|Eva Nogales (President), Andrew Murray (Past President), Ruth Lehmann (President-Elect), Erika C. Shugart (Chief Executive Officer), Gary J. Gorbsky (Treasurer), Kerry Bloom (Secretary)|
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".
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. In 2008 it was reported that ASCB had 11,000 members worldwide. 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.
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:
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. It also calls for scientists and institutions to reevaluate the use of impact factor to assess individual scientific efforts.
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