T21RS Virtual Conference
In 2021, social distancing was a paramount concern to protect all from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. This prompted changes in our regular program to a virtual venue. The T21RS Virtual Conference was held from June 8 to 10, 2021, through an online platform. This unique virtual program came with challenges but also led to new kinds of experiences for our participants and to new ways of thinking about connecting our members. This year we had 342 attendees join in from over 25 countries. Reduced admission to some countries was offered to support participation further.
There were 91 abstracts accepted for virtual platform lectures, poster presentations, and short “trainee blitz” presentations. We had growth in the number of our Ph.D. student members, who all presented work demonstrating their commitment to enhancing the health of individuals with Down syndrome. We were treated with thirty blitz talks from our student members who are all rising research stars. Three of these trainees were awarded presentation prizes. Having a virtual program allowed participants to experience the “venue” in real-time and return to the recorded sessions to watch again. This new “venue” allowed more visibility for the Science and Society cultural program as all families and members can share the program on social media.
3rd T21RS International Conference “Science for future Therapy”
In Barcelona we brought together a total of 429 scientists, families, and industry representatives from 36 countries to the 3rd meeting of T21RS. The most represented countries were Spain, USA, France, Italy, United Kingdom, and Brazil, but we had attendees from many other countries. 167 posters were presented from which 65 had the opportunity to present also a short talk or a nano symposium, four plenary lectures, 3 satellite symposium, 14 symposia (70 talks), an Industry session, Education Committee Session, and the full day Families’ Program including the Science and Society Symposium.
We had a full day families Program, the Science and Society Symposium and an amazing and inspiring Social Program.
The meeting was supported by the 11 members of the Organising Committee, 12 PhD/Postdoc volunteers and 9 volunteers with Down syndrome, 10 members of the Program Committee, and had also support of the 11 members of the executive board. The technical secretariat managed more than 7.300 emails and we had the support of 19 companies/institutions. Importantly, nearly 40% of attendees were students and post-doctoral fellows – these young investigators represent the next generation of Down syndrome researchers. We were able to support the travel of 57 early career investigators through the support of generous donors and the NIH. 15 attendees represented seven different Pharma or Biopharma companies and 97 had an MD degree; these are critically important areas for interaction with the basic research community, and fostering these exchanges is a fundamental goal of T21RS.
2nd T21RS International Conference “Paving the way for therapy”
In Chicago we had 222 attendees and 10 Science and Society attendees in the 2nd meeting of T21RS. We had in total 60 speakers in 4 plenary lectures, 12 symposia (three lectures each), 3 oral communication/breakthrough sessions (6 presentations each including the Thesis award winner), 71 posters in 2 poster sessions with Flash Poster presentations (eight presentations of 5-minute) and one Science and Society session.