How do you take six completely different societies and bring them together under the umbrella of a single conference?
You contact the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
One of FASEB’s largest conferences is Experimental Biology (EB). It’s a pretty big deal, drawing 15,000 scientists to San Diego next April for six days of discussion, presentation, networking and discovery. See a list of the six societies at the end of this post.
Kim Kline, IT Manager for FASEB
Each of the 7,000 abstracts submitted to this annual event will be the responsibility of Kim Kline, FASEB’s Information Technology manager, using the Mira Smart Conferencing Abstract Management Platform.
“The glue that binds this group of six societies is the meeting itself. It’s Experimental Biology,” said Kline, who’s been with FASEB for 30 years. “The scientists enjoy getting together every year to touch base with their colleagues. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.”
Technology has changed conferencing. Kline remembers the days when abstracts were shipped by Postal Service, hand sorted, copied and shipped to reviewers around the world. FASEB used to hire a temporary staff of 10 to simply manage the paper. “It was getting too cumbersome and expensive to manage” That’s when FASEB reached out to Mira Smart Conferencing.
Mira’s customized software solutions allow the six constituent societies that make up Experimental Biology to combine all their abstract submissions into a single platform for authors and, yet, still maintain their unique workflow and vocabulary.
“All the societies want something different and that’s important,” said Kline. “All that customization work has been done for years and we just take it for granted.”
There was a two-year period starting in 2013 when FASEB went with another abstract management platform. Things did not go well. “Those were two horrible years,” Kline said. “There wasn’t flexibility that I was used to. I had to call them for everything which was difficult for them and for us.”
Kline isn’t exaggerating. A simple message to team members was a challenge. “I couldn’t even send an email without calling someone. We had to rely on the vendor for everything.”
Experimental Biology and Mira are back together and ready to accept submissions for the 2016 Conference. “We’ve got 15 years of relationship with Mira,” said Kline. “We can communicate together. They know what I need – and they’re always willing to say ‘yes, we can do that.’”
James Gentry, the Project Manager for EB, affirmed that can-do ethic. “I really hate to say no. I like to explore every single possibility and learn the nuts and bolts behind the software. I work closely with Joel Schwartz (Mira Senior Programmer) and Brad Philips (Mira IT Manager) to find a resolution that will help.”
The Participating Societies of Experimental Biology (EB)
- American Association of Anatomists (AAA)
- The American Physiological Society (APS)
- American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
- American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP)
- American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
- American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)