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I’m going back to dignity and grace. I’m going back to Charleston, where I belong.
Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind
The 2009 In Vitro Biology meeting in Charleston, SC is rapidly approaching. I am sure you have all made your reservations, registered for the meeting and are now putting the final touches on your posters and presentations. Right? If you haven’t registered for the meeting by now – what are you waiting for? This year’s In Vitro Biology meeting is going to be as scientifically exciting as ever – that goes without saying – and Charleston is a fantastic destination city for our meeting. Lauded as “America’s Friendliest City”, Charleston is renowned for it’s history, it’s beauty and it’s Southern charm. Charleston is also home to the 17 day-long Spoleto Arts and Music festival which overlaps briefly with our opening day. If you enjoy the arts, I would urge you to arrive in Charleston a few days early to participate in the Spoleto festival. You will not be disappointed. As an enticement, here is the link to the Spoleto website:
Of course, the cultural attractions of Charleston, while substantial, are still only a sidelight to the In Vitro Biology meeting itself. As always, the meeting will be highlighted by excellent, in-depth symposia on topics ranging from gene targeting, to tissue engineering to toxicology. I am particularly excited about our Keynote Symposium where Dr. Russ Miller, Manager of Technology Transfer and Partnerships at the Department of Energy, will discuss DOE’s BioEnergy Science Center and their role in the development of cellulosic-based biofuels. The recalcitrance of cellulosic biomass to be efficiently converted into fermentable sugars is a major hindrance to the establishment of a cost-competitive cellulosic biofuel industry. The BESC has been coordinating the efforts of numerous academic, private and government labs working to overcome that recalcitrance. Dr. Miller’s lecture will be an opportunity to hear about the future of biofuels from the frontline of DOE research.
And, as always, the annual SIVB meeting is an exceptional opportunity to see old friends, make new acquaintances and renew connections with colleagues, former, current and future. All in a scientifically stimulating and collegial atmosphere that is THE Society for In Vitro Biology.
And speaking of networking, I cordially invite all SIVB members who are also “LinkedIn” to join the Society for In Vitro Biology group on LinkedIn.com. It is an opportunity to participate in discussions, pose questions to members and, of course, network professionally. If you don’t already belong to LinkedIn, please consider joining – it’s free and it offers a means to connect to other professionals, of any ilk, worldwide.
As is my wont, I have also used this forum to express my opinions on the state of the society and issues that I believe are relevant and timely. At the recent Board of Director’s meeting this past February, 2 issues relating to the SIVB publications were discussed and I would like to mention one of them now (the other I will save for a future newsletter). The issue I would like to bring to the attention of our membership at this time is a new requirement for cell line authentication of animal cell lines used in any research prior to publication in In Vitro – Animal. Beginning Jan. 1 of this year, proof of cell line authentication must be provided in the Materials and Methods of any submitted manuscript, with information on authentication methods used, when the authentication was performed and when and where the cells were obtained. This is part of a larger, ongoing effort to eliminate spurious data arising from questionable, unauthenticated animal cell cultures. As THE Society for In Vitro Biology, I believe that we have a responsibility to play a leadership role in addressing this long-standing issue and I am pleased that we have taken this important, first step in insuring all papers published in In Vitro – Animal be based on authenticated cell cultures. The misidentification of cell lines is not new, nor will it quickly be rectified, but this provides one appropriately strict incentive for researchers to authenticate and validate their research cell lines. Not coincidentally, the “Impact of Cell Contamination in Research” is the topic of another symposia at the annual meeting this June. Please plan to attend and learn more about the issue and efforts to address it from representatives of the major cell repositories in the world.
So, regardless of your motivation to attend the 2009 In Vitro Meeting, I look forward to seeing you all in Charleston this June – it’s where we all belong!