We’ve got a new way of meeting
I have what might be called an armchair interest in logistics; I don’t want to have to plan anything huge or intricate, but I’d like to know how it’s done. That’s why, when I first got to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology back in May 2017, I was curious about the annual meeting. Everyone in the office was still buzzing about that year’s meeting in Chicago, and I wanted to know how all the pieces came together for the society’s big event.
My boss humored me and let me interview Joan Geiling, who at that point had been the society’s meetings manager for 14 years, for a behind-the-scenes article about how the annual meeting came together and how it sometimes almost didn’t. Geiling — along with the meetings committee, members of the ASBMB staff and at least one indispensable events company employee — handled challenges that ranged from a volcano eruption canceling air travel to a comic book character wandering into a banquet.
Fast forward three years, and the world has changed a bit. In 2020, no one with an ounce of concern for public health would schedule an enormous meeting in a convention center. And the ASBMB just happens to have a new meetings manager who knows how to juggle everything in a new way — virtually. Roya Jaseb was weighing the benefits of online events long before a new coronavirus was transmitted to a human being last winter in a Hunan marketplace. Roya’s forethought and preparation are paying off now as the society plans for its first online annual meeting and schedules multiple smaller meetings, all using a new virtual platform.
ASBMB Today staff writer John Arnst interviewed Roya and others to explain the society’s new way of hosting meetings. Read all about it here and find out how you can participate. Just image: If you want to plan or attend a meeting now, you don’t need to book a flight or pack a bag. You can just log onto your laptop and be part of sharing all the best science the ASBMB community has to offer.
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Vaccination arose in the 18th century during a frenzied period of trial and error, in which many didn't survive a trip to the doctor. If you squint a little, it looks a lot like the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak.