There has been a convergence of technologies around stem cell research that are dramatically increasing our understanding of developmental biology, human disease, and how to regenerate damaged tissue. Cutting edge technological advancements in computational biology, machine learning, single cell sequencing, gene editing, and organoids are being harnessed by stem cell researchers to accelerate their discoveries and move them towards the clinic. These revolutionary advances will be in the spotlight from 24-27 June, 2020, at the largest stem cell meeting in the world— the ISSCR 2020 Annual Meeting in Boston, USA.
A Program of Discovery and Translation
The ISSCR 2020 Annual Meeting will underscore just how far the stem cell field has come. Chaired by Kevin Eggan, this year’s program committee has put together an outstanding scientific program that will feature 198 speakers covering topics from the fundamental mechanisms of developmental biology to results from ongoing stem cell-based clinical trials in patients.
In collaboration with Dr. Eggan and the program committee, I have designed the opening Presidential Symposium to showcase exciting new technological developments in stem cell research. Featuring Aviv Regev from the Broad Institute, Eric Olson from the University of Texas Southwestern, Steven Finkbeiner from the Gladstone Institutes, and Fiona Watt from King’s College London, UK, the session will demonstrate how breakthroughs in computational biology, automation, disease models, gene editing, and tissue engineering are transforming stem cell research.
In addition to the main program at the meeting, the ISSCR also hosts workshops and sessions in association with the annual meeting:
- Pre-meeting Workshop on Clinical Translation will be held on 23 June, 2019, for those interested in moving research from the bench to the clinic
- Pre-meeting Science and Advocacy Communications Seminar held the morning of 24 June, 2019
- The Women in Science Luncheon, held on 26 June, to discuss the challenges faced by women in STEM fields and solutions and strategies for overcoming them
New This Year
While the large spectrum of topics covered is a strength of ISSCR annual meetings, it can also be challenging for attendees to find and meld with other researchers within their specific areas of expertise. We have therefore reorganized the concurrent sessions by research theme and tissue/cell type to cultivate a closer sense of community with other researchers of a similar focus within the larger meeting.
Also new this year, some of the poster sessions will take place in the afternoons rather than evenings to encourage increased attendance as well as free up time in the evenings for increased networking and socializing opportunities for attendees.
Lastly, this year the ISSCR will be offering a one-day Business of Discovery Workshop on 23 June for anyone interested in learning how to start a business. This new program will discuss the pathways from discovery to business venture and address important considerations such as how to know if your science or technology is ready for commercialization, picking the right business model, attracting investment, and the essential components of a strong business pitch.
Networking & Professional Development
The ISSCR is also offering a number of networking and professional development opportunities, including:
- The Early Career Group Luncheon where junior investigators share a casual lunch with members of the ISSCR Board of Directors to discuss how to generate and measure the success of your lab
- The Meet the Experts Luncheon, an opportunity for students and postdocs to sit at small tables with leaders from academia, industry, and publishing to gain research and career advice
- A Career Panel Luncheon featuring a panel discussion with speakers from various career paths
- The Job Match program, an online-to-onsite process to capitalize on the unique occurrence of having the top-tiered job providers and job seekers from around the world under one roof
- The Junior Investigator Social Night where trainees and young investigators can socialize and dance the night away
The meeting will also host the world’s largest stem cell-related Exhibit Hall, which is a great place to learn about the latest technologies and products that can help accelerate your research and enable new paths to discovery.
The Greater Boston area is home to more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, ranging from small start-ups to billion-dollar pharmaceutical giants, making it one of the largest industry hubs in the world. This explosive local growth of modern biotech is also set in one of the oldest cities in the USA, making Boston a wonderful city to explore.
Register now for the ISSCR 2020 Annual Meeting and join the 4,000 stem cell professionals from across the globe that will be coming together to collaborate and advance the field. Be a part of the conversation and present your research by submitting an abstract for a poster presentation. Similar to last year, a number of abstracts will also be selected to give oral presentations, so be sure to submit yours before the deadline on 6 February, 2020.
There has never been a more exciting time to be in the stem cell field, and I look forward to hearing the newest developments that will be presented in Boston. See you there.
ISSCR President, 2019-2020