Signals Blog
Cascade mountain as seen from Banff Avenue. The Till & McCulloch Meetings will take place at the iconic Banff Springs hotel Oct 23-25.

Cascade mountain as seen from Banff Avenue. The Till & McCulloch Meetings will take place Oct 23-25 and you can follow updates on this blog, as well as on and on Twitter #TMM2013. Photo: Banff tourism

If the thought of majestic mountains, impossibly blue skies and natural hot springs isn’t enough to put Banff, Alberta into your calendar this week, then perhaps this preview of the Till & McCulloch Meetings will change your mind. This is the second iteration of the Till & McCulloch Meetings (the first one took place in Montreal in 2012), and it promises to firmly establish the Meetings as a not-to-miss event. Why?

First, it builds on a 12-year tradition of scientific conferences that started with the Stem Cell Network’s first meeting, way back in 2001. That meeting, and the ones that followed it, subscribed to a simple premise: foster collaboration by sharing cutting-edge (and often unpublished) science.

Which leads to the second reason: community. The 2001 meeting was small — only 50-odd people attended — and even though this week’s Meetings (or TMM2013 as it’s been dubbed) is much larger, the 400 +/- delegates will have access to that same sense of community and vitality. What has changed is the breadth of the community, once a closer circle of primarily lab scientists, now a gathering of scientists, ethicists, policy-makers, clinicians, venture capitalists, and industry representatives. More than anything, this breadth signals just how much the field of stem cell and regenerative medicine research has matured in the past 12 years. The integration of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine in 2012 (which, incidentally, also spurred the new name for the Meetings) further underlines the point that while basic science is still critically important, future work will need to bring commercial interests to the table.

Third, the diversity of plenary presentations, from Nishikawa in the opening keynote, to Zandstra’s award address, to the roster of talks by the next generation of scientific leaders – have a look at what’s in store here and here.

Fourth, the screen debut of StemCellShorts, a new series of short, animated videos about stem cells, with a sneak peek of the final in the pilot series, “What are induced pluripotent stem cells?” (we launched the first two on the blog on September 27 and October 11 and we’re pretty proud of them, in case you haven’t noticed).

Fifth, great sponsors, including BD Biosciences, our Title Sponsor, and Gold Sponsors STEMCELL Technologies and Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. We are proud to have more industry, government and NGO support in 2013 than any previous meeting.

And finally, the sixth reason: What happens at pub night, stays at pub night. Or something like that.

If you won’t be in Banff, or even if you will be, we’ll be posting regular conference summaries by Signals bloggers David Brindley and David Kent, as well as cross-posting blogs by our 2013 guest blogger, Paul Knoepfler, from You can also get live reports by following the #TMM2013 hashtag on Twitter.

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Lisa Willemse

Lisa Willemse

Lisa is a science communicator with 15+ years' experience in the fields of regenerative medicine, child development and technology. She launched this blog (first as the Stem Cell Network Blog) in 2009, and served as co-editor until April 2015. She is currently the Senior Communications Advisor for the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and has recently contributed to Motherboard, Science Borealis and the Genome Alberta and Canadian Blood Services blogs. Follow her on Twitter and Medium @WillemseLA.