Dear SIVB members, colleagues, and students,
As I write this report, I would first like to thank the past and current SIVB leadership and the entire SIVB membership for your continued engagement, encouragement, and trust, as I begin my second year of service as SIVB President. Serving in this role is a great honor and even greater responsibility. In any year, and especially in this year of transitions, moving forward successfully relies on a strong team effort. Therefore, I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to our Board of Directors, Business Office and many SIVB members who tirelessly work with me as we continue fulfilling our Society’s Mission, Vison and Values, and continue making an impact in the field of in vitro biology for years to come.The 2023 SIVB Annual Meeting was held between June 10 – 14 in Norfolk, the Mermaid City of Virginia. Once again, we were able to meet in-person and enjoy scientific sessions, discussions, receptions and social interactions at the Hilton Norfolk the Main. We made every effort to make this meeting the inspiring, memorable and engaging event it was. Headed by Hong Lou (Program Chair and Member-at-Large), the success of the meeting relied on the hard work and dedication of all the 2023 Program Committee that included Kristina Martinez-Guryn (IVACS Chair), Jessica L. Rupp (PB Chair), Annie Saltarikos (PB Program Chair), Kenneth Kandaras (IVACS Program Chair), Ahmad Omar (PB Sr. Co-Chair), Carlos Hernandez-Garcia (PB Jr. Co-Chair), Brad Upham (Education Committee Chair), Eudald Illa-Berenguer (Ad Hoc Student Support Chair), Jasmyn Hoeger (IVACS Student Co-Chair), Christina Yevtushenko (PB Student Co-Chair), Raj Deepika Chauhan and Margaret Young (Local Organizing Committee Co-Chairs), and Michele G. Schultz (Meeting Secretariat). Thank you all!
Those of us who were able to join the Annual Meeting in person had many opportunities to network with new attendees, seasoned colleagues, and engaging exhibitors. With the help of conveners and members, the Program Committee prepared a well thought-out scientific program with workshops, plenary and section-specific symposia, interactive poster presentations and poster sessions, and multiple student-led activities that highlighted recent advances in the plant and animal biotechnology and genomics research arenas. At the Opening Ceremony, we celebrated and honored the recipients of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Awards John W. Harbell, William Gordon-Kamm, and Raymond D. Shillito; the recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award, Terry L. Riss; the recipient of the Fellow Award Pierluigi Barone; and the recipient of the Early Career Award Kristina Mainez-Guryn. We also acknowledged the recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award who were Raj Deepika Chauhan, Barbara B. Doonan, Joy A. Francis, Wayne A. Parrott, Michele G. Schultz, and Margaret M. Young, as well as the recipients of the 2023 President’s Award, Christopher A. Bagley, Pierluigi Barone, Anissa Belfetmi-Stone, Michael K. Dame, Sarbesh Das Dangol, Vivian R. Dayeh, Michael J. Fay, Muneeb Hassan Hashmi, Jessica L. Rupp, Brad L. Upham, and Joyce M. Van Eck. We welcomed our Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. Keynote speaker Dr. Princess I. Imoukhuede, Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair and Professor in Bioengineering at University of Washington, who delivered an engaging presentation on “Bioengineering: Realizing the Promise of Cell Signaling Control in Health and Disease.” The meeting included the special workshops “Grow with the Flow: Advanced Flow and Applications,” “Principles and Best Practices for Plant Genome Engineering,” and “Design of Experiments Part II,” and the Michael E. Horn Emerging Technologies Symposium that focused on “Research to Market – In Vitro Biology Product Development.” The plenary sessions, section-specific symposia and contributed paper sessions, student and post-doc oral presentation competitions and poster sessions were well attended. With the help and guidance of the Education Committee, student-led activities included hands-on CRISPER workshop, Student Affairs Committee Luncheon, and a Non-Competitive Student Oral Presentation Session.
The limited On-demand Program of the 2023 Annual Meeting is available online and includes the recorded Keynote Opening Ceremony, Plenary sessions and workshops, as well as selected section-specific sessions. This virtual component of the Annual Meeting provides an invaluable opportunity to stay informed, stay connected and stay engaged for the members who could not attend the meeting in-person as well as attendees who would like to view these sessions again! Overall, 435 individuals registered for the 2023 Annual Meeting, of which 375 attended in-person. Focusing on the dates of the meeting, between May 31 – June 21, the meeting’s Mobile App showed 168 users logging in 276 times with 441 hours of use. The presentations had an accumulated 959 views during those dates. Over 200 individuals have actively used the EventScribe Website to review the site during the meeting as well as to watch the recorded Program once it was released. If you have not done so already, you are welcome to watch these recorded presentations as they will be available only till the end of September 2023!
I will be remiss not to mention that the 2023 meeting would not have been possible without the continued support of Marietta Wheaton Saunders, who passed unexpectedly in February 2023, as well as the inordinate amount of work by Michele G. Schultz, and Marietta’s family members Joy Francis, Tina Corsey, and David Wheaton, who immediately stepped up their efforts to support the Annual Meeting and the transition of our organization moving forward. I would like to thank, again, Michele G. Schultz (SIVB Managing Director), Barbara Doonan (SIVB Treasurer), and Marietta’s family members for creating a moving, memorable video tribute to Marietta, and all the members who shared their stories and pictures in that video. A member tribute to Marietta can be found in the online SIVB’s In Vitro Report publication here. Additionally, the Marietta Wheaton Saunders Award was established to honor Marietta and celebrate her legacy. This award, which was announced during the meeting, seeks to inspire African American and Hispanic students to contribute to the innovative science that is a trademark of the in vitro biology and biotechnology fields. For more information about SIVB students awards and how to contribute to them, please visit here or contact the SIVB Business Office.
In closing this report, I would like to remind everyone that the future of our Society depends on the continuous building and securing our membership. Each one of our members is at the heart of the organization! So, please renew your membership and encourage your colleagues, post-docs and students to join us and become new SIVB members. Our Society offers many opportunities for personal and professional development, from convening sessions to running different offices. I encourage you to reach out to either the SIVB Business Office, Board or Directors, Officers, Committee Chairs or myself — we will be happy to help you get involved and stay engaged!
Addy Alt-Holland, Ph.D., Ms.C.