Tuesday, June 2, 2020

BIO Division Virtual Round Table

Recently, the Biotechnology Division hosted its inaugural virtual round table. In attendance were 18 members, including one student and one postdoc, from all over the world, including Denmark, Japan, Canada, the USA and Chile.

Long (Joe) Zou, Division chairperson, led the meeting, joined by newsletter editor, Sarah Willet and two new members of the Executive Steering Committee (ESC), Todd Underiner and Yomi Watanbe, who joined from Japan, even though it was midnight! Joe joked that Yomi deserved the service award for dedication despite the late hour.

The meeting kicked off with some icebreakers where attendees shared something personal about themselves – like Joe sharing that he was in a band in college and played guitar and Todd sharing his plans to write a book.

In terms of Division business, Todd discussed the 2021 Technical Program Survey and then invited feedback from the group. Proposed topics included circular economy/sustainable solutions, including bioplastics, green chemistry and biopolymers; production of nutraceutic fatty acids in higher plants, algae, and micro-organisms; antimicrobial and antiviral protein and lipid using fermentation technology; and oleochemicals and biocatalysis. Attendees also suggested hosting a general session or Hot Topic on CRISPR Technology. From this meeting, Todd felt prepared to develop the Biotechnology Division sessions, but invited attendees to continue to provide ideas and feedback.

The Division also discussed the ever-evolving nature of science and how it is difficult to classify science anymore in one section or another. Science crosses these boundaries and is increasingly more interdisciplinary.

The Division also needs volunteers, including session chairs, award nominators, award evaluators and other positions. Contact Long (Joe) Zou for more details.

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