Wednesday, May 22, 2013

From the Vice-President: 2013 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo

Steve Hill, longtime member and AOCS Vice President, provides his first installments as a guest blogger. Thank you Steve for writing and sharing your experiences. And, as always, thank you for reading!

This is first of what I hope will be an every-few-months blog posting from the AOCS Vice President.  This first installment is focused on the 2013 AOCS Annual Meeting in Montréal.

How I spent my time at the 2013 Annual Meeting. ..
Steve Hill- AOCS VP

The weather was beautiful, the location charming and the Palais des congrès a perfect host for the meeting, although my legs and feet got a work out with the walking between hotel and meeting rooms.  But that just helped offset the wonderful meals I had in the great Montréal restaurants. I thought the 2013 meeting was excellent.  The talks I attended were well organized, delivered in the allotted time (a chair’s delight!) and attendance was high, even at 4:00 Wednesday! 

Monday highlights for me included the extremely engaging Forum discussion on new US patent laws (delivered with expertise by Paul Tully).  Then I was off to the Business Lunch, which I think is a wonderful improvement over the Breakfast version.  The President’s address was the right length, and how about those acrobats?  Not something I expected, but really amazing.  I saw some well delivered honored student award presentations (you all did great!!).  The reception in the Expo Hall was great, we just need more attendees to walk the floor and check out the great products and services from the exhibitors. I ended the day socializing at the joint EAT/Phospholipid Division reception followed by the Health and Nutrition Dinner. At the H&N dinner, we heard the very interesting talk from Dr.  Michael Lewis, Founder and President, Brain Health Education and Research Institute, titled "Severe Head Injury: Is There a Role for Omega-3s?". In addition to several well-deserved student awards, Dr Emkin was awarded the Ralph Holman Award.  Well-deserved Ed!  Somehow, I ended up everyday spending time with Dr Emkin.  Our talks ranged from DHA fortified cheese to shooting clay pigeons (very diverse interests).

Tuesday, I had the pleasure of hearing “the ramblings of an old chemist” (his title not my commentary) from Dr. Michael Eskin, the 2013 Alton E. Baily award winner.  My only question is where were all the no-shows for the USA section luncheon?  Not only did you miss the great talk from Dr. Eskins, but also an address from Honored Student and Kaunitz award winner Leann Barden from UMass.  Speaking of award winners, congratulations to all of you!  At the Awards session, Dr Marengoi delivered passionate talk on fat crystallization and Dr Garti spoke to some very innovative approaches to deliver novel compounds.  Again, I saw some honored student award presentations and was impressed.  Being a Kraft employee, I am always interested in seeing some applications in products like Cream Cheese – DHA fortification…hmmm sounds like a winner. I attended a Governing Board alumni reception in the President’s hotel room.  Something to look forward to hosting in a few years.  Great to see some folks I haven’t seen in 10+ years – Ed Campbell, you looked great!

Wednesday we had sessions, poster viewing and a few division/ section luncheons as well as the student meeting and luncheon. My day started off early with a Business Committee meeting at 7:00.  This is an AOCS committee that looks at all the financial aspects of the society.  I am happy to report everything looked in order.  Phil Bolheimer chairs the committee with the president and treasurer on the team.  After attending a few talks, I had lunch with the future of AOCS – the Student Common Interest Group (CIG).  At this lunch, the Student CIG conducted a business meeting, led by Utkarsh Shah from the University of Arkansas.  Following some comments from several AOCS members, each table was able to have a group mentoring discussion between students and AOCS members.  This is an annual event and I encourage all students to take advantage of the lunch session.  But, you don’t need to have a scheduled event to connect with AOCS members – this is one of the great aspects of AOCS, connections between people from around the world, representing many disciplines.  Just introduce yourself to others at the annual meeting and you will be surprised at the benefits this approach will bring.

Later in the day, I attended the the Governing Board meeting.  At this meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Tsumadori from Kao Corp.  One of my new connections among people near and far.   That was the way the meeting ended for me.  Once again, I had a great experience at the AOCS annual meeting.  The staff did a great job organizing and running a world-class meeting and from what I heard, everyone received value from the event.

In my next blog post, I will describe my experiences being taught the AOCS VP responsibilities.

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