William B. Coleman, PhD
In the Spring of 1993, in New Orleans, Louisiana, a new multi-society, interdisciplinary, collaborative scientific meeting was held for the first time as Experimental Biology. The meeting consisted of the co-located Annual Meetings of five scientific societies affiliated with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB): the American Association of Immunologists (AAI), the American Physiological Society (APS), the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), and the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP). In 1994, the Experimental Biology meeting expanded to six host Societies with the addition of the American Association for Anatomy (AAA), and in 2005, the Experimental Biology meeting expanded to seven host Societies with the addition of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). ASBMB had participated in the Experimental Biology meetings from 2001-2003 as a guest society. Between 2000-2008, AAI participated in the meeting during select years, and then withdrew completely after Experimental Biology 2008. Following Experimental Biology 2017, ASN withdrew and moved to a stand-alone meeting. Over the years, numerous guest societies have participated in the Experimental Biology meeting enriching it with broader multidisciplinary science. ASIP’s recent guest societies include the American Society for Matrix Biology (ASMB), the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP), The Histochemical Society (HCS), The Society for Cardiovascular Pathology (SCVP), the Italian Society of Pathology and Translational Medicine (SIPMeT), and the Society for Toxicologic Pathology (STP).
I attended that first Experimental Biology meeting as a postdoctoral fellow, completely unaware that it was the inaugural event of the series of meetings that followed and is now over 25 years-old. Prior to 1993, I had attended other large joint meetings (involving some of these same Societies) and incorrectly assumed that these prior meetings must have also been “experimental biology” meetings. Since 1993, the ASIP has participated in every Experimental Biology meeting with the exception of 1996 (when the ASIP met jointly with two other groups). Hence, Experimental Biology has been the home of the ASIP Annual Meeting for a very long time. Whereas I have not attended every Experimental Biology meeting since 1993, like so many longstanding ASIP members I have attended most and I value the many opportunities that our Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology has provided to me as an ASIP member. The ASIP scientific program, and associated career development and educational events, are always very well planned and exceptional in content. The meeting provides a venue for our members at every stage of career to present their original research and network with other members of the pathology research community. It is always a great event.
In 2019, 26 years after the birth of the Experimental Biology meeting, we find ourselves at a crossroads related to the future of our Annual Meeting. The bad news is that the American Physiological Society (APS) has decided, after considerable study and feedback from their membership, to withdraw from the Experimental Biology meeting. In future years, APS will establish their own world-class meeting for the global physiology community. The good news is that APS will continue to meet with Experimental Biology through 2022. Hence, we can look forward to three more years of the kind of multidisciplinary meeting we have had since 1993. Experimental Biology 2020 will be held in San Diego, California, and our organizing committees (Program Committee, Committee for Career Development and Diversity, and Education Committee) have assembled an exceptional program of scientific sessions and educational/career development events (http://asip20.asip.org/). Experimental Biology 2021 will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the organizing committees are already hard at work planning the scientific sessions and other events. The site for Experimental Biology 2022 has not yet been selected, but promises to be another outstanding meeting.
So…what happens after Experimental Biology 2022? The ASIP Council has been discussing possibilities for our future Annual Meetings for over 6 months (based upon the possibility that APS might withdraw from Experimental Biology). While no decisions have been made as of yet, we have several excellent possibilities for future ASIP Annual Meetings. One possibility is that we will continue to meet with other FASEB Societies in a meeting that is similar to Experimental Biology. There’s the possibility that such a meeting might be called something else, and could involve new and different groups representing other scientific disciplines. Another possibility is that we exploit the great successes and best practices of our stand-alone PISA meetings (http://asip.org/meetings/pisa_past.cfm) in the development of a stand-alone Annual Meeting. The PISA meetings have proven to be very popular and we look forward to the next PISA meeting in November of 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. A third possibility is that we would partner with some new groups (with common interests) to develop collaborative meetings. In the near future, we will conduct a survey for feedback on what types of meetings would be most ideal for advancement of our members’ research, educational, and career development needs and goals. Once this member feedback is in hand, we will move swiftly to make decisions related to 2023 and beyond.
The ASIP Annual Meeting is an important member benefit and it is of tremendous value to members at every career stage. The ASIP Annual Meeting is where we meet our peers in the pathology research community, present our research, and expand our knowledge and skills through scientific sessions, educational events, and career development activities. The Experimental Biology meeting has been good for ASIP members and the ASIP Annual Meeting. It is regrettable to consider that the Experimental Biology may cease to exist. However, from our perspective and looking towards the future, we will focus on the exciting possibilities for continued excellence in our scientific meetings and innovative new ways to expand our Annual Meeting to better serve our membership. We can all look forward to making this new journey together.
For now, make your plans to join us in San Diego for Experimental Biology 2020 and Boston for PISA 2020!