L. Courtney Smith, PI; Martin Flajnik, Co-PI IOS-0905197 International Travel for Students and Postdocs to attend ISDCI-11 in Prague

Funding will be used to support international travel support for students and postdocs in US laboratories to attend the 11th Congress of the International Society of Developmental and Comparative Immunology (ISDCI-11) to be held in Prague, Czech Republic, from June 28 to July 4, 2009. These funds will be important for several reasons. 1) The budget for the Society alone for the previous two meetings (2003, 2006) was not enough to provide significant travel bursaries for students and postdocs. Travel costs are expected to be increased for the Congress in Prague. 2) Because funding for research in the US is difficult to obtain, it is expected that fewer numbers of students and postdocs will have access to travel support from research grants. 3) NSF funding for students and postdocs in US labs will enable the Society to shift some of their funds to support students from other countries. Overall, this will aid all students and enable more to attend, which will benefit the students and post docs, and will benefit the Society through the influx of new ideas and new members.

Students and postdocs who have attended ISDCI meetings in the past have benefited in a number of important ways. These included: 1) the experience of presenting their data at an international meeting for the first time, 2) the opportunity to meet and talk to other scientists with common interests in comparative immunology, 3) the opportunity to receive feedback on their research from leaders in the field, 4) the opportunity to meet their future mentors and collaborators, 5) the opportunity to experience the Society and to participate in this collegial and supportive community of scientists. These benefits will be available to students and postdocs at Prague.

The attendance by students and postdocs at the ISDCI meetings brings significant benefits to the Society. 1) Often, students and postdocs decide while at the ISDCI meetings to remain in the field of comparative immunology. This increases the membership in the Society. 2) The younger scientists are often those who bring to the Society new ideas and new approaches for tackling hard scientific problems. This injection of new results maintains vibrant research progress by all members of the Society. 3) Attendance by students at the Congress provides opportunities for the full members of the Society to identify future postdocs to work in their labs. 4) It is quite possible, that some of the students supported to attend ISDCI-11 may be the ISDCI officers of the future. For example, the current ISDCI Secretary of Education (the PI) received funding as a postdoc to attend the 5th ISDCI Congress in Portland OR in 1991.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
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Mary Beth Saffo
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George Washington University
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