Newsstand Menu

Going virtual, gaining participants

photo of the Meetings and Courses Program AV staff in control room
The CSHL Audio Visual staff working a virtual meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

image of the Harbor Transcript logo Summer 2021 edition

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no in-person meetings or courses were possible since March 2020. But Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s (CSHL) Meetings & Courses Program continued to bring together researchers from around the world, albeit virtually. Here is how:

  • Meetings quickly pivoted to a virtual format. The result was an expansion in the number and diversity of participants. More than 15,000 people participated, including more women, young investigators, and underrepresented minorities than in previous years. They attended from more than 80 countries, compared to 50 countries in the prior year.
  • A series of three Rapid Research Reports conferences on COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 was held from June to August attracting nearly 500 people per conference. A fourth meeting in the series was hosted by CSHL Asia in November 2020.
  • At the CSHL campus on Long Island, NY, advanced scientific courses were offered in condensed virtual formats, including courses on ion channels, pancreatic cancer, proteomics, scientific writing, and sequencing technologies and bioinformatics analysis.
  • In previous years, the CRISPR meeting attracted about 400 scientists to campus, but this year it connected a virtual community of about 750 participants from around the world. It was first organized in 2015 by Jennifer Doudna, who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doudna has spoken at five Symposia (including the 2019 Dorcas Cummings lecture), many other meetings, and the crystallography course.

In other news, Meetings & Courses postponed the 85th Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Symposium until 2021. The Cold Spring Harbor Asia Program in Suzhou, China suspended in-person operations in January 2020 due to COVID-19. Virtual conferences were offered later in the year, including the COVID meeting and another on single-cell genomics.

Stay informed

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest discoveries, upcoming events, videos, podcasts, and a news roundup delivered straight to your inbox every month.

  Newsletter Signup