LASA Virtual Annual Conference 2021

2021 proved to be an excellent online annual meeting, with 247 delegates in attendance over the 6 afternoons in November listening to presentations by 31 expert speakers. Delegates also had opportunity to visit our Trade partners who had stands in the virtual Exhibition Hall, LASA is thankful for their ongoing support and sponsorship at our events. This was the first year LASA had organised an online virtual conference, which does present its own challenges. However, the different format does offer potential advantages in terms of bringing in a wider range of speakers for the scientific lectures and reaching members of the LASA community who may not ordinarily travel to a meeting or conference

The scientific sessions covered a wide range of issues relating to the meeting’s coronavirus theme. Topics discussed ranged from: Preclinical insights into the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine; Did the pandemic elevate scientists’ voice in society?; Developing therapies for Covid-19; the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement), Culture of Care within facilities, how this was affected during the pandemic and how it has been altered for the future; the world of virtual teaching and training, what has worked well and how can this be further developed? Learning from educators’ experiences to teaching online, blended learning and social distancing challenges during the pandemic; Colony management moving forward from Covid-19 and large animal models and vaccine development, including facility responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Workshop formats were also popular and included discussion in breakouts rooms on the following topics: Culture of Care: action points for research facilities; Cryostock Management after Covid-19; Optimization of Colony Management – strategy changes post lockdown and Genetic Drift – strategies to minimise impact; and we were happy to include an ASRU Change Programme update.

We are very grateful to all our speakers, chairpersons, Brief2events and to everyone else for making the meeting such a success. It is also pleasing to see the large number of students who attended from South Staffordshire College with their tutors.

If anyone who missed the meeting itself would still like to register for the opportunity to watch recordings of the presentations “on demand”, please contact the LASA Secretariat (info@lasa.co.uk ) as the majority of speakers have given permission for their talks to be accessed via a secure online platform until May 2022.