By Angela Craig, DVM, lab animal veterinarian and IACUC member at the University of Minnesota
The perception of time is variable. It has been over a month since PRIM&R's 2015 IACUC Conference took place in Boston, but depending on the day, it can seem like long ago or only yesterday. There are regular reminders of the passage of time all around me. Snow was falling when I left Logan Airport and the plane required de-icing before takeoff. Now the tulip bulbs are pushing up through the warm soil in Minnesota.
When a conference ends we return to the familiar patterns of our everyday lives. It is easy to become immersed in work while the days quickly pass. I intentionally left my conference materials in plain view on my desk to be sure I regularly referenced my top take-home messages. In doing so I remembered how difficult it had been to choose from the many topics offered during the breakout sessions. However, I can still access the content of those sessions via on the conference proceedings (the materials are available by using the access code provided in a pre-conference email). My goal is to take a few minutes each week to review at least two sessions I did not attend onsite. Attending a session in person is valuable since audience questions and discussion supplement the speakers' presentation, yet it's also helpful to have the materials available throughout the year to review in the quiet of my office. As time progresses, new issues arise and make specific topics more pertinent.
The strategically placed conference materials on my desk are a daily reminder of the many interesting points presented during the keynote addresses, lectures, and panels. As this is my last blog post for the conference, I will leave you with a few of my favorites.
From Frans B. M. de Waal, PhD, we learned about primate social intelligence, and our own. Like us, the great apes have clear methods of conflict resolution, they use eye contact to truly "see" one another during reconciliation, and they value fairness. Empathy is not uniquely human. The perceived gaps between humans and animals are dwindling. His presentation highlighted the importance of valuing and promoting ethical conduct in any work which involves animals.
The informative keynote of David K. Meyerholz, DVM, PhD, DACVP, DACVM, reminded us of the essential benefits of biomedical research and how appropriately selected animal models directly impact outcomes for patients.
Darin S. Carroll, PhD, Jeremy T.H. Coleman, MS, PhD, and David Skelly, PhD,described situations in which animals are targeted beneficiaries of research studies. It was impossible to leave without a heightened concern for our environment. Our interconnectedness could not be ignored as we learned how land use and water quality impacts wild populations in our own backyards.
I enjoyed meeting so many of you at the conference and I hope our paths cross again at future meetings. I am sincerely grateful for your readership and time you've shared with me.
Angela Craig is a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2015 IACUC Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who blogged here, on Ampersand, to give our readers an inside peek of what happened at the conference in Boston, MA, and how they have used what they've learned there since they returned home.