Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. What we are going through in these terrible times is no small matter.
First of all, please make a note of the 13th European Cytogenomics Conference ECC (online): 3-5 July 2021.
When the pandemic hit last year, our conference was nearly two years away and I thought it might be safe to start organizing. In fact, we had already begun to visit potential convention centres.
Unfortunately, this year the coronavirus has returned with a vengeance, putting the whole world in an incredible situation; the end is not yet in sight. I fear it has also affected some members of our ECA communityor their families. The decision to hold an online conference in 2021 was, therefore, not a choice but a necessity, despite the arrival of the vaccine.
The ECA conferences provide an ideal opportunity every two years for members of our community to meet, to renew old contacts and make new ones, and to exchange information and experiences. Unfortunately, this time it will be different. In any case, we will have the opportunity to hear outstanding speakers talk about progress in our fields. I deliberately use the plural, "fields", because of the three different branches of our Association: cytogenomics of humans, non-human animals, and plants. This broad view of life on Earth may also help to understand why SARS-CoV-2 is developing mutations with increasing fitness.
An online conference would mean that we would have to sit in front of a computer for hours. For this reason we have decided on a simplified version of the program, with a reduced number of lectures and without parallel sessions. However, an online conference could provide a greater opportunity to participate, especially for young people, because of no travel and accommodation costs and a reduced registration fee.
The program is almost complete, as you can see on the dedicated web page.
In the second half of 2021, hoping that the vaccination will have substantially improved the situation, we plan to organize a physical General Assembly with Board elections, as required by the statutes.
I also want to mention that ECA is present on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Cytogenetic, where new posts covering a wide range of biological news are regularly placed. These posts also appear on a plain web page at https://www.e-c-a.eu/EN/CYTOGENOMICS-NEWS.html.
I look forward to "seeing” you at the conference; though we will not really see each other as it is online. However, I hope we will see numerous contributions in the form of posters which will be available for viewing at the conference. In any case, a few faces will be seen because some abstracts will be selected for oral presentation at the end of various sessions or during the Permanent Working Group meetings. And remember the only non-virtual thing in this virtual conference: poster-prizes!
The website of the ECA is ready to accept registrations and the submission of abstracts.
President of ECA