The Rocky Mountain Virology Club (RMVC, aka RMVA) was established in 2000 to facilitate free and open exchange of scientific data and ideas concerning general virology in a venue that promotes collaboration among students, post-doctoral researchers and faculty members from universities and federal institutions. Specifically, our annual three-day autumn meeting on the Pingree Park Campus of Colorado State University encourages students, post-doctoral researchers and junior faculty to present their research and to receive feedback from more established scientists. The goals are scientific interactions and the training of young scientists. A major benefit of participation has been novel collaborations between scientists in different disciplines, i.e. RNA stability and Flavivirus biology. The topics discussed include medical virology (vaccines, epidemiology, viral zoonoses), arthropod-borne diseases (RNA viruses and RNA metabolism, viral vectors and vector biology), host defenses (viral immunology and pathogenesis), oncogenic viruses and prion biology. Special sessions on HIV pathogenesis, vaccine development, pandemic influenza, prions, virus discovery and the global impact of viral diseases have been featured at past meetings. Founders and attendees include scientists from Colorado State University, The University of Colorado, the University of Wyoming, the University of Northern Colorado, the Centers for Disease Control (Fort Collins) and the Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service as well as scientists from industry, other universities in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and visitors from California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Indiana, New York, Mexico and Germany. In 2010 the RVMC was incorporated as the Rocky Mountain Virology Association, Inc., a tax-exempt educational charity (Section 501(c)(3)). Our board of directors is charged with encouraging student and junior faculty involvement by minimizing costs as we encourage women and minorities to participate in all stages of program development. The board and all involved in program organization are volunteers. Our attendance is limited by venue to a maximum of 110 individuals. This provides active involvement and interaction for all. Comparable general virology meetings such as the annual American Society for Virology meeting have attendance of about 1500, and high registration, housing and travel costs. Collaborative interactions at these meetings tend to be very focused on individual virus families. Our meeting promotes multidisciplinary studies of viruses and prions. Funds are requested to provide minority grants and family care, reduce registration fees for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and early stage investigators, and pay travel and housing for invited speakers for the annual meeting during the last week of September. Registration fees, contributions from corporations, and individual charitable contributions, cover additional costs for the meeting. The RMVA has been an outstanding source of communication and collaboration for the Rocky mountain region.
The 13th annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Virology Association will continue a process of scientific collaboration among virologists in the rocky mountain region and nationally. A cadre of dedicated scientists, from five separate institutions, three universities and two federal laboratories, with diverse expertise and a common interest in virology established this meeting. It has and continues to be a source of multidisciplinary approaches, productive collaborations and scientific inspiration.