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WHAT'S NEW  ::  CSM & Microbiology

CSM & Microbiology

December 28, 2017
CSM President Letter - December 2017

Dear Collegues,

We are coming to the end of another successful year for our Society. I wanted to take this opportunity to mention some important points as we look forward to 2018.

The Society functions and thrives because of the involvement and contributions made by its Members. Please consider serving the Society by volunteering for one of the positions that need to be filled in 2018, listed below. Information about each position can be found on the nomination form on the CSM website:

  • 2nd Vice President
  • Graduate Student Representative on Executive
  • Postdoctoral Fellow Representative on Executive

The Organizing Committee for the 2018 Annual Conference, held this year at the University of Manitoba on 18-21 June, are hard at work putting together an exciting program for attendees and an overview of the program is now available. The program has been carefully designed to include sessions that will address everyone's research interests, featuring distinguished speakers from Canada and the USA. Also, and for the first time, a session dedicated to Indigenous Health will be included in the program.

Deadlines for important events related to the Conference, such as abstract deadline for the student competitions and regular abstracts submissions, are also on the website. Important parts of the Conference are also the Award Lectures for the Murray Award for Career Achievement, Fisher Scientific Award, and Armand-Frappier Outstanding Student Award. Do you know of individuals deserving of these awards? Nominate them! The deadline for nominations is April 18, 2018. Nominations are also welcomed for Honourary Memberships.

Our Society is currently thriving, with our highest ever membership numbers (more than 700!) and a string of tremendous Annual Conferences to our credit. Our Past President, Christine Szymanski, initiated discussions with the Membership this year, via our teleconference with University Representatives and through a survey conducted at the Annual General Meeting, about possible ways the Society can use our current strong financial position to benefit Members in the most useful ways. A strength of our Society is its focus on opportunities for trainees and there was very strong support for increased travel support for trainees to attend the Annual Conference. Therefore, we will be starting a new initiative this year that will allocate funding for trainee travel to the 2018 Conference in Winnipeg. Stay tuned for updates on this initiative associated with future announcements regarding the Conference.

If you attended this year's Murray Award Lecture by Sylvain Moineau from the Université de Laval, you heard that 2017 marked the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of bacteriophages by Félix d'Hérelle. It is with sadness that I note the passing of two bacteriophage research pioneers, Drs. Hans Ackermann from the Université de Laval and Roger Hendrix from the University of Pittsburgh. I thank Sylvain Moineau for his tribute to these two scientists, which can be found on the CSM website.

Two reports that highlight the importance of fundamental research in Canada have been released this year. Canada's Fundamental Science Report, also known as the Naylor Report, was commissioned by the Government of Canada and its key recommendations were the creation of the National Advisory Council on Research and Innovation and reinvestment in operating grants through the Tri-Council. Details about the Report can be found on the CSM website. The second report, Restoring Canada's Competitiveness in Fundamental Research: The View from the Bench, is from the Global Young Academy and it can also be found on the CSM website. Their key findings are that support for fundamental research in Canada plummeted between 2005 and 2015, and they estimate that there is an outstanding funding gap for fundamental research in Canada of $459 million. Taken together, these reports strongly recommend increased funding to Canada's major funding agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC). Now that these reports have been made public, it is imperative that we (the scientific community) support them. The Society Executive recently sent a letter to the Prime Minister and Minister of Science, and we urge you to also contact them and your individual MPs. The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences has some excellent suggestions for how to contact your MPs and what to write in the letter.

I wish you all the best for the holiday season and a terrific 2018!

Andrew Lang, CSM-SCM President
Memorial University of Newfoundland

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