XXXIV International Congress of Physiological Sciences: It's For Anatomists, Too!


The 34th International Congress of Physiological Sciences will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, 26–31 August 2001. The organizing committee warmly invites all readers of The Anatomical Record, The New Anatomist, and Developmental Dynamics to register for a meeting where the science will be as exciting as the destination.


The Congress is a significant event for anyone with an interest in the life sciences. Physiology is an eclectic discipline, borrowing freely from many sources and integrating many different ideas. The theme for the 2001 Congress is “From Molecule to Malady”. It emphasizes the increasing importance of functional genomics and focuses on its practical therapeutic implications. And inherent in this is a continuing recognition of the importance of a detailed knowledge of structure for the understanding of function.


The new format developed for the scientific program of the 2001 Congress is based on two principles. First, a large meeting should focus on what it can do that a small, specialist meeting cannot. Essentially, this means promoting the cross-disciplinary fertilization of ideas that is made possible by the breadth of coverage of topics characteristic of a large meeting. Secondly, it is essential that there are maximum opportunities for delegates to participate actively in the program.

Distinguished Lectures

Each day will begin and end with two distinguished lectures on “cutting-edge” topics by distinguished scientists currently active in those fields. The lectures will provide background to themes that will run through each day's sessions.


This term has been coined to describe sessions aiming to achieve a synthesis of differing approaches to a specific issue. The sessions will be two hours long, presenting three different speakers and chaired by a moderator. Open discussion will follow the presentations. Speakers will be asked to focus on new ideas and present concepts rather than detailed data, to provoke lively debate through presentations that are provocative, controversial, integrative, and intellectually stimulating. