Progress 07/15/06 to 07/14/07
Marriott University Park Hotel, Tucson, Arizona May 20-24, 2006 was to emphasize new and exciting advances currently taking place in the field of molecular insect science. The molecular approach was used in the broadest sense, realizing that molecules form the basis for all biological systems, and whether one starts with the molecules themselves or with the whole organism or whole ecosystem, molecules can form a common ground for scientific discussion. This highly successful meeting brought together scientists of all these levels of analysis for an exciting exchange of ideas. Each day of the symposium consisted of seven invited guest speaker sessions (a total of 27 speakers) built around a general theme. These themes included Evolution and Development, Insect Genomics, Chemical Ecology and Chemosensation, Insect Immunity and vector Biology, Molecular Neurobiology and Signaling and Insecticide Resistance and Toxicology. The speaker sessions included well-known, world
renowned scientists chosen because of their international reputations and significant contributions to their respective fields. The majority of the speakers were younger scientists engaged in new and leading edge research. These speakers were selected in collaboration with an International Committee using Internet and e-mail conferencing. The speaker sessions were highly professional and were all exceptionally well attended. Most lectures elicited an unusual among of questions from the audience and on several occasions chairpersons had to cut the question/answer sessions short in order to stay within the meeting time frame. The four early afternoon poster sessions provided an ideal break from the formal program and allowed presentation and discussion of over 172 posters, most given by pre- and postdoctoral trainees. Three evening workshops organized entirely by the conferees themselves were very favorably received by the participants, being well attended and generating keen interest.
The success of the meeting is due to its programmatic format, its multidisciplinary nature, and its size, attracting 270 participants from 14 different countries. The meeting has a high reputation also due to the caliber of its invited guest speakers and the intense level of interaction by its participants. It is planned to hold the next meeting in this series in 2009.
This meeting has significantly facilitate interactions between molecular insect scientists and those with interests in neurobiology, ecology, phylogenetics and insect control technology. The potential for furthering collaborative research efforts across disciplinary boundaries is today of great importance and will lead to innovative strategies in the Insect Sciences. This overarching approach to insect biology strongly accords with the mission statement of the USDA, which is to enhance the qualify of life for the American people by supporting production of agriculture.
- Each symposium attendee received a formal Program and Abstract Book. In addition, and with permission of the authors, the symposium abstracts were published in the Journal of Insect Science, Volume Six: 2006. The abstracts were received by the Journal editor on May 19, 2006, accepted on June 26, 2006 and published December 18, 2006. ISSN: 153602442, Volume 6, Number 46.