President’s Corner #29: London Bound!

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London Bound!

It is a real honour to become your 2021-2022 president, and this marks a very nice milestone for our international Society, as I am the first ISMRM president from outside North America and Europe—a reflection of the ISMRM’s international nature and diversity.

For those of you who do not know me, I come from Argentina, where I did my undergraduate degree in physics. In 1994, I moved to the UK to study MRI, and I spent 10 years in London. I have now been living in Australia for 16 years, and I feel I can truly fly the “international” flag as ISMRM president, and bring further international flavour to the ISMRM leadership. As the first “rest-of-the-world” president, I will do my best to increase the presence of the ISMRM in underrepresented regions, to help so that more people can benefit from the amazing things the ISMRM has to offer.

We have had a very successful 2021 Annual Meeting, with over 5500 registrants, ~4400 abstracts accepted, and an excellent educational program.

I hope it has been a very productive meeting for all of you, and that you were able to learn new things, present and discuss your work, discover new directions to take your research on, or find out things you can change to improve how you are using MR. I hope that you felt inspired by the work presented at the meeting and that you were able to foster some collaborations to expand your research network. If we manage to do even some of those things, we have all succeeded in making ISMRM still the influential meeting it has always been, despite the challenges we have all faced in recent times.

As you know, there are lots of material to watch online. This is then a great time to organise discussions at your lab and local chapter and study group meetings to review what you felt were the highlights and what will be transformational in your specific field, as well as to communicate to others the amazing things that we have seen over the last couple of weeks at the Annual Meeting.

I’d like to specially thank Tim Leiner, our outgoing president, for his excellent leadership during another very difficult COVID year; it has been a real pleasure working and learning from him over the past year. Thanks also to Nicole Seiberlich (2021 Program Chair) for her excellent steering of the Annual Meeting Program Committee to create an outstanding Annual Meeting, and to Steven Sourbron (2021 Vice-Chair) for putting together a more interactive Education program. Another massive thanks go to Roberta Kravitz and the great staff at the ISMRM Central Office, for their amazing and tireless work. For many of us, things seem to “magically” just happen behind the scenes whenever we ask for anything, but that is all credit to the great work and efficiency of Roberta and her team.

It has been a very challenging time for all. As things get better, I’d like to take this opportunity to give a message to PI’s and lab leaders. We have become used to virtual meetings, but remember some of the key benefits of in-person meetings. Therefore, please do anything under your control to give opportunities to your students and trainees to be able to attend conferences in person. It was an amazing experience for me as a student to attend the ISMRM Annual Meetings in Nice, Vancouver, Sydney, and Pennsylvania. While virtual meetings are excellent, nothing compares with being there at the meeting. In some way, it feels a bit like comparing watching a DVD of a concert of your favourite music band vs. going to see them play live. So, please make whatever is under your control to give those unforgettable experiences to your students. I still vividly remember mine more than 20 years later!

And to the students: watch material online, discuss and brainstorm with your colleagues, and reach out and network with others. You may find the clues you need to solve the problems in your current project or find the next great idea to develop and present to all of us in London next year.

Even though we are by no means out of the woods, the optimistic side in me says that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that London 2022 will finally see us once again face to face.

Please stay safe, and I hope to see you in London—which is quite symbolic for me, as it is where my MRI journey started back in 1994!

It is a real honour to be able to serve as your president for the next 12 months.

Fernando Calamante
2021-2022 ISMRM President