The Virtual SynCell2020 Symposium – the International Conference on Engineering Synthetic Cells and Organelles – was held online in late May of this year. The symposium was organized by The University of New Mexico and the Max Planck School Matter to Life – along with the National Science Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the New Mexico Consortium.

The three-day symposium provided a keynote lecture, speakers, tutorials for student researchers on cross-cutting techniques and tools, and closed with a panel discussion. Registered participants had the opportunity to submit questions to speakers and the sessions were live-streamed and recorded for later viewing. Attendees praised the quality of the speakers, the content, and the organizers’ hard work.

“We had lively Twitter exchanges and follow-up discussions on Slack and Discord channels,” Dr. Kate Adamala, professor of genetics, cell biology and development at the University of Minnesota, said. “The organizers did an excellent job in all capacities of virtual conference technology, including creative arrangements for our group photos at the end.”

Virtual SynCell2020 Symposium featured:

  • 715 virtual attendees;
  • participants from six continents, 47 countries, and over 200 institutions;
  • a peak of 348 live stream attendees;
  • 1400+ views on YouTube; and,
  • 9000+ engagements on Twitter

“It (the virtual conference) will allow many more scientists to follow conferences without investing large travel budgets,” said keynote speaker, Dr. Joachim Spatz, director of the Max Planck School Matter-to-Life. “In particular, this format invites scientists from all countries, postdocs, Ph.D. students, college students, and even high-school students that are interested in science. This would not be the case by physical meetings only.”

The full Virtual Symposium is available to watch on YouTube.