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INABIS '98 - The Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada
Internet World Congress '98
December 7-16

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We do hope you will learn something from this meeting, and if INABIS '98 will have helped in forming new collaborations, we do welcome hearing about this.
Henry Szechtman, INABIS '98 Congress President

Many worked on making this virtual meeting a reality. One you know of course - the person with the most questions on the Discussion Boards - Dr Ashok Grover, Chair of the Steering Committee and Chair of the Review Committee. Right from the start, he contributed in many ways to organizing INABIS '98. The high calibre of science at this meeting owes much to Grover's contributions.

The high calibre of science is also the result of the thought and efforts exerted by Symposia Chairs. They not only chose the topics of their symposia, but also invited the presenters and are leading the discussion. It was their enthusiasm to embark on this novel venture that helped convince others to join in this experiment.

Floyd Bloom and Alan Cowley, our Keynote Speakers, deserve much credit for the terrific turnout at the meeting - you are pioneers. Opening Remarks by Henry Friesen, and support of the Medical Research Council of Canada are invaluable. Peter George and Russell Joffe, your warm welcome and your support for the Congress made all participants feel at home at McMaster, the Host University. We thank Raelene Rathbone for her support. The Presidential Address by Sumio Murase helped put this 5th Congress in perspective of the ongoing activity of the INABIS. Thank you all for making the Plenary Session a most exciting and significant event.

One can readily see from the calibre of each contribution, that the authors took great care and pride in preparing their presentations for this meeting. This was not an easy task, given that an Internet meeting is a relatively novel endeavour and most presenters had no past experience to rely on. It is quite remarkable, therefore, that despite obstacles and the effort required to prepare and submit a full presentation, more than 90% of those who submitted abstracts followed it up with a full presentation. Bravo! Congratulations and thanks to all of you for your effort and perseverance when our system was less than cooperative.

Chairs of Poster sessions are doing a remarkable job of stimulating comments and questions, often on a broad range of presentations. Many thanks.

A meeting such as ours requires specialized services and Marvin G Ryder, Assistantt Vice-President, Information Services and Technology provided the required computer support from Computer Information Services (CIS), McMaster University. Ken Moyle wrote the programs to accept your submissions, edit, and convert them to the format you see on the web; quite a feat! Muriel McKay provided excellent university networking support and John DiPaolo from the Faculty of Health Sciences tweaked the right wires to get our server for the Discussion Boards up and running. Patricia Monger of CIS is recognized as a Unix guru as far as California and offered her help when it was really needed. Claude Nahmias (Nuclear Medicine, McMaster) generously loaned us his server to host the Discussion Boards. Richard Hughes of UCSD and Lilikoi Software, host of the Welcome Party, set up and continues to run the Discussion Boards - he's not just good in writing software, he is 'a scholar and a gentleman', too (I should add that we never met in person).

Jen Heneberry did tons of work, from answering literally thousands of e-mails and troubleshooting to designing the look and feel of the presentations and a good part in maintaining and updating the INABIS web site. Many thanks indeed.

Anna Garnett did much of the "fixing-up" of the submissions to make them ready for processing. If your tables look better than what you sent, thank Anna. And from me, thank you for being here and working throughout the meeting, you've been a great help.

Tim Tisdall fixed up the offline posters. Barbara Szechtman kept tabs on more than 4000 files that make up the INABIS '98 web site. She also helped design the Congress web site. Completing the family contribution, forgive if I boast, Daliah Szechtman created the beautiful icons. Bream Pathmanathan spent the summer collecting email addresses to publicize the meeting. Donna Waxman helped with contacting potential sponsors.

Special thanks to Andrea Farquhar from Media and Community Relations, McMaster University, Veronica Billard of the Faculty of Health Sciences Advancement Office, and Gillian Howard of the Public Relations Office for promoting the meeting to the public media.

Sumio Murase is a constant guide and exceedingly generous supporter of the Congress. He is also a member of the Steering Committee chaired by Ashok Grover. Other members of the Steering Committee include: Robert MKW Lee (McMaster University), Kinji Ohno (Mayo Clinic, USA), Marvin Ryder (McMaster University), Nobuhiro Sakata (University of Missouri, USA), Henry Szechtman (McMaster University), Katsuya Yahata (University of Occupational and Enviromental Health, Japan), Satoshi Yoshida (Oita Medical University, Japan), and Jen Heneberry (Jenworks Design & Consulting). Abstracts were read and approved by the Review Committee: Ashok Grover (Chair), Sumio Murase (Shinshu University School of Medicine, Japan), Kinji Ohno (Mayo Clinic, USA), Nobuhiro Sakata (University of Missouri, USA), Henry Szechtman (McMaster University), Katsuya Yahata (University of Occupational and Enviromental Health, Japan), Satoshi Yoshida (Oita Medical University, Japan), Janos Nemeth (Semmelweis Medical University, Hungary) and Marcial Garcia Rojo (Complejo Hospitalario de Ciudad Real, Spain).

Financial support was provided by Medical Research Council of Canada (MRC), Committee for Scientific Development (CSD, McMaster), the former Dept of Biomedical Sciences, the MacWork project and Fujitsu Limited, Japan. A special note of thanks goes to David Ludwin and Marie Townsend who had enough confidence in our venture to provide support in the planning stages of INABIS '98.

Henry Szechtman
Congress President

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