Editor's Note

One year later

Comfort Dorn
March 19, 2021

The last time I ate a meal inside a restaurant was March 12, 2020. I use the word "restaurant" loosely because I was at Dulles International Airport in Virginia grabbing a sandwich and a beer before an overnight flight to Amsterdam – where I was to meet my daughter and her family for a fun trip to see friends on a Greek island.

You can guess what happened next.

Amsterdam locked down. We canceled our island trip. Daycare was closed, so I spent the next 10 days trying to keep my 2-year-old granddaughter out of her parents' hair while they attempted to do their jobs remotely, all of us crammed into their tiny Dutch house. I panicked briefly when President Trump announced that U.S. citizens who were overseas would not be allowed back home, but otherwise I had fun teaching little Penelope how to make biscuits and taking her on walks to all the nearby playgrounds. We ordered carryout food from the suddenly shuttered restaurants in their neighborhood. I learned that in seven months I was going to have a second grandchild.

That trip seems so long ago. Back then, only a few people were wearing masks or distancing at the airports. A handful of folks had donned what appeared to be disposable hazmat suits, but I dismissed them as outliers. When I returned to Dulles, a nice man took my temperature, asked me if I felt OK and told me to stay home for two weeks.

Meanwhile, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology office closed, and the society's annual meeting was canceled. Because most of our members lacked access to their office mail, we didn't print three issues of this magazine. Shortly before the shutdown, we learned that the ASBMB's three journals would be going open access. Somehow, that had to happen with almost everyone working from home.

Since then, the way we do everything has shifted, layered with all the ordinary changes of work and life and coping. I got a new hip in July. My younger daughter got engaged in August. My mother turned 90 in September. My grandson was born in November.

The ASBMB (along with everyone else) learned to exist and thrive online, and the crowning result will be a virtual annual meeting in April. We've seen a lot of staff changes, culminating with the retirement in February of Barbara Gordon, our longtime executive director, and the selection of Steve Miller to take on that position.

All these changes have happened in the flat, surreal twilight of online existence. I have to wonder how different everything will feel next March when (fingers crossed) we can all be in the same room again.

Comfort Dorn

Comfort Dorn is the managing editor of ASBMB Today.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

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

Latest in Opinions

Opinions highlights or most popular articles

Learning to love assessment
Education

Learning to love assessment

July 28, 2021

“As every scientist knows, there is no point in doing an experiment if you don’t have a way to assess the result. So assessment is a crucial step in teaching and learning.”

I’m fully vaccinated but feel sick – should I get tested for COVID-19?
News

I’m fully vaccinated but feel sick – should I get tested for COVID-19?

July 25, 2021

It’s impossible to know whether a vaccinated person is fully protected or could still develop a mild case if exposed to the coronavirus.

5 ways to use hip-hop in the classroom to build better understanding of science
Education

5 ways to use hip-hop in the classroom to build better understanding of science

July 24, 2021

Teachers often don’t know how to make science relevant, and many students of color fail to develop a science identity.

What to ask during your faculty interview
Professional Development

What to ask during your faculty interview

July 21, 2021

“Going into your interview armed with good questions not only will help you gather intel to help you make the best decision for your career but also will help you stand above the competition.”

The STEM Academy: A necessary remedy to med school tunnel vision
Reimagining

The STEM Academy: A necessary remedy to med school tunnel vision

July 13, 2021

A one-week camp at the University of South Florida forged community as it introduced new students to the possibilities of a career in scientific research.

Merging biochemical and analytical training
Reimagining

Merging biochemical and analytical training

July 8, 2021

“(T)he pandemic revealed that while it is critical for us to specialize and have depth of knowledge in some domains, it is also essential that we cultivate some breadth in our skill set.”