ASCB|EMBO Highlights Cell Biology Innovation

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What do phase transitions in neurological disease, superresolution imaging of living mammalian cells, and stem cells in bone marrow have in common? All of these topics (and more) will be addressed at the 2018 ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting and Conference on Cell Biology.

To be held Dec. 8-12 at the San Diego Convention Center, the annual event is hosted by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). This 58th annual meeting will host more than 6000 cell scientists from around the world, along with over 200 exhibitors.

The 2018 ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting and Conference on Cell Biology will host more than 6000 cell scientists from around the world, along with over 200 exhibitors.

The 2018 ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting and Conference on Cell Biology will host more than 6000 cell scientists from around the world, along with over 200 exhibitors.

Program co-chairs are Thomas Langer of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, Germany, and Samara Reck-Peterson of the University of California, San Diego and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

ASCB, an international community of biologists dedicated to advancing scientific discovery in the field of cell biology, will focus in this field and explore other specialized fields such as neurobiology and stem cell biology.

Sean J. Morrison, director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern/HHMI, will present the keynote lecture at the conference — Niches for Stem Cells in Bone Marrow. The talk focuses on how the microenvironment in bone marrow regulates stem cell maintenance and tissue regenerations. Morrison’s research has shown that blood-forming stem cells take up more vitamin C than other types of blood-forming cells, and that vitamin C is also needed to promote the mechanisms that regulate stem cell function.


There will be eight symposia on topics ranging from nuclear organization and neuronal cell biology to cytoskeletal dynamics and organelle communication.

One notable symposium — Superresolution Imaging of Transcription in Living Mammalian Cells — will be presented by Ibrahim I. Cissé of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His lab uses physical techniques to observe fleeting interactions of living cells. This symposium will describe a method of visualizing that is part of the multistep process of gene activation in transcription, according to Mary Spiro of the ASCB.

Another symposium — Imaging Leukocyte Dynamics in Vivo — will be presented by Anna Huttenlocher of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She will discuss the optical transparency of zebra fish larvae in imaging cell migration during wound repair, and the heterotypic cell-cell interactions and extracellular cues that mediate interstitial cell migration and resolution of inflammation.

In addition to the 19 symposia, there will be 23 minisymposia and 18 microsymposia for attendees. Topics of the minisymposia vary and include Patterning Tissue Morphogenesis, presented by Lucy O’Brien of Stanford University and Matthew Gibson of the Stowers Institute; and Host-Pathogen Interactions, presented by Shaeri Mukherjee of the University of California, San Francisco and Nihal Altan-Bonnet of the National Lung, Heart, and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Microsymposia topics include Cell Cycle and Signaling, Tissue Architecture and Mechanics, and Regulation of Membrane Trafficking.


The ASCB|EMBO meeting will feature three scientific workshops in addition to minisymposia, including New Fluorescent Probes and High-Throughput Imaging Approach, organized by Brenda Andrews of the University of Toronto and Luke Lavis of Janelia/HHMI; and Electron Cryo-Tomography and Correlated Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM), organized by Wanda Kukulski of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Martin Pilhofer of ETH Zurich. These workshops aim to provide in-depth technical information on new techniques and tools for modern cell biology.

In addition, several award lectures will be held to recognize outstanding contributors in the discipline of cell biology. The awards include the ASCB E.E. Just Award, to be granted to Guillermina Lozano of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. An ASCB Porter Lecture will be held, featuring Ruth Lehmann of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, who will present Germ Cells Are Forever.

The meeting will offer career enhancement programming, 26 member-organized special interest subgroups, and more than 2700 poster presentations. Subgroups include Machine Learning in Cell Biology, led by Kwonmoo Lee of Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and Patterning the Cytoskeleton: PTMs, MAPs, ABPs, presented by Antonina Roll-Mecak of the National Institutes of Health and Kristen Verhey of the University of Michigan.

Satellite events will also be hosted in partnership with the ASCB, including the 4D Nucleome (4DN) network’s Bridging the 4D Genome with Cell Biology, which will feature recent advances and technologies in research of the higher order chromatin organization in eukaryotic cells.

Throughout the event, exhibitors — among them the Allen Institute for Cell Science, Double Helix Optics, and Carl Zeiss Microscopy — will be hosting Exhibitor Tech Talks. During these talks, presenters will discuss relevant topics in their field and introduce new cutting-edge technologies.

A wide variety of exhibitors will also showcase the latest technology and research on cell biology, including Applied Bio Physics Inc., Carl Zeiss Microscopy, Chroma Technology Corp., Double Helix Optics, Hamamatsu Corp., Lipotype GmbH, Nikon Instruments Inc., Oxford Nanoimaging Ltd., Vector Laboratories Inc., and RayBiotech Inc.

For more information about the ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting and Conference on Cell Biology, visit

Published: October 2018
American Society for Cell BiologyEuropean Molecular Biology OrganizationASCBEMBOMax Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing-CologneUniversity of California San DiegoHoward Hughes Medical InstituteHHMIcell biologystem cellsneurobiologyImagingIbrahim I. CisséSean J. Morrison4DFeaturesBiophotonics

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