Finding International Connection in Unprecedented Times

  • 9 November, 2020
Christine Mummery

“Enjoying global data from my couch; given the circumstances, it cannot get any better than this.”

This is just one of many positive comments the ISSCR has received from attendees of last month’s digital series, Applying Organoids: The 3D Frontier. Organized by Melissa Little, Murdoch Children’s Research Center, Australia and Toshiro Sato, Keio University School of Medicine, Japan, the inaugural four-part series featured a global program of speakers discussing modeling development and disease and translation in a concise, 90-minute webinar format. Offered at various times, organizers worked hard to ensure the programming accessible across time zones for our international speakers and membership, often the biggest challenge of meeting virtually. The development ISSCR’s digital content series builds on the great success of the weekly COVID-19 Networking Meetings that the Society launched on 8 May.

Taking on this challenge to reinvent how we deliver scientific programming and to bring our community together is at the forefront of the ISSCR’s priorities. As such, we are committed to delivering many of these digital scientific programs to our members for no additional cost.

In our first series, the ISSCR received nearly 1,400 registrations, and survey results indicated that 100 percent of member respondents rated the programming excellent or good. We also learned that our community is eager to connect in this topic-specific format. Close to 95 percent of member respondents would attend another ISSCR Digital meeting. It has been enormously gratifying for all of us involved in delivering these programs to you.

New Digital Scientific Programs

The next digital series begins today.  Member Briefings: ISSCR Guidelines Update will preview the work of the Guidelines Taskforce led by Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute. With so many new advances in the field, the Society is committed to ensuring that our members have the first look and every opportunity to learn what is new from the ISSCR Taskforce members who have been part of this effort for the last year.

Later this month we begin a program in collaboration with your Society journal, Stem Cell Reports: Chromatin, Epigenetics, and Nuclear Architecture in Stem Cells. The organizers, Eran Meshorer, The Hebrew University, Israel and Kathrin Plath, University of California, Los Angeles, USA, were also guest editors of the special issue of the journal on this subject coming out 8 December. This series is a fantastic synergy between our Society programming and the journal that we find important to nurture.

We continue to provide a venue to share emerging research and new data in our global pursuit of understanding and treating COVID-19 and the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus in weekly members-only networking meetings – that set the stage for all digital meetings – now entering its 27th week.

Finally, in early January, we will host Vision 2030, where we will bring visionary, business-founding scientists and biotech CEOs together to explore how stem cell therapies are moving robustly toward regenerative medicine applications in healthcare through strong commercial support. This first-of-its-kind event charts a path for stem cell science and regenerative medicine for the decade ahead that is poised to transform human health. Learn more.

This is just the beginning for the Society’s new digital programs. We have additional engaging topics in store for 2021. As one series participate shared, “It is fascinating to be able to catch up on the latest research developments, despite the pandemic!” I could not agree more.

Offering excellent scientific education is a hallmark of the ISSCR. While nothing can replace meeting in the same physical space, we continue to create meaningful points of connection with each other, to inspire, encourage, and partner in our collective pursuit to improve human health. I hope you will join us.