Due to the pandemic, the Virtual SynCell2020 Symposium was held online in late-May with 715 registered virtual attendees. The symposium was held in place of the in-person International Conference on Engineering Synthetic Cells and Organelles, with the in-person conference now postponed to 2021. The virtual SynCell2020 Symposium was made possible by The University of New Mexico and the Max Planck School Matter to Life.
Other conference partners include the National Science Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the New Mexico Consortium.
Presentations at the 3 day symposium covered research on bottom-up synthetic cell biology currently underway in laboratories worldwide and highlighted broad program initiatives in the US and Europe. Speakers covered topics in assembly and study of cell-like compartments, artificial cytoskeleton formation, and cell-free protein synthesis methods.
Symposium feedback was enthusiastically positive, with attendees praising the quality of the speakers, the content, and the hard work and dedication of organizers to make this event possible despite the ever-changing pandemic situation.
Dr. Kate Adamala, Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota, presented on the capabilities of the Build-a-Cell network, an international consortium of researchers dedicated to advancing synthetic cell technologies. About the virtual symposium, she stated, “We had lively Twitter exchanges and follow-up discussions on Slack and Discord channels,” she said. “The organizers did an excellent job in all capacities of virtual conference technology, including creative arrangements for our group photos at the end.”
Virtual SynCell2020 Symposium by the numbers:
- 715 Virtual attendees
- Participants from 6 continents, 47 countries, and over 200 institutions
- A peak of 348 livestream attendees
- 1400+ views on YouTube
- 9000+ engagements on Twitter
SynCell2020 would not have been possible without the time and efforts of its Organizing Committee and the generous support from its partner organizations. From UNM, conference speakers included Vice President for Research Gabriel López (conference Chair), Prof. Susan Atlas (Session Moderator), Prof. Darko Stefanovic (Presenter) and Prof. Nick Carroll (Presenter).
SynCell2020 organizers and participants look forward to the planned in-person conference next year (SynCell2021) in Santa Fé, New Mexico.
You can read the entire article at: SynCell2020: A “Virtual” Success!