I write this report with a lot more hope that we are making progress against the pandemic. While things are getting under control in the United States with over 30% of adults being fully vaccinated – including me! – and >40% with at least one vaccination, there is still a way to go. Further, I look with great sadness at the devastation that continues and grows in other countries. We need to do a better job around the world providing not only the resource, but also the education. As scientists, we need to be constant and consistent in raising our voices to address people’s concerns and fears about vaccines. We need to do this to fully get out of this pandemic and return to a “normal” way of life and work.
I look forward to our virtual meeting! I would like to thank the whole team in setting up such a great slate as well as flexing from a live to a virtual meeting. I look forward to being In Vitro and OnLine with all of you!
I would like to thank Deepika and Piero for organizing our first, off meeting, webinar with Dr. Stan Gelvin. It was a fantastic and interesting webinar that was free to members and offered at a reasonable cost to non-members. I hope that we will continue with these off-meeting webinars to take deeper dives into subjects covered within our annual meeting or to allow for expansion of subject matters and experts that could not fit within our current annual meeting structure. For this first one, it was more the former. Stan discussed the background of that amazing, natural genetic engineering bacterium – Agrobacterium – and what we have learned over the years. It was especially insightful to hear about what we thought we had known, but that was later shown to be incorrect. This talk was a great primer for his upcoming talk during the meeting, a talk from his lab group as well as many different talks that will be part of the annual meeting.
As mentioned in my previous report, this year still has found us engaged in public discourse. I would like to thank past president – John Harbell – for a well-researched and written response to the proposed rule changes on bioengineered animals for use in Agriculture. I had the honor of submitting this response for the SIVB. These types of science based regulatory changes are critical for enabling our members to make a larger impact on sustainable agricultural practices.
The student members have been very active with a recently organized International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences seminar. I had the honor to be an invited speaker for an on line event entitled ”Conventional & Advance Plant Breeding Methods”. This was organized by one of our SIVB student representatives – Alperen Ozturk – who is also a project officer for this organization. Please see the associated article found within this issue for more details.
Please continue to be active with the society. I hope to “see” you all at the meeting. Plan to be at the virtual socials so that we can catch up! Please continue to use Amazon Smile for online shopping with SIVB as the organization benefiting from that shopping. Please also keep up your membership and encourage others to do the same!
Be safe, be healthy. Get the vaccine when and if you can. Share the science with other members and with the world at large. It has been an honor to serve as your president this past year. I look forward to the next.
Allan Wenck, PhD, JD
President, Society for In Vitro Biology