It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 24th annual meeting of the ISMRM in Singapore! Those of us on the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) have been working for over a year to bring you the best meeting possible. As I will be detailing in coming blog posts, I think you will find Singapore to be a beautiful and welcoming city, with lots of opportunities in particular for great food from all over the world. The Suntec convention center is also one of the most modern centers the ISMRM has ever seen. From the largest HD display in the world, to the beautiful atrium area through to the high-tech exhibition hall, I’m convinced that you will enjoy your time in the convention center. Just around the corner are some of the most magnificent buildings on the planet, including the ArtScience Museum, the magnificent domed Gardens by the Bay, and the stunning Marina Bay Sands Hotel and shopping center. Nearby are the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street, all of which have lots to do, see and eat at nearly every hour of the day. I’m sure that you will enjoy these parts of the city during the week.
This year’s annual meeting program starts with our educational courses, which will begin over the first weekend and run throughout the week. The Vice Chair of the AMPC, Dr. Scott Reeder, and the rest of the team have done a fantastic job of designing an educational program that covers nearly every area of MRI, from basic physics up to clinical practice, while offering content for everyone from the first-time trainee up to the old MRI veteran. Just like last year, we will be continuing combined educational-scientific courses, which mix basic background lectures with cutting edge scientific content. I hope that you take some time out of your week to attend some of these exciting courses.
I personally can’t wait to see our plenary and named lectures this year. Dr. Xiaoying Wang start the week off with the Mansfield lecture on Monday. Dr. Kawin Setsompop will continue with NIBIB New Horizons lecture on Wednesday. And finally Dr. Zhi-Pei Liang will hold the Lauterbur Lecture on Thursday. On Monday, instead of a conventional plenary lecture, we will begin discussion of the MR Value Initiative, which is a new program being developed by our current president, Dr. Jim Pipe. I know that this initiative will be of interest for nearly every member of the ISMRM, and so I hope that you can attend this session.
The biggest change to the scientific program this year will happen before any of us arrive in Singapore. This year we will be transitioning away from the PDF-based abstracts to a more simple, HTML-based format. I know that this change in the submission process could be challenging this year, but all of us on the AMPC are convinced that this change is necessary to bring us into the future. Besides lessening the load on the internet during the meeting itself, converting to this format will make abstracts dramatically easier to read on a variety of mobile devices. I also firmly believe that it will take less time to submit abstracts once we get through this initial learning period. However, because of this change, I urge you to prepare your abstracts early to lessen the stress of last-minute submissions!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the fantastic group of people who work for our society out of the Central Office. In particular, I would like to thank Candace Spradley and Melissa Simcox who have done a fantastic job coordinating our educational program. Sally Moran has had to endure our endless requests for changes during this abstract submission transition, and I truly thank her for her endless patience through this process. And finally, I’d like to thank Roberta Kravitz who keeps us all headed in the right direction. So much of this meeting depends on the hard work of the entire group in the Central Office. While most of us only see them for the week of the annual meeting, I can promise you that they are constantly working to serve your needs to make our society better, and I would like to personally thank them for all of their help during my time as AMPC chair.
On behalf of the AMPC, I invite you to come to Singapore to learn something new, to meet with friends old and new and to explore a part of the world that you may not have seen before. I can’t wait to see you there!