The American Society for Cell Biology Looks to Convert Research into Reality

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The 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference of the American Society for Cell Biology and European Molecular Biology Organization (ASCB|EMBO) will be held Dec. 7-11 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Attendees will learn about the structure and interaction of cells in a series of workshops titled, “From Single Molecules to Understanding of the Cellular Processes Using Biophysical Methods,” “Recent Advances in Single-Cell Transcriptomics,” and “Optogenetics & Imaging Techniques.” In the optogenetics session, organized by Michael Lampson of the University of Pennsylvania and Ricardo Henriques of the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, participants will be updated on the technical implementation of superresolution microscopy, functional imaging, and optogenetics in the observation of cellular activity.

From the Doorstep Meeting on genome instability and therapy to smaller group discussions on topics ranging from mitosis and meiosis to using advanced imaging to redefine cell and tissue biology, leaders and learners in cell biology will have the opportunity to converse across specialty areas as they converge at this major networking event.

The 2019 ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting and Conference will convene around topics covering cells from all angles at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 7-11. Courtesy of the American Society for Cell Biology.

The 2019 ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting and Conference will convene around topics covering cells from all angles at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 7-11. Courtesy of the American Society for Cell Biology.

The Doorstep Meeting kicks off the annual event. Organized by Karlene Cimprich of the Stanford University School of Medicine and David Pellman of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the meeting will take place throughout the day on Saturday, Dec. 7. It will focus on the ongoing study of mechanisms by which cancer cells respond, and will include a slate of speakers such as Andrea Ablasser of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Samuel Bakhoum of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, James Chen of the University of Texas Southwestern, Irene Chiolo of the University of Southern California, Jan Lammerding of Cornell University, Serena Nik-Zainal of the University of Cambridge, and Michael Yaffe of MIT.

Elsewhere on the schedule, Bruce Stillman, president and CEO of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will give the keynote lecture, during which he will talk about his research into how chromosomes are duplicated in cells, ensuring genetic reproduction between generations.

Featured symposia will revolve around thought leaders in subjects including: “Beyond Figure 7: Integrating Modeling and Experiment in Cell Biology,” “Attack of the Killer Bugs: The Cell Biology of Infectious Disease,” “Decisions, Decisions: How Cells Choose Their Fates,” “21st Century Machinery: The Structure, Function, and Evolution of Protein Machines,” “What Blueprints Tell Us: How Genomics Informs Cell Biology,” “Getting from Here to There: Individual and Collective Cell Migrations,” “Google Maps of the Cell: Controlling Intracellular Traffic Flow and Direction,” and “D’Arcy Thompson at 100: Controlling Cell Shape and Function.”

A variety of special-interest subgroup discussions will also take place, in areas such as “Cell Biology Meets the Hippo Pathway” and “Machine Intelligence and Statistics in Cell Biology.” During the aforementioned Doorstep Meeting discussion on imaging to redefine the cell, one subgroup will consider the limitations in microscopy that help define the structure and function of cells. Organizers will go over such developments as gene editing and superresolution light microscopy and how they relate to past and future breakthroughs in cell biology.

As usual, attendees at this year’s ASCB|EMBO Annual Meeting can avail themselves of professional development programming, networking gatherings, a wide range of exhibitors, and even judged poster sessions for students and researchers looking for feedback on their specialties. Exhibitors will include AVR Optics, Carl Zeiss Microscopy LLC, Hamamatsu Corp., Mad City Labs Inc., Olympus America Inc., and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“ASCB and EMBO are deeply committed to helping individual scientists and scientific communities develop and grow. At our joint meeting, we offer a wide variety of professional development activities designed to foster the growth of both individuals and groups,” said 2019 ASCB president Andrew Murray, who is also the director of the NSF-Simons Center for the Mathematical and Statistical Analysis of Biology at Harvard University. “Career-focused workshops and hands-on sessions provide training and mentorship to people at all levels, with sessions on finding a graduate school, a postdoctoral lab, or a position in industry or academia; navigating through tenure; and how to write and review proposals and papers and produce more accurate and unbiased assessments of research and individuals competing for positions.”

ASCB|EMBO program organizers are Sue Jasperson, associate investigator at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, and Elly Tanaka, senior scientist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology.

The ASCB is an international community of biologists who are dedicated to advancing scientific discovery, advocating sound research policies, improving education, promoting professional development, and increasing diversity in the scientific workforce. EMBO is an organization of more than 1800 researchers whose goal is to promote research in the life sciences and facilitate international exchange between life scientists.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit

Published: October 2019
A discipline that combines optics and genetics to enable the use of light to stimulate and control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, which have been genetically modified to respond to light. Only the cells that have been modified to include light-sensitive proteins will be under control of the light. The ability to selectively target cells gives researchers precise control. Using light to control the excitation, inhibition and signaling pathways of specific cells or groups of...
gene editingAmerican Society for Cell BiologyEuropean Molecular Biology OrganizationASCBEMBOsingle moleculestranscriptomicsoptogeneticsImagingMedical Research Council for Molecular Biologysuperresolution microscopyfunctional imaginggenome instabilitymitosismeiosisStowers Institute for Medical ResearchInstitute of Molecular Pathologychromosomeshippo pathwayFeatures

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