In my first message to the ASGCT membership as president of the Society, I want to thank the more than 4,700 attendees at the ASGCT 22nd Annual Meeting last week. I would also like to personally thank Dr. Michele Calos for her fantastic work as ASGCT President throughout the past year and to commend her for planning a wonderful Annual Meeting under challenging circumstances.
As many of you know, the growth and enthusiasm surrounding our field has surpassed even our most optimistic expectations. Though we experienced some growing pains related to the crowds we drew and the space available to us in the hotel, I recognize the need for ASGCT to expand and cannot wait to share news about our space for the 2020 Annual Meeting, the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. I also want to take a moment to express my deep gratitude to the ASGCT staff for their long hours, hard work, and overall accomplishment in managing the Annual Meeting and the difficulties that came with the growth of the event. This is an exciting moment, and one we choose to greet as an opportunity to welcome interest from industry, support our young investigators, advocate for the work of our members, and make this incredible growth sustainable for years to come.
The increase in industry representation at the Annual Meeting during the past two years has been impressive, but not entirely surprising. The groundbreaking translational work from ASGCT members has brought attention to the promise of our field from around the world. As I read from one of our members quoted in a news story from the Annual Meeting, “there is no disease off the table.”
I welcome biotech companies and investors to this and all future ASGCT Annual Meetings and look forward to developing tools and services to best facilitate their connection with our members’ research.
To help with those connections, ASGCT opens applications for our second year of Career Development Grants on June 1. All told, we will distribute $300,000 to associate members working to advance their careers towards independence. You’ll also be hearing more about the upcoming ASGCT Policy Summit. ASGCT will lead the way in legislative, global regulatory, and genomic ethics discussions over three full days of meetings this November.
Finally, I’m excited to begin announcing the results of the 2019 strategic plan. Following a number of committee discussions and the in-person board of directors meeting at the Annual Meeting, the Strategic Planning Committee has developed a three-year vision to establish ASGCT as a leading voice in the scientific community. With this plan, I fully expect our meteoric rise to continue sustainably and for the foreseeable future. I’m excited and honored to lead this inspiring group of scientists into the 23rd Annual Meeting in the heart of the biotech valley of Boston, our return to the sprawling space of a convention center, and to see this Society truly spread its wings in 2020.