Letter From the President
March 12, 2023
Dear IZFS Members,
First happy 2023 to all IZFS members, their families, and of course the fish upon whom we pin our ideas and future. I hope that for all the year is filled with more happiness and less war. For the IZFS, 2023 appears as a still lake unruffled by wind and currents reflecting a year with few meetings and activities. However, the European Zebrafish Society, together with the Polish Zebrafish Society and with support from the IZFS and Jagiellonian University, will hold the 12th European Zebrafish Meeting on July 9th -13th in Krakow, Poland. The early bird registration fees ends on April 14th, so waste no time! Also the Zebrafish Disease Models Society will hold ZDM16 in Durham, North Carolina on Oct. 2-5 2023.
As is life, the still surface of calm waters often does not reflect the life that passes below, and for the IZFS different committees are working to organize and enhance our activities for 2024. We are already in full swing with bi-weekly meetings to organize the 10th Strategic Conference of Zebrafish Investigators at Asilomar Conference Center in California, USA (January 6-10, 2024), a meeting that was last held in 2019. So, PI’s: mark your calendars, save up your pennies (prices have increased over 20% since 2019!), and keep your ears open for announcements about this exciting meeting.
If you have never been to Japan, perhaps the 18th International Zebrafish Conference in 2024 is the meeting for you! The IZFS is very excited to be organizing our next International Conference in in Kyoto, Japan (August 17-21). And as if there were not enough exciting opportunities in 2024, the IZFS has been invited to participate in The Allied Genetics Conference (TAGC) in Washington DC March 5–10, 2024.
We could not organize these activities without our members and on behalf of the IZFS I would like to thank everyone who has agreed to serve on the different committees with special thanks to our Japanese colleagues who have been essential in laying the groundwork to start organizing the IZC 2024.
I look at this list of zebrafish meetings and while it sounds wonderful, I am also aghast at the thought of so many meetings in one year (and I have not even mentioned the Zebrafish Disease Models Society!). As many know, the IZFS has a Sustainability Committee headed by two wonderful young scientists, Max Breuer and Viviana Vedder, who are amazingly motivated and push us to confront uncomfortable truths about our lifestyles as scientists. One aspect of the professional scientist’s life is travel, and it is no secret that in not only the IZFS but also other scientific societies, there are discussions on how to limit travel. One answer is to hold more remote meetings, but many object to this because of the high value of in-person meetings, especially for younger scientists (I agree!). Then there is the challenge that going to one meeting will preclude seeing a colleague who chooses to attend a different zebrafish meeting…does one attend two meetings?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published the AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023 summarizing five years of reports on global temperature rises, fossil fuel emissions and climate impacts. At this point in time, we are around 1.1°C of warming and if we continue our current trajectory, we will reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2035. If we overshoot 1.5 °C then we enter a danger zone, “beyond planetary limits in which natural, animal and human life has flourished for millions of years”. But the report states it is not too late to avoid passing 1.5 °C: we need to reduce emissions by at least 43% over the next seven years. And, importantly, the solutions are out there, but the greatest threat is apathy. I hope that not only the IZFS but the worldwide zebrafish community will, through clear, courageous and concerted policies, end this decade as a community recognized for accepting the challenge of climate change and taking immediate action to reduce their impact.
I look forward to seeing you, maybe not everyone, everywhere, all at once, but at least in one meeting in 2023-24.
With my very best wishes,