Reflections on SEASR

Written by Robert Carnahan and David Blum

The fourth annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Shared Resources (SEASR) was held at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta June 22-24, 2016.  There was a total of 133 registrants including academic, government and industrial attendees.  The attendees represented a wide range of institutions across the Southeast including Emory University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, the University of Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine and others.

The conference started out with tours of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Museum followed by the opening reception and bowling tournament at Wisteria Lanes in the Emory Conference Center with both being big hits among attendees.  On Thursday, June 23rd, the opening keynote focused on problem-solving strategies and it led directly into a 90 minute hands-on problem-solving workshop.  Both sessions were led by Joe Rando (Vanderbilt).   Friday, June 24th began with a double-header keynote with 2 sessions focused on crisis management using the Ebola epidemic as the theme. Aneesh Mehta, one of the attending physicians at Emory discussed how teamwork was used to manage the treatment of several US based infected individuals.  This session was followed by a joint session by Erika James, Dean of the Emory-Goizueta Business School and Inger Damon, Director of the CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology.  They presented on “Leading Under Pressure” which continued the Ebola theme and focused on leadership qualities.

The significant focus on lab management continued throughout each day of the meeting with breakouts sessions on topics such as managing staff in lean times, writing a business plan, “speaking business”, and a discussion of the role of Cores in  education, training and outreach.   Each day also included vendor-sponsored sessions with workshops by Swift Bioscience, Agilent and HTG Molecular, Pall-Forte-Bio and 3Scan.  The conference concluded with a workshop of Lean principles and included using LEAN principles in a hands-on activity to make paper airplanes as a group.  The initial survey results have been very positive and we look forward to seeing everybody next year in Tampa!

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