Contributed by Adam Terris, Association Coordinator
The ISBER 2017 Annual Meeting took place in the bustling city of Toronto, Canada from May 9-12 with delegates coming from across the globe for the conference. On the banks of Lake Ontario, a whole host of activities took place over the four days in which around 700 people attended from a variety of biobanking fields.
The ISBER 2017 Annual Meeting kicked off on Tuesday, May 9 with the first of seven symposia, “Polar Shift: How Biobanking is Changing Our Thinking and the World” including a keynote speech from Hannes Dempewolf (Crop Trust). You can view the live webcast of the opening session here. In the Exhibit Hall, delegates were able to visit booths for the 66 exhibitors as well as enjoy the great abstract poster submissions. There were over 200 abstracts submitted this year resulting in 24 oral presentations as well as 162 posters! All of the submitted abstracts are now available online in Biopreservation and Biobanking. Symposia 2A and 2B, which covered the topics of returning research results and handling liquid biospecimens, were also included in a packed first day along with a special topics session on emerging technologies in biobanking.
It was an early rise on Wednesday May 10 for the 63 delegates who took part in the ISBER 2017 5K Run/Walk/Sleep, which set off at 6am just outside the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel on the edge of Lake Ontario. The race was won by Kaj Rydman with a speedy time of 21 minutes and 30 seconds. The race was officially started by this year’s Travel Award Winner, Rogers Kisuule who finished 6th in the race! Wednesday’s sessions included a fantastic Lunch Corporate Symposium from Global Specimen Solutions and the Innovative Technologies session, which gave delegates the chance to hear about some interesting new products and developments in the industry. As well as these sessions there were also concurrent Symposia 3A and 3B, which focused on sustainability and quality.
This year’s ISBER Gala Dinner was once again sold out! The popular event was held at the breathtaking Casa Loma with 210 delegates joining in the fun. The evening included music from Juno winner jazz group Richard Underhill Trio, a buffet with a wide choice of delicious food and not to mention some great dancing from delegates!
Thursday was also a busy day for the scientific program starting with workshops, part of the Annual Meeting for the first time, as well as contributed paper sessions.
On the final day of the conference, delegates were treated to two more symposia on Global Threats in LMICs and Data. ISBER also welcomed the new President (2017-2018) Zisis Kozlakidis at the ISBER 2017 Annual Business Meeting. Recognition was also given to the 2017 ISBER award winners including:
- ISBER Founder’s Award (Sponsored by Chart MVE) – Phil Baird
- ISBER Award for Outstanding Achievement in Biobanking (Sponsored by Worthington Industries) – Allison Hubel
- ISBER Distinguished Leadership and Service Award – Kathy Sexton
- ISBER Special Service Awards – Debra Garcia and Daniel Simeon-Dubach
- Travel Award – Rogers Kisuule
There were also prizes to be won by delegates at the ISBER Annual Business Meeting. Ceola Weir was the prize draw winner from the ISBER 2017 Mobile App and Lary Klein was the lucky person selected from the Mobile App users. Each of our lucky delegates won an Apple TV!
After an amazing time in Toronto, ISBER is already looking ahead to a busy year. ISBER will be presenting at CRYO 2017 in Hefei, China in July before joining forces with ESBB and BBMRI-ERIC to host the first ever Global Biobank Week in Stockholm, Sweden from September 13-15, 2017! Not to mention plans are already underway for what promises to be a fantastic ISBER Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas from May 8-11, 2018! We hope to see everyone at the upcoming meetings!
If you’d like to see more about the ISBER 2017 Annual Meeting in Toronto, click here to visit our past meetings website which includes access to the Abstract Book, photos, the program and e-posters!