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Presidents Page

June 18, 2018

 

Dear ChABSA Members,

 

Thank you for your support of the Chesapeake Area Biological Safety Association. ChABSA is committed to providing valuable opportunities for professional development and networking. In these regards, the past year was a great success.

·         We hosted five technical seminars that represented an impressive diversity of topics, ranging from science communication in fiction to the use of bacterial lipids in diagnostics.

·         We offered pre-symposium workshops on laboratory emergencies, engineering, and security.

·         Our annual symposium included five engaging talks on topics important to today’s biosafety professional. The symposium’s keynote presentations focused on topics directly out of the headlines, the Global Health Security Agenda and tick-borne diseases.

We have also had a strong year in regards to outreach. As the ABSA International affiliate covering Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, we know there is not a single location convenient for everyone to attend a technical seminar in person on a weeknight. We have begun streaming these events via the internet, so people in places like Morgantown or Blacksburg can still take advantage of the professional development opportunities our technical seminars provide. In fact, we had remote attendees this year from as far as Australia.

 

ChABSA council members also participated in community outreach by presenting on the topics of biosafety, biosecurity, and bioethics to iGEM teams at the Baltimore UnderGround Science Space (BUGSS). These teams consist of high school students who will use synthetic biology techniques to improve the environment in which they live. This was truly a rewarding experience we hope to continue and expand upon in the future.

 

The 2018-2019 ChABSA Council is excited for another great year. However, as a volunteer-based organization, I want to stress that we are dependent on you the membership for our organization to reach its full potential. There are many ways you can participate:

·         First and foremost, attend ChABSA events.

·         Bring a friend or colleague and forward event announcements to anyone you think might be interested.

·         Send us your ideas, comments, and/or suggestions. We moved our symposium this year from Frederick to Gaithersburg based on your comments. They really do make a difference.

·         Nominate worthy people for ChABSA awards.

·         Volunteer for committees. They do not take a lot of time, but provide the opportunity to shape everything we do.

·         Submit proposals for talks and workshops. Our committees select talks and workshops based on merit, so it doesn’t matter if you are a student, vendor, scientist, biosafety officer, etc.

·         Run for a ChABSA Council position. No experience is necessary, just enthusiasm and ideas.

 

With biotechnology moving at a breakneck pace, biosafety is more important today than ever. In the ChABSA region, we are fortunate to have a high concentration of incredible biosafety professionals that deserve the highest quality professional development opportunities possible. We will continue to strive to meet that challenge.

 

Sincerely,

 

Matt Fischer

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ChABSA President, 2018-2019