Biophysical Society Bulletin | November 2021
Evolution of the BPS Annual Meeting
The First National Biophysics Conference was held in Columbus, OH in 1957. From 1957 to 2020, in-person meetings were a consis- tent and regular highlight of the year for the Biophysical Society (BPS) and our thousands of members and attendees from around the world. For those of you who joined us in San Diego in February 2020, perhaps you recall that BPS Lecturer Sunney Xie came to us virtually from China? Travel bans were just starting and the coronavirus, though prolifer- ating, had not yet been declared a pandemic. In 2021, holding face-to-face scientific conferences was nearly impossible due to COVID-19, and many organizations, including BPS,
Besides the recorded content being available on-demand, scientific posters from BPS 2022 will be available in an online poster gallery to anyone registering for either the in-person meeting or the on-demand content. The online poster gallery is in addition to the face-to-face poster sessions in San Fran- cisco and should broaden the impact of poster presenters by making their posters viewable in advance of the meeting and accessible to their colleagues who are unable to attend. More information about the poster gallery will be available after the abstract programming is completed in late November. Along with the processes and systems to support the on-de- mand content, the in-person meeting presents some chal- lenges that did not exist for prior meetings. Keeping attend- ees safe from COVID-19 is a priority for both BPS and the city of San Francisco. Currently, San Francisco requires proof of vaccination for all large, indoor events, which includes BPS 2022. We will be working with a vendor to collect and validate vaccination information in advance of the meeting. When you receive our emails about vaccine verification, please respond! Providing your information ahead of time will be essential to making your onsite badge pickup and getting you to your first session a smooth process. In late September, the US government announced an easing of travel restrictions, opening its borders to international travelers vaccinated with a US Food and Drug Administra- tion- or World Health Organization-approved vaccine. The timing of the news was critical, as we had heard from many international members who, wondering if they would be able to travel, were unsure if they should submit an abstract by the October 1 deadline. We quickly sent messages to mem- bers and prospective attendees letting them know about the changing restrictions. The announcement provided some relief and bolstered abstract submissions. If you haven’t sub- mitted an abstract yet, we invite you to submit a late abstract before January 6! Our Annual Meeting has evolved over 65 years and, despite adaptations such as recording sessions for on-demand viewing, enabling an online poster gallery, and implementing a vaccination verification system, the core of the BPS Annual Meeting remains the same: outstanding science accompanied by a first-rate exhibit hall, numerous professional develop- ment and career opportunities, lively poster sessions and competitions, inclusive networking events, and more. San Francisco remains one of the most popular Annual Meeting locations and we can’t wait to reconnect with you!
hosted their annual meetings virtually. While it was not pos- sible to replicate online all the symposia, networking events, committee programs, and collaborating opportunities that are so loved at the BPS Annual Meeting, we were able to host five days of outstanding science with Subgroup “Monday,” platform talks, posters, and a handful of special sessions such as the BPS Lecture and the President’s Symposium on Building an Inclusive Biophysical Society. Despite positive feedback about the virtual event, the number one comment we received on the post-meeting survey was some version of “I can’t wait to meet in-person again!” As we reported in the July/August issue of the BPS Bulletin , Council and the Annual Meeting Program Chairs met virtually for Spring Council to discuss the format for the 2022 Annual Meeting. At that time, vaccines were becoming more readily available, restrictions were easing, and optimism was high that the pandemic was coming under control. We decided to move ahead with the in-person meeting in San Francisco. Recognizing that not everyone would be able to travel, Council decided that the symposia on Subgroup Saturday in San Fran- cisco would be recorded and offered on-demand after the meeting. Recordings of the BPS Lecture, the award talks, and the workshops will also be available online after the meeting. Council did consider whether live-streaming sessions during the Annual Meeting would be feasible, but that option was extremely cost-prohibitive, as it would have nearly doubled the expense of the in-person event.
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