President's Message

Early birds get rapid responses on meeting abstracts

Gerald Hart
August 01, 2019

Three days before the start of the 2019 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting in Orlando, the society headquarters received an urgent request.

“I am writing to you to beg for your help. My visa is still under administrative processing as of today,” wrote a graduate student in the Philippines who’d won one of our travel awards. “Your intervention just might be the needed thing to take this arduous process to its end.”

This is a common story. Visa processing times vary wildly around the globe. Many prospective international attendees spend months worrying that they won’t make it through all the hoops in time to present their work in the U.S. Some don’t make it at all.

It is my hope that a new ASBMB program will help alleviate some of the stress associated with securing visas for our annual meeting and will make our meeting more accessible.

Here’s how it works: The Experimental Biology abstract-submission system opens in September. If you submit an abstract in an ASBMB category by Oct. 15, we’ll let you know within two weeks of your submission date whether it has been accepted. That should give you about six months to make travel arrangements.

The regular abstract deadline won’t be until November, as it is every year. Those who submit abstracts after the Oct. 15 priority-decision cutoff will have to wait until early 2020 to find out if they’ve been chosen to present their work.

If your abstract is accepted early through the priority-decision program, you still will need to wait until early 2020 to find out what type of presentation you’ll be giving (either a talk or a poster). But at least you’ll be able to start making travel plans.

You don’t have to be a researcher from outside the U.S. to benefit from the priority-decision program. Indeed, all early-bird scientists are welcome to participate.

As for the graduate student I mentioned above, I am glad to report that he did make it to Orlando to present his research, and he says he plans to be at the 2020 meeting.

The priority-decision program won’t solve everyone’s visa-related problems, but I’m hopeful that it will open the door for more scientists from around the world who want to present their important biochemistry and molecular biology research at our meeting.

Gerald Hart

Gerald Hart is a professor and Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar at the University of Georgia and president of the ASBMB.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in Careers

Careers highlights or most popular articles

Coronavirus coverage and the silencing of female expertise
Diversity

Coronavirus coverage and the silencing of female expertise

July 05, 2020

With male voices dominating the pandemic narrative, female scientists are lamenting the loss of diverse perspectives.

Calendar of events, awards and opportunities
Announcement

Calendar of events, awards and opportunities

July 05, 2020

New this week: Three #ASBMB2020 virtual events, ASBMB Lipid Research Division virtual presentations, PALM network deadline, webinar on safely reopening amid COVID-19, and a SABER virtual meeting.

How can labs reopen safely?
Life in the Lab

How can labs reopen safely?

July 03, 2020

Labs are trying to reopen and get back to research while not spreading COVID-19. Great goal, but how do we do that?

Calendar of events, awards and opportunities
Announcement

Calendar of events, awards and opportunities

June 28, 2020

New #ASBMB2020 virtual events and Twitter poster sessions, #BlackLivesMatter event by SfN, IUBMB fellowship and funding deadlines, and contest for sphingolipid Ph.D. students.

Get the most out of your university’s career services
Jobs

Get the most out of your university’s career services

June 26, 2020

Why not take advantage of career services offered by your alma mater? You paid for them!

Grant-writing tips for beginners
How-to

Grant-writing tips for beginners

June 25, 2020

Bill Sullivan, a study section veteran, shares eight important lessons he’s learned for writing a winning grant application.