On March 29 and 30, 2021, the Stem Cell Network NRW held its '10th International Meeting' – for the first time as a virtual conference. In 23 presentations, scientists addressed topics ranging from basic research and new therapies to related ethical, legal, and social science issues. Over 70 creative short videos on current research projects provided another highlight.
For the 10th anniversary of the 'International Meeting', participants from 14 countries gathered under the motto "From Fundamental Biology to Translational Concepts" and followed contributions from renowned researchers such as Christine Mummery (Leiden), Roger Barker (Cambridge) or Henry Greely (Stanford). "Meet the Speaker"-events enabled direct exchange with the speakers. There were extensive discussions on topics such as the use of stem cells for research on Covid-19, the ethical framework of work on embryo-like structures, or cell-based therapies for brain diseases. In addition, more than 70 scientists presented their research in creative 3-minute "elevator pitches" and were available for questions via video chat. A virtual industry exhibition and information offerings from various research networks complemented the scientific program. The conference platform's diverse networking features and the ability to re-watch recorded content later were well received by participants. "Since everything takes place online, I can follow the scientific program without having to make a long trip – and thanks to the recordings, I didn't miss anything despite the time difference," a participant from India said.
We are very pleased that the virtual meeting was so well received and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the supporters and contributors who made this event possible!