Issue 42.3 July - September 2008
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President's Report


High School Science and Engineering Fair Winners

Journal Highlights

New Members



Student Committee News

New Series: What Got You into This Business?


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President's Report

SIVB President, Todd Jones, with Keynote speaker, MS Swaminathan, and Program Chair, David Ellis

Yes, it was a dry heat, but it was still hot. And, no, I'm not talking about my version of the "chicken dance" or, heavenforbid, any dalliances with dancing girls. No, I'm talking about the hot topics discussed during the 2008 World Congress on In Vitro Biology! This year's meeting was particularly piquant, with plenary sessions that explored a broad spectrum of subjects from the application of small RNA molecules, to the production of bioactive molecules in cell culture to biofuels. Does it get any hotter than that? From a personal perspective, I particularly enjoyed the Plant Biotechnology symposium on approaches to abiotic stress tolerance and the IVACS symposium on Emerging Technologies in cell culture - great stuff! And, of course, the Keynote address by Prof. M. S. Swaninathan on the integration of biotechnology, biodiversity and sustainable development into an "Evergreen Revolution" was especially thought-provoking and stimulating. I completely support, and hope to benefit from, Prof. Swaminathan's pursuit of an "era of biohappiness" in the years to come. I would also like to acknowledge the co-sponsorship and participation by the Japanese Tissue Culture Association and the Japanese Association for Animal Cell Technology, our exhibitors and our corporate sponsors. Without their support and participation, this meeting, and our society, would be greatly diminished - my sincere appreciation to all who contributed and participated.


Hobbit Nirvana played at the Joint Section Social

In addition tothe scientific seminars and discussions, we also took time at the meeting to honor some of our membership. Dr. Arthur McIntosh and Dr. Michael Horn were recognized as SIVB Fellows from the In Vitro Animal Cell Science and Plant Biotechnology sections, respectively. Dr. Jack Widholm, Emeritus Professor of Plant Physiology at the University of Illinois, was honored with a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Widholm has made many significant contributions in the field of plant physiology, plant tissue culture and plant transformation. Over the course of his career, he has been a colleague, mentor and friend of many of us in the Society and the plant biotechnology community. To all honorees: Congratulations on the recognition of your contributions to the Society and to the scientific advancement of in vitro biology!

In the final synopsis, judged by the caliber of the scientific content, the stunningly beautiful desert venue and entertaining (not to mention personally embarrassing) social events, the 2008 World Congress was, well, hot.

It was also at the Tucson meeting where I assumed the Presidency of SIVB. Since this is my inaugural President's report, I would like to take this opportunity to give you a "State of the Society" summary. As of this writing, the Society for In Vitro Biology is in the strongest financial position that it has been for years. We are in the black, we have a positive cash flow and we a solid financial foundation. Scientifically we are as vibrant as ever, as evidenced by the caliber of our annual meeting and the growth of our journals. And, if the success of our student "section" is any indication, we have a solid core of engaged, invigorated young scientists who are willing and able to propel the society into the future. That being said, we have also experienced a steady decline in membership and meeting attendance over the past several years and I intend to make it a personal goal of my presidency to reverse that trend during my term. I also expect to imbue in our Board of Directors a solid sense of fiscal responsibility so that we may be able to, not only, grow financially but also have the wherewithal to "grow" our membership. It is my hope that, with money in the coffers and an energized membership, we can begin to "market" our science and our contributions to a broader scientific and societal community. My goal is to further the objectives of the Society and to ensure a vibrant, relevant and highly recognizable Society in the years to come.

I consider it a privilege to be able to lead this Society and I consider myself quite lucky to be accepting the leadership at this particular point in time. As I mentioned, I am inheriting a society that is on solid financial footing for the first time in years. This could not have been done without strong leadership from the Board of Directors to make the tough, but necessary decisions. I would particularly like to acknowledge the contributions of our outgoing Treasurer, Richard Heller, and our new Past-President, Paul Price. It is through their diligent monitoring and budgeting of our expenses that I can now state the SIVB is "in the black". On the behalf of the society, and from me personally, I would like to extend my thanks for their responsible leadership! I would also be totally remiss if I failed to acknowledge the efforts and contributions of our outgoing Past-President, David Altman. David has spent a 6 year term on the Board of Directors, as President-Elect, President and Past-President of the Society and our current fiscal frugality can, in large part, be contributed to him. Early on he recognized the need for the Society to tighten the reins, be fiscally responsible and above all, watch the bottom line. David started the process that brought us from the brink of near insolvency and put us solidly on the path toward financial recovery. Simply put, without David's guidance and leadership, the SIVB may not even exist today. I personally want to thank David for his years of contributions and for, quite possibly, saving the society. David, your 6-year term may be over, but I doubt your contributions have ended!

I am looking forward to working with our new Board of Directors, including our new President-Elect, William Smith, and, of course, with you, the Society membership, as we meet the challenges and opportunities that await us. Whether it's a dry heat or not, it's going to be exciting!

Todd Jones
SIVB President


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