SfN Council Review Neuroscience 2021, 50th Anniversary Activities
The SfN Council held its fall meeting over three virtual sessions in November 2021 to meet with committee chairs, plan for leadership transitions, approve new award selection committee members, and recap Neuroscience 2021. The fall Council meetings are reserved for reviewing the activities and priorities of SfN’s committees over the previous year and hearing about upcoming plans for 2022. This meeting allowed Council to hear what committees focused on in 2021, how they participated in Neuroscience 2021, and discuss opportunities for member engagement over the next year.
Neuroscience 2021: Breaking New Ground Virtually
SfN hosted its first fully virtual annual meeting from November 8–11. Neuroscience 2021 Preview Days were held from 3–7 and, following the meeting, on-demand content was available through the end of November.
Nearly 14,000 individuals registered for Neuroscience 2021 and took part in the 9,000 poster presentations and wide array of lectures, symposia, panel discussions, and more. Attendees were able to submit questions to presenters during live sessions and vote on questions of highest interest to support scientific exchange with presenters. The Neuroscience 2021 program was developed and managed for two years by the Program Committee with the leadership of Chair Sheena Josselyn and incoming Chair Ellen Lumpkin to encompass the full breadth of neuroscience research and global diversity of SfN’s membership.
SfN recognized 24 distinguished scientists with 18 awards and prizes in 2021. Two new prizes were awarded this year: the Peter Seeburg Integrative Neuroscience Prize and the Jennifer N. Bourne Prize in Brain Ultrastructure. The Seeburg Prize was endowed by the Schaller-Nikolich Foundation and recognizes outstanding advances in the understanding of executive brain functions and cognitive processes. The Bourne Prize is funded by Kristen M. Harris, PhD, and recognizes an early-career neuroscientist for outstanding work that advances the understanding of brain structure and structure-function relationships at the nanometer scale.
Neuroscience 2022 will take place in San Diego from November 12–16, 2022. Information regarding session proposals and abstract submission can be found on SfN’s website.
A Completion of SfN’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
SfN began planning for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2017 around two key principles: that activities honor historic achievements for the Society while also embodying a forward-looking theme, and that the voices of trainee members be elevated alongside SfN’s leaders. A 50th Anniversary Working Group was convened with members representing a multitude of career states and research specialties to guide planning efforts.
The Working Group Co-Chairs, Magda Giordano and Larry Swanson, joined councilors to review some of the many events and initiatives hosted in honor of 50 years of SfN. The successful Life of a Neuron exhibit was launched in partnership with ARTECHOUSE and engages audiences in the cellular processes that make our life experiences possible. JNeurosci published a 50th anniversary collection featuring authors who attended SfN’s first meeting alongside trainee authors. A podcast series was launched on Neuronline that showcased SfN’s historical growth through conversations with past, current, and future leaders from the perspective of global advocacy, scientific discovery, community building, and more. A 50-year history chronicling stories and significant moments in the Society’s existence was published and is available in both print and digital formats. Members of SfN’s Trainee Advisory Committee participated in a video redelivering Vernon Mountcastle’s inaugural Presidential Address to honor fifty years of scientific achievement and consider SfN’s future path.
The 50th anniversary was successfully carried out in accordance with its objectives despite the turbulence of the pandemic. SfN looks forward to continuing its pursuit of advancing scientific exchange and supporting the global neuroscience community to encourage the growth of the field. Council expresses its gratitude for the members of the 50th Anniversary Working Group who help shaped the celebration and thanked SfN’s leaders and members for their role in commemorating this milestone for the Society.
Supporting Trainee Members
The pandemic has been particularly challenging for trainee and early-career scientists who come to SfN to share their research and establish lasting connections with fellow scientists. The decision to pivot to a fully virtual Neuroscience 2021 was a disappointment for trainees and SfN’s Council shared that sentiment. The Chairs of the Trainee Advisory Committee (TAC) met with Council and affirmed their shared commitment to creating a valuable experience for student and early career members of SfN that effectively aligns with their professional needs and interests. Council will continue to engage TAC in matters affecting the trainee community for their input and perspective to ensure that trainees continue finding meaning in membership with SfN.