A letter from the 2020 annual meeting co-organizers

Published September 01 2019

Bob: My first American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting was in 1982 when I was a second-year graduate student in Bob Hill’s laboratory at Duke University. The society was called the American Society of Biological Chemists, or ASBC, back then, and the meeting was in New Orleans. It was my first scientific meeting and my first trip to the Crescent City.

The meeting was transformational for me as a young scientist. It opened my eyes to the breadth and depth of biochemistry and molecular biology and inspired me to get back in the lab and make my own dent in the field. I also enjoyed the food and history of New Orleans. Reflecting on my experience while walking around the French Quarter, eating lunch in K-Paul’s and buying gifts for my family back home, I knew I had chosen the right career path. I’ve never regretted it.

Thematic sessions

The 2020 ASBMB annual meeting will include eight thematic sessions largely highlighting foundational areas of chemistry and molecular biology. See scheduled speakers, keywords and theme songs.

Carla: My first ASBMB meeting was in 1988 when I was a graduate student in Don Beitz’s laboratory at Iowa State University. It was my first large scientific conference, and I found the size of the poster hall overwhelming. As a junior faculty member, I co-organized a thematic session at a later meeting in San Diego. This provided a chance both to focus and to explore other areas of biochemistry.

With so many junior and senior researchers gathered in one place, important interactions typically happen while socializing. I’ve been amazed by the collaborations and insights that develop from this meeting.

The 2020 ASBMB annual meeting will be held April 4 to April 7 in sunny San Diego. It will feature outstanding award lectures from leaders in the field, daily thematic sessions geared toward core areas of biochemistry and molecular biology, Spotlight Sessions highlighting the work of younger scientists, poster sessions, workshops and more.

Eight thematic sessions held over three mornings will highlight foundational areas of biochemistry and molecular biology. Click here to read all about these sessions. World-class organizers and speakers will cover exciting recent discoveries in their fields. The wide range of topics focuses on molecular mechanisms of biology and disease.

Spotlight Sessions consist of related talks that highlight recent high-interest research selected from abstracts submitted by attendees. The criterion for selection is simple: Is the science exciting? These sessions, introduced in 2017, have been very popular, especially because younger scientists get a chance to present their work. We encourage anyone who has an idea for a Spotlight Session theme to contact us as soon as possible. We’ll work with you to recruit relevant abstract submissions.

Poster sessions provide the greatest opportunity for individual scientists to discuss their recent work. Many students present their work publicly for the first time at poster sessions. To make these sessions more accessible and boost attendance, we’ve rescheduled them to avoid conflict with other events, and we’re planning short flash talks to cap the thematic morning sessions and let presenters advertise their posters.

A spring meeting in California offers fabulous opportunities for dining, fun and networking. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

Bob Haltiwanger Bob Haltiwanger is a professor in the department of biochemistry and cell biology at the University of Georgia.

Carla Koehler Carla Koehler is a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles.