A while ago I wrote about the (North American) Microbiome Congress, to be held in San Diego in January 2017, because of the lack of women among the speakers. Jonathan Eisen also wrote a post about that.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the conference organizer, Kisaco Research, has taken our criticism to heart, and has worked hard to improve the diversity of the invited speakers. They now have a great line-up with Jessica Metcalf, Emma Taylor, David Pride, Julia Oh, Sarkis Mazmanian, Embriette Hyde, Susan Holmes, Rob Knight, Jeff Leach, George Weinstock, Curtis Huttenhower, and Catherine Lozupone.
They also feature the following statement on the conference’s website:
“The process of choosing a speaker faculty has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we have made. We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that the speaker faculty reflect the diversity and culture of the field and science as a whole. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Kisaco Research is deeply committed to producing events that represent the diversity of the scientific fields we work with. We are embarrassed that this has been previously overlooked and are currently working to make this, and all other programmes, ones that the leading scientists are proud to be a part of.
Kudos to Kisaco Research for listening, apologizing, and taking action. That takes courage and I so, so, appreciate this.
Their new line-up looks like a wonderful set of speakers, and you might want to give this conference a second look. The North American Microbiome Congress from January 24-25 in San Diego.
Full disclosure: Kisaco Research has invited me to come to the congress, which I accepted. I might see you there!