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From the President’s Desk
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I’m very pleased to introduce the third installment of our International Zebrafish Society (IZFS) “News Splash” newsletter.  The IZFS is providing these informative and entertaining newsletters as a service to our members to help keep them up to date on goings-on in the zebrafish research community.  As you can see, we are expanding the scope and content of these newsletters with each issue, and you can expect to see even more new engaging and enlightening features in upcoming issues.  We welcome newsletter contributions and assistance from members at all levels – established investigators, new investigators, trainees, or research staff.  If you would like to join our editorial board and become an IZFS Associate Editor, please contact our editor, Rebecca 'Becky' Burdine. We also welcome one-time or occasional contributors. Please contact Becky if you are attending a meeting and would like to provide a summary, or if you have a piece to propose. And yes, there are a few additional perks in addition to the glory of being able to add “Associate Editor, International Zebrafish Society” to your curriculum vitae!  Contact Becky for more information on this as well. 

IZFS Election.  The IZFS has successfully completed its first open election - the results are listed here.  Voting for the contested positions was very close.  I want to thank everyone who put their names forward as candidates, and extend a warm welcome to our new officers and board members.  It’s wonderful that so many talented and accomplished zebrafish researchers are willing to step forward to help their community.  I also want to thank the membership for the exceptionally strong voting “turnout” - 65% of you voted in the election!  I am told by our management team, which has worked with many different organizations and societies, that this is an almost unprecedented level of participation.  It says a lot about how interactive and engaged you all are in your community!

I also want to thank the membership for the “vote of confidence” in electing me IZFS President for the upcoming year.  As I wrote in the last newsletter, IZFS bylaws stipulate yearly elections for officers and board members.  Board members serve a three-year term with approximately one-third of the board stepping down and new board members being elected to fill their place each year.  The Treasurer also serves a three-year term.  A new President-Elect is elected each year, and this individual serves one year as President-Elect, then one year as President, then one year as Past-President, for a total of three years of service.  Since this was our first regular election, just for this first cycle we voted for both President-Elect and President.  I have already served several years as an initial “caretaker” President for the IZFS so I am only serving two additional years as an officer. 

There are many, many additional official and unofficial ways to be actively involved in the IZFS.  We always welcome new volunteers, so if you would like to help out or if you have an initiative you are interested in pursuing together with the IZFS, please do get in touch with us!

Mark your calendars now for the 2018 “Madison Meeting.”  After detouring briefly to Orlando in 2016 as part of the combined GSA model organism meeting, the fish are swimming back to Madison, Wisconsin on June 20-24 for the 2018 International Zebrafish Conference. Starting with the 2018 meeting the conference name is being changed from “International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics” to “International Zebrafish Conference” to reflect the wider scope of scientific activities taking place in the worldwide zebrafish research community.  But, no worries, it’s the same “Madison Meeting” we have all come to know so well and love.  The 2018 meeting will be held in the newly (and beautifully) renovated Memorial Union on the shores of Lake Mendota.  The conference will include two keynote presentations and numerous plenary, concurrent, workshop, and poster sessions highlighting the latest zebrafish research advances and informing participants about the newest cutting-edge zebrafish research tools and technologies.  The meeting will also include a lakeside barbecue picnic lunch and a final banquet with an after-party in the Wisconsin “Badger Den” (“Sett”) nightclub featuring a live band, and the signature dance moves zebrafish investigators are known for!  Additional details on the 2018 meeting, including organizers, keynote speakers, preliminary session topics, and other information can be found in the article in this newsletter and on the conference web page. 

We look forward to seeing you in Madison in June 2018!

Meeting Reports.  This summer has been full of interesting, entertaining, and informative meetings and conferences.  If you who were not lucky enough to be able to attend some of these meetings and conferences, the IZFS wants to fill you in on some of what you missed - both the science and some of the behind-the-scenes fun.  This newsletter issue includes in-depth reports on the 2017 European Zebrafish Meeting in Budapest, the 2017 Midwest Zebrafish Meeting in Cincinnati, and the 2017 Embryology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.  We hope that you will enjoy reading about each of these “fintastic” events.  If you are affiliated with an upcoming meeting that you would like to see featured in one of our future newsletters, please let our News Splash editor Becky Burdine know about it!

IZFS Awards.  As described in detail in the two articles included in this newsletter, the IZFS recently announced the winners of its two premier investigator awards, the Chi-Bin Chien Award and the George Streisinger Award.  The Chi-Bin Chien Award was presented to Dr. Marc Wolman of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  The George Streisinger Award was presented to Dr. Christiane “Janni” Nüsslein-Volhard of the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany.  Congratulations to Marc and Janni!  In addition to these two yearly “flagship” awards, the IZFS gives out numerous travel, poster, and other awards to recognize the achievements of its members at all career levels, and to facilitate their attendance at IZFS-sponsored meetings.  Encourage your colleagues to sign up for IZFS membership and take advantage of these benefits!

Meet the IZFS members.  A regular feature of the IZFS newsletter, each issue includes “Meet the IZFS Member” segments with the answers to 20 questions posed to two IZFS members - one trainee and one investigator.  This issue features Karen Mruk and Lisa Maves, respectively.  We hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about the interests and accomplishments of two of your zebrafish colleagues!

New and Upcoming Newsletter Features.  As noted above, we are continuing to expand the content of our IZFS newsletters.  This issue features the first installment of Fish & Chips, a new regular column providing updates from the Zebrafish Model organism Database (ZFIN) and the Zebrafish International Resource Center (ZIRC).  The next IZFS “News Splash” issue will include Ask Splash, the zebrafish community’s version of “Dear Abby,” answering members’ questions about zebrafish, research, graduate school, postdoctoral positions, job searching, surviving in academia, life outside academia – just ask splash what you want to know!

Get involved!  As I’ve said before, this is YOUR society, and we hope that all of you will become actively involved.  We need volunteers to serve as officers and board members, but there are also many additional ways for zebrafish researchers at all career levels (including graduate students and postdocs!) to become involved with the IZFS.   Become an associate editor on the IZFS editorial board.  Join the IZFS website committee and become an IZFS webmaster.  Volunteer for the IZFS awards or nominations committees and help select IZFS awardees or prepare slates of nominees for officer and board member positions.  Help with the IZFS’ public education and outreach activities.  Numerous opportunities are available for you to help the IZFS serve the fish community, and I encourage you to get involved!

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