The highly popular program is held at the ASCB Annual Meeting. The goals of the IAC Roundtable are to foster interactions between the U.S. and international attendees and to discuss science and policy issues of special significance for international attendees. Members of the IAC and ASCB Council facilitate discussions over lunch. Participants include international and U.S. graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
The International Research and Training Exchange Fair is held at the ASCB meeting on the first evening during the opening reception. Its goal is to enable attendees to learn about research, training and other opportunities in countries around the world, as well as about IAC activities.
iBioSeminars are highly popular, freely available seminars from outstanding scientists who host lectures of ongoing research in leading laboratories. iBioSeminars start with an extended introduction, making them accessible to nonspecialists and students, and then progress to cover current research.
A complementary initiative to iBioSeminars, iBioMagazine features short 10- to 15-minute videos focused on behind-the-scenes issues of science.
Since January 2007, IAC members and colleagues have written articles of interest to scientists around the world. Articles include the most recent, Cell Biology under the Puerto Rican Sun, Bridging the Gap: Cell Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa, Cell Biology in Argentina, and an upcoming article on cell biology in Israel and another article on India.
Through its membership in the IFCB, ASCB contributes travel funds for young scientists, many of whom are ASCB members, to attend IFCB’s yearly Congresses held around the world.
In light of the international constituency of ASCB, the IAC has pursued co-sponsorship of meetings abroad. This initiative began with a joint meeting with the European Cytoskeletal Forum titled “Dynamic Interplay between Cytoskeletal and Membrane Systems” held in Dijon, France.
IAC has begun exploring opportunities to secure funding to allow ASCB members to participate in co-teaching and contributing to scientific activities in Turkey.
A number of ASCB members have been teaching courses and workshops in Brazil and Uruguay. They have organized Pan-American Studies Institutes sponsored by NSF grants; other courses have been funded by South American agencies and EMBO. The next course will be offered in August 2010 in Rio de Janeiro.
One of our unique programs is our African teaching and research training program. ASCB has been fortunate to obtain a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to support this unique endeavor. A primary goal of the program is to teach young African researchers and teachers about modern cell biology, using web-based resources and other material that can help to enrich whatever textbook material is available.
To view the Nature Web-based interview about the ASCB/Carnegie Workshops with Grant PI Dick McIntosh, click here.
Books for Africa, in collaboration with numerous U.S. Embassies, now targets 35 universities in Egypt, Tunisia, the Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi, Swaziland, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Algeria. To date hundreds of textbooks of various kinds have been sent to African universities, advertising iBioSeminars and other ASCB resources.
Science education and research in India are experiencing an unprecedented stimulus. In addition to cutting-edge and exciting research at existing institutes, a number of new and exciting educational initiatives (IISERs) have been set into motion in the past four years. In addition, at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore, a new Stem Cell Biology Institute called inSTEM is being incubated. This initiative represents an exciting opportunity for ASCB members to join forces with Indian educators to help establish teaching and research programs.
We have also initiated contacts with our sister societies in the biosciences to form partnerships that will help coordinate and enhance the efforts of all.
Recognizing that there are wonderful initiatives that have been established outside of the ASCB IAC, we seek to form collaborations to enhance our efforts and those of others. A case in point is the Seeding Labs, a Cambridge, MA-based, nonprofit creating opportunities for researchers in the developing world to pursue high-impact science. Nina Dudnik, Founder and CEO of Seeding Labs, began this initiative as a student at Harvard Medical School in 2003, to reclaim surplus equipment from the university and other public and private research institutions. Since 2003, they have provided over $700,000 in scientific equipment to scientists in 16 countries. The labs that have received their equipment and support have subsequently published more than 60 articles in international journals, trained over 3,700 students, increased their research budgets 216% on average, and produced patents and public health interventions. Seeding Labs is also bringing scientists together across borders. This summer, faculty members from Kenya are upgrading their skills in labs in Boston as well as meeting colleagues across academia and industry. In the fall, graduate students and postdocs from Harvard Medical School will make the trip to Kenya to meet peers and teach. Through the combination of equipment, training, and professional networks, Seeding Labs aims to raise the caliber of research worldwide. The IAC is committed to help in these endeavors in any way we can.
The major objectives of the International Affairs Committee (IAC) are to serve ASCB’s international members and enhance their engagement in the Society, to reach out to international colleagues to promote scientific exchange, to contribute to building capacity in cell biology worldwide, transcend the complex political issues facing the world today, and set an example of how to cooperate productively, sharing ideas, and creatively moving forward.