With the greatest reluctance, the ISBR Board has decided to cancel the 16th ISBR Symposium (ISBR2022) that was scheduled for 10 to 14 April 2022 in St Louis, Missouri, USA.

The ongoing uncertainties associated with the emergence of COVID-19, and particularly the more recent emergence of the Omicron variant, mean that the ISBR2022 symposium is no longer a financially viable proposition. The numbers of infections, driven by the recent spread of Omicron, have increased rapidly around the world, including in the USA. The international and domestic USA travel restrictions and uncertainty caused by this are exceptional circumstances beyond our control. Sadly, they mean that in-person attendance levels at the symposium, which relies on more than half of its participants coming from outside the USA, will be reduced to extremely low levels, are now predicted to be significantly less than 100 paying participants.

Having already postponed the symposium from October 2021, the Board has considered other possibilities such as a scaled-down event combined with virtual participation in the symposium. However, none of these options enables ISBR to hold the symposium in a way that will enable it to cover the costs of doing so. Proceeding with the St Louis symposium in any form in the circumstances that we now face would be irresponsible, knowingly incurring greater expenses that would not be recuperated.

As you know, planning is well-advanced for ISBR2022 and an excellent program with confirmed high-quality speakers has been developed. It is therefore particularly disappointing that the Board has had to take this decision. We would like to thank and apologise to everyone who has worked so hard to prepare for ISBR2022 – developing the program, setting up the website and registration systems, approaching sponsors, planning the symposium and venue logistics, and promoting the symposium. We would especially like to thank our sponsors and everyone who has registered and/or worked to prepare presentations, parallel session discussions and posters. We will be in touch with all of you separately.

Dr. Joe Smith
ISBR President

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