Online RIKEN BDR Symposium 2021
Mar. 15, 2021
The RIKEN BDR Symposium 2021 "Structuring Biosystems: Functions Emerging from Molecules" was held virtually over three days from March 1 to 3. This year's symposium featured a speaker lineup of 25 leading scientists from around the world studying various biomolecules that sustain the essential cellular functions. Topics covered in the Symposium ranged from chromatin architecture and functions, epigenetics, membrane proteins and their dynamics, to structural studies of other biomolecular complexes, new methods and technologies to study biomolecules, as well as emerging concepts of liquid-liquid phase separation in cellular activities. There were a total of 345 registrants for the BDR Symposium from 22 different countries, including those in North America, Europe, and many around the Asian region.
The Symposium kicked-off early Monday morning (Japan time) with opening remarks by Dr. Eisuke Nishida, BDR Center Director, who touched on the unfortunate situation of last year's BDR Symposium having to be canceled at the last minute due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, and also commented that for this year's symposium, while the ongoing pandemic has prevented holding one in person, the online format allows participants who might otherwise not be able to travel to Japan to join the meeting.
The Symposium was organized so that the invited speakers pre-recorded their talks, which was made available to registrants in advance of the meeting, allowing participants located in different time zones to access the talks at their convenience. The pre-recorded talks were also streamed according to the time schedule of the program and were followed by Q&A sessions held in real-time with speakers responding to questions from panelists submitted through a Q&A app or asked directly to speakers. To further encourage interactions among participants, there were online discussion rooms prepared following the Q&A for those who wanted to continue discussions with the speakers of a particular session. There were also live poster sessions organized using the Zoom breakout room function during the afternoon of the first and second day of the Symposium. There were 59 poster submissions for the meeting, which were also made available for viewing in advance, and each poster presenter was given 15 minutes to showcase their work and answer questions.
The organizing committee of this year's Symposium, which consisted of Kyogo Kawaguchi, Takanori Kigawa, Shun-ichi Sekine, Mikako Shirouzu, Yuji Sugita, and Yuichi Taniguchi of RIKEN BDR and So Iwata of Kyoto University, worked tirelessly over the past year with the BDR meeting office which handled the operational logistics to plan a program schedule in which participants joining from around the world could participate, regardless of where they were located, in at least part of the live sessions.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to hold this year's symposium online. Because this was the first attempt to hold the symposium online, there were some concerns in the beginning. However, thanks to the great efforts of the secretariat and cooperation of the organizers, it turned out to be an exciting meeting with excellent talks and discussions by many participants including many world-class scientists," said Shun-ichi Sekine, one of the organizers. "We are very thankful to all of the speakers who accepted our invitations to speak at the BDR Symposium and actively took part in the discussions, and to all of the participants who joined the meeting. We hope that everyone enjoyed the program."
Next year's RIKEN BDR Symposium "Emergence in Biological Systems: Challenges to Bridging Hierarchies" is scheduled to be held online in early March 2022. Look out for more details on the upcoming symposium this fall.