Building on a strong start
Yao’s membership in SSR extends to the early days of his scientific career. “When I followed the advice of my doctoral mentor and became a trainee member of the society in 1996, I wondered why people spend money and time on a group that seems to be more of a concept rather than a physical being,” said Yao. “It did not take long. Once I attended my first SSR annual meeting, I was sold.”
He was impressed by the togetherness he experienced and the dedication to the science that he witnessed. “The diverse research endeavors, animated yet collegial discussions, and the kind and welcoming gesture of seasoned members with their intimating titles and names convinced me that SSR is more than an acronym,” he explained.
Vision for coming term
“My vision for the SSR as a director is to maintain and enhance this togetherness during this tumultuous time that isolates us,” said Yao. He shared a few ideas he would like to pursue, to unite members and expand the society’s global presence.
- Delegate members from different parts of the world to hold local virtual symposia that will be broadcast to the entire SSR membership.
- Establish mentoring networks that pair trainees and junior members with established SSR members.
- Increase participation of international and minority members in leadership roles.
- Enhance the visibility of the society’s journal, Biology of Reproduction.
“I envision these measures as a way to arouse the creative minds of the membership and spark innovative ideas that will carry our society into a new era,” he said.
Continuing the NIEHS presence
Yao noted that scientists at NIEHS, particularly in Reproductive & Developmental Biology Laboratory (RDBL), have both a long history of research excellence in reproductive sciences, as well as prominent leadership roles in the international scientific society.
RDBL Chief Francesco DeMayo, Ph.D., is the society’s current president. Other NIEHS scientistswho served as presidents in the past include Sally Darney, Ph.D., and Mitch Eddy, Ph.D., both now retired.
Learn more about Yao’s background in this Environmental Factor article from May 2020, “Scientific Journeys: From literary translation to reproductive biology.”