North Carolina Museum of Science, “The Research Triangle Industry Tour” and the “Afternoon in the Trees: A North Carolina State University Tour.”

The 2017 conference allowed students, post-docs, SIVB members and invited speakers to experience scientific research from around the world, strengthen existing connections and establish new ones in a convenient, friendly atmosphere. We hope to see you in the 2018 SIVB Conference in St. Louis, Missouri!


Submitted by Addy Alt-Holland, 2017 Program Chair