From the Editors
C. Russell Y. Cruz, MD, PhD
There is much to celebrate about the upcoming face-to-face 2022 ISCT meeting in San Francisco this May https://www.isctglobal.org/isct2022/home. For many, there is something comforting about a triumphant return to in-person events – a sense of getting back to familiar things, a longing for escape from a stressful two years, an excitement borne out of witnessing science develop therapies in record time.
A sense of coming home.
Science, especially those based on platforms like cell and gene therapy, thrives on collaboration. The big leaps made possible by technological ingenuity notwithstanding, there is something about meeting each other in person – something we have often taken for granted – that gives us a sense of a more productive interaction.
Perhaps this is a consequence of the inherent focus live conversations bring. Face to face, one is less likely to be answering emails or doing something else on the side. In most cases, attention really is given to the people in front of you.
Perhaps it is based on the contributions of nonverbal communication to understanding. We have often heard this in one form or another - nonverbal cues play a prominent role in our communications. We convey commitment, enthusiasm, passion nonverbally. Being in the same physical environment, right across from one another, helps us understand these nonverbal cues better. In the variable resolutions of the video images, as we have experienced in the past two years, it is often difficult to see the other person more clearly, which is magnified in bigger meetings with participants present on a single screen. If communication is key to most successful projects, then enhancing it in any way can only be a good thing.
Or maybe the experience of productive interaction is related to our deeply settled human need to feel connected as a community. There is a reason “zoom fatigue” now exists in our vocabulary. For all the benefits of online platforms, including the ability to reach out to colleagues from far away more regularly, we tend to thrive more in social settings.
So, to the cell and gene therapy scientists, clinicians, technologists, advocates, and other stakeholders getting together at the Moscone Center from May 4 to 7: I hope you will all feel rejuvenated by hearing – from a person right in front of you - what everyone has been up to in the last two years.
We invite you to witness the exciting new advances in cell and gene therapy with us. Check us out at https://telegraft.isctglobal.org/, or follow us on Twitter (@telegraft) or at LinkedIN https://www.linkedin.com/company/isctglobal/.