One thing I was immediately struck by at my first Biophysical Society meeting was the level of international participation. I am not talking about foreign graduate students and postdocs, who are a huge population at many scientific meetings, but the actual number of people who travel from non-US locations to attend this meeting. It means that when you talk to someone or meet someone new, he/she is often a world expert in their chosen subfield.
The meeting is a great incubator for international collaborations. I heard Sonia Longhi from Marseilles, France give a great talk about pieces of the measles virus a few meetings ago, made contact, and my group began to work with our experimental methodology in the context of her proteins. we had a chance earlier today to talk in some depth about the future of this work, prospects for publication, etc. So for me, this year’s meeting was a wonderful realization of something that started at the same place several years ago.