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The annual ABRF meeting was held in Portland, February 28–March 2, 2004. Thanks to the meeting organizers, Jack Shively and Stanley Nelson, the meeting was yet again a complete success. With almost 1500 scientists, students, and representatives from industry attending the meeting, the steady increase of attendance at ABRF meetings is continuing. Jack and Stan worked very hard together with Marcella Jackson and Jean Lash to organize an exciting, scientifically stimulating symposium with excellent plenary lectures, scientific sessions, tutorials, and round-table discussions. More than 70 speakers were brought to the meeting. Plenary speakers included Robert Waterston from the University of Washington, Seattle, Brian Chait from Rockefeller University, New York, and David Cox from Perlegen Sciences, Inc., Mountain View, California.
Due to the ever-increasing size of our annual meeting, we had chosen the Portland Convention Center as our venue for the 2004 ABRF meeting. The meeting site was excellent and the surrounding hotel accommodations were easily accessible. Our vendors and exhibitors had ample space. They outperformed themselves by putting on an excellent show with plenty of opportunities for the meeting attendees to catch up on the newest developments in technology and instrumentation. The strong partnership between the ABRF and vendors is an integral part of providing our members direct and in-depth access to the technologies used every day in our core laboratories.
The ABRF award for 2004 was presented to Professor Dr. Sir Edwin M. Southern, Whitley Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK. This annual award for outstanding contributions to biomolecular technologies is generously sponsored by Agilent Technologies and the ABRF. Professor Southern received this award in recognition of his achievements in the field of nucleic acid hybridization. Professor Southern delivered an outstanding award lecture entitled “The Double Helix, Blots and Chips.” He provided an excellent and most comprehensive overview of his ground-breaking work in the development of micro-arrays and the fluorescent detection of hybridized RNA or DNA in a high-density format.
As in the year before, the poster competition was a great success. David Landsman, Chairman, and members of the ABRF Education Committee were the judges for the Best Poster Awards sponsored by Amersham Biosciences of Piscataway, New Jersey. Ten finalists were selected based on the submitted poster abstracts and the four best posters were chosen at the meeting. The oral presentations of the authors were outstanding:
This year’s member’s meeting, formerly also know as the ABRF business meeting, was one of the best attended membership meetings ever. We strayed from our usual format of focusing exclusively on ABRF business matters. Instead, EB member Preston Hensley did an excellent job of provoking a lively discussion amongst the ABRF members under the motto “Paradigm Shifts for Core Facilities: Are Current Models of Shared Research Facilities Old School and Are the ABRF and Your Core Ready for the New Biology of the 21st Century?” As part of developing a long-term planning strategy for the ABRF, the Executive Board invites all members to continue participating in this discussion and to provide feedback and input.