Dear Colleagues,
I am delighted to invite you to attend Virtual IMMUNOLOGY2021 being held May 10–15!
It has been such a long time since we’ve been able to gather and celebrate our community and achievements. The accomplishments and excitement of our field have been broadcast into every household by news outlets around the world. AAI members and colleagues have been featured prominently, applying their expertise to this unprecedented threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and their work continues to forge society’s path through and ultimately beyond the adverse consequences of this virus. There are numerous immunologists to acknowledge who work tirelessly in academia, government, and industry, but I would like to especially thank AAI member Anthony Fauci (’73) who, at great personal cost, stood strong against adversity and critics to emerge as the voice for science. We will have the opportunity to hear him speak in a special session on Friday, May 14.
Last fall, given the uncertainty of the course of the pandemic, the AAI Council decided to transition our 2021 meeting to a virtual format out of consideration for everyone’s safety. This change was a formidable undertaking for a meeting with thousands of participants, and we are the first to recognize that “being virtual” is not the same as “being in person.” But we studied other virtual meetings and have been thoughtful in crafting what we believe will be a very valuable experience—and there are some advantages that virtual technology allows:

  • All the science…and more. We have as many lectures and sessions as an in-person meeting but, with this technology and its archiving feature, you will not miss any talks.
  • Archiving. Lectures and sessions will be recorded and archived, and you can watch them later during the meeting as your schedule allows. These archived sessions will also be available to registrants after the meeting has ended.
  • Accessibility. The meeting program is structured to help accommodate attendees’ work schedules as well as time zone differences for registrants all over the world.
  • Cost savings. The biggest expenses of attending a scientific meeting (travel and lodging) are absent, and AAI has made a strong effort to ensure that registration for student members is the lowest in over 10 years.
  • Awards. AAI is again sponsoring Trainee Abstract Awards for AAI member postdocs and students, as well as other career awards. Also, AAI Minority Scientists Meeting Awards, Laboratory Meeting Grants, and more will be available to assist with registration expenses.
  • Poster presentations. Among the most exciting and interactive aspects of our meetings are author poster presentations. This virtual format will allow for abstract review, poster viewing, author presentations, and dedicated “author times” during which viewers can discuss results directly with the authors via video chat.
  • Exhibits. The newest laboratory tools, techniques, and advice for your research can be explored through workshops, live chats with exhibitors, and more.
  • International participation. We wholeheartedly welcome the continuous and enthusiastic participation of our international colleagues at Virtual IMMUNOLOGY2021. Holding a virtual meeting will allow many more to participate.

When I joined the AAI Council six years ago, I never imagined that our lives would be so affected by an unprecedented pandemic and the politicization of science, which tragically deterred the successful containment of this disease in many countries. Six years ago, putting on a large meeting in a virtual format was not even in our vocabulary. I am proud of the collective wisdom of immunologists and scientists everywhere who will bring this pandemic to an end. I am also grateful for the amazing advances in technology that will allow us to share our extraordinary science virtually. I am certain this will be a meeting well worth your time and participation, and I look forward to “seeing” all of you in May!
I thank you for your dedication to a profession that continues to make historic contributions to the well-being of the entire world.

Jenny P. Ting signature

Jenny P. Ting, Ph.D.
AAI President

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