Regional C elegans meetings

Leon Avery leon at EATWORMS.SWMED.EDU
Fri Sep 22 08:44:59 EST 1995


I hope I won't offend anyone by saying that I was disappointed with
the International C elegans meeting this year.  No one is to blame,
and I thought the organizers did a difficult job very well, but we are
just getting too big.  There has been some discussion already about
how to rescue the International Meeting, and I have nothing to add to
it now.

Instead, I've been thinking about the off-year meetings.  I believe
these have now solidified into a regular pattern of five meetings held
in early summer in even-numbered years: Japan, Europe, West Coast USA,
Midwest USA, and East Coast USA.  These meetings are a lot of fun,
like the Cold Spring Harbor Meetings used to be.  They're small enough
that you can see everything and talk to everyone, and everyone who
wants to talk can.  I like it also that they aren't organized by
subject.  There is a thing that makes the C elegans community special:
although we all work on our individual problems, most of us see
ourselves as part of an effort to understand the whole animal.  People
who work on synaptic transmission want to hear about sex
determination, and vice versa.

The problem with the off-year meetings is that each reaches only part
of the community.  I'm wondering if we can't do something to make all
of them together seem like a sort of single distributed meeting.  I
would propose, to start off with, that:

(1) Each of the five meetings should require abstracts for all
    presentations.

(2) The programs and abstracts of all the meetings should be made
    available in advance from a single source in a single format.  By
    "single source" I don't mean to imply publication from only one
    place: they could be published on WWW, acedb, WCS, and paper.  I
    just mean that one shouldn't have to look in different places for
    different meetings.

(3) Very shortly after the meeting ends someone, presumably the
    organizers, should prepare a meeting report focusing on new
    results not in the abstracts and put this in the same places the
    abstracts and the programs are.

I volunteer the UTSW C elegans WWW server for electronic abstract
collection, and for distribution of programs, abstracts, and reports.

I would really like to do something more: I'd like there to be a
computer connected to the Internet at every meeting, and I'd like some
kind of real-time meeting report to be published as the meeting
progresses, so that people at home in their labs could have a sense of
attending.  Perhaps questions for the speakers could even be e-mailed,
collected before each session, read to the speakers, and the answers
posted after each session.  This would mean a lot of work for someone,
and I don't expect it to happen.  It may be possible for the 1998
meetings to publish real-time audio of all the talks over the
Internet, but I doubt we could do that for the upcoming meetings.

-- 
Leon Avery					   (214) 648-2420 (office)
Department of Biochemistry			            -2768 (lab)
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center             -8856 (fax)
5323 Harry Hines Blvd				   leon at eatworms.swmed.edu
Dallas, TX  75235-9038			  http://eatworms.swmed.edu/~leon/





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