From the President's Desk - Spring 2021

After the turbulent events of 2020, I think we had all looked forward to the start of 2021 with hopes of better times ahead. Yet sadly, Covid 19 still afflicts many parts of the world, disrupting the lives of hundreds of millions and claiming the lives of many thousands. On January 28th, one of the giants of developmental biology, Lewis Wolpert, was the latest to fall victim to this deadly disease - and the very next day saw the demise (though not from Covid), of Friedrich Bonhoeffer, whose trail blazing screens opened up the zebrafish visual system to genetic analysis. They will both be greatly missed: appreciations of their scientific contributions appear elsewhere in this issue.

Just one year ago today I boarded a plane for the last time before the lockdowns began  – I was returning to Singapore from London where I had been attending a meeting. Twelve months on, I find it hard to imagine what it was like to be able to fly around the world and meet with friends and colleagues! The pandemic has undoubtedly caused stresses and strains at many levels – within families and communities as well as between nations. But out of adversity comes strength and innovation – the mobilization of scientific resources and expertise in detecting and tracing the spread of the virus, not to mention the development of multiple vaccines in record-breaking time, has been truly astounding and a testimony to what can be achieved when scientists work together for the common good.

Within our Society, it has been very rewarding to work with colleagues from around the world to keep our members connected and establish new opportunities to exchange information and ideas. The Webinar series has been at the forefront of our virtual activities – and its runaway success augers well for our first ever virtual International Zebrafish Conference that will take place just three months from now. As with previous meetings, this will be an opportunity to hear the latest exciting science and meet with friends from around the world. Indeed, the virtual format should help make this our most international conference to date! As always, this is a meeting for zebrafish researchers at every level, from undergraduate and PhD students to junior and senior PIs.  We aim to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the virtual format and in particular to ensure our student and early career stage members have the chance to present their work. So be certain to check out the conference website and register as soon as you can!

Philip Ingham
IZFS President
Singapore March 18th 2021

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