American Society for Cell Biology


The American Society for Cell Biology
Founded1960 (1960)
Key people
Eva Nogales (President), Andrew Murray (Past President), Ruth Lehmann (President-Elect), Erika C. Shugart (Chief Executive Officer), Gary J. Gorbsky (Treasurer), Kerry Bloom (Secretary)

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) is a professional society that was founded in 1960.[1][2][3]

Its mission statement says:

ASCB is an inclusive community of biologists studying the cell, the fundamental unit of life. We are dedicated to advancing scientific discovery, advocating sound research policies, improving education, promoting professional development, and increasing diversity in the workforce.


On 6 April 1959 the United States National Academy of Sciences passed a resolution for the establishment of a "national society of cell biology to act as a national representative to the International Federation for Cell Biology".[3][4]

The ASCB was first organized at an ad hoc meeting in the office of Keith R. Porter at Rockefeller University on May 28, 1960. In the 1940s, Porter was one of the first scientists in the world to use the then-revolutionary technique of electron microscopy (EM) to reveal the internal structure of cells. Other early ASCB leaders—George Palade, Don Fawcett, Hewson Swift, Arthur Solomon, and Hans Ris—also were EM pioneers. All early ASCB leaders were concerned that existing scientific societies and existing biology journals were not receptive to this emerging field that studied the cell as the fundamental unit of all life.

The ASCB was legally incorporated in New York State on July 31, 1961. A call for membership went out, enlisting ASCB's first 480 members. The first ASCB Annual Meeting was held November 2–4, 1961, in Chicago, where 844 attendees gathered for three days of lectures, slides, and movies showing cellular structure. The results of a mail ballot were read out and Fawcett was declared ASCB's first president.

The ASCB did not remain an EM society. New technologies and new discoveries in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and light microscopy quickly widened the field. Cell biology has continued to expand ever since, extending its impact on clinical medicine and pharmacology while drawing on new technologies in bioengineering, high-resolution imaging, massive data handling, and genomic sequencing.

By 1963, the membership consisted of 9,000 scientists.[5] In 2008 it was reported that ASCB had 11,000 members worldwide.[6] Today, 25% of ASCB members work outside the United States). Annual meetings now draw upwards of 5,000 people. Since 1960, 32 past or current ASCB members have won Nobel Prizes in medicine or in chemistry.


Print publications:

  • Molecular Biology of the Cell: An online journal of scholarly research reports and essays published 24 times a year.
  • CBE- Life Sciences Education: An online peer-reviewed journal of life science education research and evidence-based practice.
  • ASCB Newsletter: The ASCB's monthly newsletter updating members and policymakers on issues, public policy, society programs and events, grants, career advice, and more.[7]

Online publication:

  • The ASCB Post: The latest in science news, insights, and blogs.[8]

Annual meeting

Typically held within the first two weeks of December, the ASCB's annual meeting brings together scientists in the field of cell biology to highlight the latest research, techniques, products, and services, providing a venue for networking and career advice, offering research-tested educational approaches for high school teachers and professors who teach undergraduates, and to spur future discovery and collaboration. The ASCB also presents awards, poster sessions (where students, postdoctoral fellows, and independent scientists present their research and receive feedback), scientific sessions (symposia, minisymposia, working groups, workshops, translational sessions, special interest subgroups, award lectures, and exhibits). Science discussion tables offer opportunities to discuss scientific topics with expert scientists, and the career discussion roundtables offer a variety of career topic-themed tables addressed with expert facilitators. In addition, special sessions focus on advocacy, media and public outreach, and special issues of interest to women, minorities, gay, lesbian, and transgender students/scientists, the media, etc.

The 2012 meeting resulted in the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment.



The following people have been elected president of the ASCB:[12]


