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Virtual Symposium on Phylogenomics and Comparative Genomics

Jesús and I are co-organizing a virtual symposium on phylogenomics and comparative genomics. The reason? We were supposed to organize a symposium on the same topic for the meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution to be held in Québec, Canada. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, it got cancelled. So we decided to make it happen (virtually) anyway.

So far, the symposium is being a success! We got funding from The Company of Biologists, we got 1) an impressive, diverse and gender balanced speaker roster, 2) a special session on easy-to-implement guidelines for more inclussive labs (particularly regarding gender balance), 3) a special session on open science by and for scientists, 4) over1,000 participants from 60 different countries, including countries underrepresented in this type of meetings such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, South Korea or Saudi Arabia, and 5) 43% of female participants (!). Big thanks to Paschalia Kapli for the nice tweet about our simposium! :-) (see screenshot below).

Yesterday it was the first day of the symposium. I´m overall very happy with result. From the 1,000 participants, 690 were registered to the Zoom meeting, and talks had a mean number of participants of around 400 people. Both Jesús and I are pretty new to hosting big meetings in Zoom, and there were a couple of funny technical problems. For example, someone was not muted and was flushing the toilet while Ya Yang was answering questions. Also, somehow 6 people appeared in my Zoom screened under Jesús's name, including one of the speakers, so I thought the speaker was not in the meeting and I couldn´t unmute Jesús because I was not able to identify who he really was (probably a Zoom bug, has anyone seen this before?). It was like playing the Zoom version of Who´s Waldo! Anyway, we managed to solve it in the best way we could, and at the end all speakers could present their research successfully.

Looking forward to day 2! See you later via Zoom :-)

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