While everyone was embracing the new working environment and ways to attend conferences virtually, the Board of Directors, annual meeting committee members and the Society for In Vitro Biology Business Office were constantly monitoring the conditions and adjusting the annual meeting for this year to best suit the attendees’ requirements. Hence, the society for In vitro biology annual meeting was held as a virtual event (SIVB 2021: In Vitro OnLine). The presentations were either streamed live or released for viewing during Eastern Daylight Time from June 5th to June 9th, 2021. The on-demand content has been made available for the meeting registrants until the end of September 2021.
The two amazing concurrent workshops kicked off the event on Saturday June 5th, 2021, “Grow with the Flow: Creative Changes on Advanced Flow Cytometry” sponsored by Beckman Coulter, and “15th International Conference on Invertebrate and Fish Cell Culture: Emerging Technologies and Future Directions”. Both workshops were a great success, well attended by the attendees and the live streaming along with capability to ask questions and participate in discussion with speakers created the forum for great interactions. The welcome reception on June 5th, 2021 and Joint section social on June 7th, 2021 were held through REMO that allowed the attendees to catchup with new participants, friends, students, committee members, Board of Directors, and exhibitors. It was a unique experience and allowed networking.
The opening ceremony was held on June 6th 2021 and the 2021 SIVB awards were presented by the President, Dr. Allan R. Wenck. Daysha Ferrer Torres, University of Michigan Medical School and Jessica L. Rupp, Kansas State University were honored with Early Career Awards. Dr. Addy Alt-Holland, Tufts University and Dr. Vivian R. Dayeh, University of Waterloo received SIVB Fellow Awards for their outstanding contributions to in vitro science and teaching. Dr. Cynthia L. Goodman, USDA-ARS-BCIRL was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize years of contributions to cell culture.
Dr. Keith Joung who is a Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology, Desmond and Ann Heathwood Research Scholar, and a Pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School presented a fascinating keynote talk on “Defining gene editor off-target effects with an optimized and universal in vitro assay” on June 6th 2021. He is a leading figure in gene editing, and we are grateful that he took time to share his research work with the attendees in an engaging session.
The four plenary symposia entitled “Advanced Biological Tools for Biotechnology Applications”, “Epigenetics: Mechanisms and Implications”, “Crossing Kingdoms: Developing and Applying Editing Tools in Animals and Plants” and “Regulations & Transparency: Imperatives for Emerging Technologies” were also streamed live each day, featuring talks by the experts in the field, complemented with live Q&A panel discussion with speakers at the end of each session.
The Plant Biotechnology Sections (PBS) presented the symposia on various aspects of micropropagation namely, “Leadership and Best Practices in Commercial Labs”, “Challenges in Establishment and Micropropagation of Woody Plant Species Under In Vitro Conditions”, “Factors Affecting Successful Transfer of In Vitro Plantlets to Ex Vitro Conditions”, “DOE and Quality Control in Research and Commercial Micropropagation”, with Dr. Randal Niedz, Dr. Uyen Cao chu and Dr. Jeffrey Adelberg’s DOE session standing out as a crowd favorite! The remaining symposia and workshops were focused on improvement of transformation, gene editing and recent advances in in vitro biology namely., “Transformation of Recalcitrant Crops Using Morphogenic or Growth-stimulating Genes”, “Variables Controlling Successful Gene Editing in Plants/ New Tools”, “Regulation, Commercialization, and Adoption of Gene Edited Crops”, “Advances in Cannabis Regeneration Systems and Biotechnology”, and “Recent Advances and Applications in Single-Cell Technologies”.
SIVB is committed to creating opportunities for students, encourage them to present and organize sessions. The student symposia “RNA-Sequencing: Experimental Design, Sample and Library Preparation, Sequencing and Data Analysis Factors to Consider” was very informative. The interactive posters, student and postdoctoral presentation competitions provided an excellent platform for sharing knowledge and connecting with researchers working in the same field.
The In Vitro Animal and Cell Sciences section of SIVB offered various important sessions for the SIVB annual conference this year. The sessions covered topics such as late-breaking research on “Novel Applications of Biosensors as Readouts for Environmental Monitoring and Improving Human Health”, “Models Of Viral-Host Interactions: from In Vitro to In Vivo”, “Marine Invertebrate Cell Culture: Applications and Implications for Research”, “Application of Stem Cell Technology to the Development of Tissue-specific Organoids,” Organoids: Understanding and Developing Human Disease Models”, as well as “Modulating the Gut Microbiota: Application of Prebiotics and Probiotics for Human Health” in addition to interactive poster and contributed paper presentations. Thus, a wide range of topics were covered, all fascinating and timely.
A thought-provoking panel discussion on “Building Partnerships and Resources to Address Transformation Bottlenecks” led to formation of a small team who is further working on the actions that came from the virtual interactions. The joint symposium entitled “Emerging Startups: Bringing Innovative Ideas to Life” featuring new companies, plant symposium on “Novel Methods in Plant Transformation Using Non-Agrobacterium Techniques and Gene Editing without integrations of Transgene” featuring a talk by Dr. Stan Gelvin was a perfect way to end the event.
We would like to thank all the speakers who presented their work in the meeting and took time to upload their presentations ahead of time. A special thanks to all the conveners who organized the sessions, moderated the virtual sessions, and stimulated discussions during the talks. With the changes in how we have been working during the pandemic, the additional efforts by everyone involved including our attendees is much appreciated. The constant effort by the executive and development committee to support the meeting was commendable. The meeting wouldn’t have been possible without constant support from SIVB Business Office especially Marietta Saunders and Michele Schultz. We hope to see you next year from June 4th-7th, 2022 in San Diego.