I hope that all are safe and healthy as we move into 2021!
I start this report with some sad news, but also rays of hope for the future. There is still a long way to go before we have sufficient vaccination levels to feel that we may hold our conference as a live, face to face event. Given what we know, even if members were vaccinated, it is unlikely that travel restrictions enacted within academic and industrial institutions will be lifted sufficiently for a face to face to work. The ray of hope does come with the vaccine however. We should be ready to go for 2022 in San Diego and I was very pleased with the response we received in our survey. A clear majority of you not only appreciate the meeting content, but the comradery and social interaction that a face to face meeting entails. This year, our meeting will be virtual and we will make sure that we have improved methods for interacting both in real time and in forums. We hope that you all can attend! Bring a socially distanced, masked friend and/or colleague!
Even without a meeting last year, I have been pleased with the level of engagement of our members. Many of the different committees have been active! Our journals continue to publish critical content thanks to the authors, editors and reviewers. Wayne Parrott spearheaded an effort to submit a response to an EPA proposed rule change with critical implications to our society. There will be another effort soon – already done by the time this report is published – to respond to a proposed rule change on bioengineered animals (jurisdictional change from FDA to USDA with updated, science based regulation changes). This will be a great chance for our public policy committee to support research primarily from our IVACS colleagues. I encourage you all to continue to reach out through your science, through your society engagement (within social distancing), through your social media and through this forum. I found the new “You Got This” section an incredibly good read as well as the more “standard” sections within In Vitro Report!
It is also great to look back and see the great achievements of our members through the highlights and through our awards section. Which also brings to a point about engagement! As of this printing, 2021 awards will have already been determined – or at least all nominees submitted. However, it is NOT TOO EARLY for both Plant and IVACS to look towards its members for 2022 consideration. We have an incredible talent pool, but we are sometimes slow to consider nominating until the deadlines are upon us! Think of who should be considered for Early Career Scientists, Distinguished Scientists, Fellows and Life Time Achievement now. No need to wait!
On practical matters, we continue to need your support. Renew your membership if you haven’t already. Consider opting for a two year or lifetime membership! Reach out to your colleagues and encourage them to become members. Support the society on Amazon Smile. Consider being on a committee. Submit papers to the journals and agree to review papers for the journals. Now, more than ever, we need all members to be active and to grow and engage our members. Send suggestions for increasing membership to the membership committee, development committee or any of the board members.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the executive board and to the complete board for the continued support, especially as we made this difficult decision to go virtual again this year. The program committee has worked hard to put together an exciting program. I am sure that they will be able to deliver in a virtual format with improvements made thanks to your thoughtful feedback. I would especially like to thank Marietta and her team at New Beginnings Management for working so closely with our board and committees to enable and to help execute the changes
Please be safe! Wear masks! Follow the Science! Be the Science! Communicate the Science! And get your vaccination when your time comes around!
Allan Wenck, PhD, JD
President, Society for In Vitro Biology