  • The Education Committee focuses on promoting biology education, science literacy, and career development in biology-related fields, honoring educators Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education, educating educators through sessions at the ASCB Annual Meeting including the Education Initiative Forum, Education Minisymposium, Education workshop on undergraduate teaching, K–12 Science Education (for local high school students and teachers), and developing careers.
  • The Finance And Audit Committee, chaired by the treasurer, is responsible for evaluating the financial status of the Society, reviewing expenditures and recommending the annual budgets, reserve funds, and investments. The committee consists of three or more members of the Society and two ex officio members - the president and president-elect.
  • The major objectives of the International Affairs Committee are to broaden the base of the society's international efforts by working with national cell biology societies and coordinating international activities; facilitating exchange between U.S. and international scientists; increasing cell biology training and capacity worldwide; and increasing international membership and satisfaction in the ASCB.
  • The Membership Committee, chaired by the secretary, reviews and recommends policies related to membership retention and growth.
  • The Minorities Affairs Committee seeks to significantly support underrepresented minority scientists in all stages of their education and career.
  • The Program Committee develops the scientific program for the annual meeting, which is generally held in late Fall/early Winter.
  • The Public Information Committee promotes education of the lay public in cell biology, directly and through the media.
  • The Public Policy Committee regularly educates the United States Congress and the administration about the importance of basic biomedical funding and biomedical policy.
  • The Committee for Postdocs and Students represents young scientists. They are dedicated to providing a forum for student and postdoc members to identify and address topics that are essential to their success. They strive to uphold the values and advance the goals of ASCB by promoting the active participation of students and postdocs in the scientific community and maximizing their effectiveness.
  • The major objective of the Women in Cell Biology Committee is to provide opportunities and information useful to women• and men in developing their careers in cell biology. The committee also provides career development advice of value to all basic biomedical scientists.
  • The Cell: An Image Library is a comprehensive, easily accessible, public resource database of images, videos, and animations of cells from a variety of organisms, showcasing as well cell components and functions. The database will advance research on cellular activity with the ultimate goal of improving human health.

San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment

At the American Society for Cell Biology meeting in San Francisco in 2012, scientists developed the Declaration on Research Assessment, which calls for scientific output to be measured accurately and evaluated wisely.[20] It also calls for scientists and institutions to reevaluate the use of impact factor to assess individual scientific efforts.[21]


  1. ^ "American Society for Cell Biology".
  2. ^ Margaret Fisk, ed. (1973). "American Society for Cell Biology". Encyclopedia of Associations: National organizations of the U. S. 1. Gale Research Company. p. 380.
  3. ^ a b American Society for Cell Biology records - Historical Note Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Accessed February 28, 2011.
  4. ^ William Bechtel (2006). "Giving Cell Biology an Institutional Identity". Discovering cell mechanisms: the creation of modern cell biology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 268–277. ISBN 0-521-81247-X.
  5. ^ "unknown". Archives internationales d'histoire des sciences. 56 (156–157): 304. Cite uses generic title (help)
  6. ^ Seth Shulman (2008). Undermining Science: Suppression and Distortion in the Bush Administration. University of California Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-520-25626-2.
  7. ^ "ASCB Newsletter". Archived from the original on 2015-12-09.
  8. ^ "The ASCB Post".
  9. ^ a b Guide to the Keith R. Porter Papers (1938–1993) Archived 2011-04-16 at the Wayback Machine, University of Colorado at Boulder University Libraries Archives Department
  10. ^ "MBoC Paper of the Year". ASCB. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  11. ^ "O'Neill to Receive MBoC Paper of the Year Award | Anesthesiology | Washington University in St. Louis". Archived from the original on 2015-10-02. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  12. ^ "ASCB Past Presidents".
  13. ^ Marincola, Elizabeth (2009). "Don Fawcett (1917–2009): Unlocking Nature's Closely Guarded Secrets". PLOS Biology. 7 (8): e1000183. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000183. PMC 2723910.
  14. ^ Pioneering cell biologist Hewson Swift, Ph.D., 1920–2004, University of Chicago News Office, January 22, 2004
  15. ^ Endow, Sharyn A.; Nizami, Zehra F.; Gerbi, Susan A. (5 July 2013). "A remarkable career in science—Joseph G. Gall". Chromosome Research. 21 (4): 339–343. doi:10.1007/s10577-013-9369-5. PMID 23828690. S2CID 10798680.
  16. ^ a b c d Catherine Brady (2007). Elizabeth Blackburn and the story of telomeres: deciphering the ends of DNA. MIT Press. pp. 172–4. ISBN 978-0-262-02622-2.
  17. ^ "News & Views". Scripps Research Institute. Retrieved 14 Sep 2009.
  18. ^ a b "ASCB Officers". Archived from the original on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  19. ^ "Yale's De Camilli Elected ASCB 2017 President". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  20. ^ "The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment". ASCB. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  21. ^ "The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-12-13.

External links

  • Official website
  • ASCB Education: iBiology - free online biology lectures
  • The ASCB Post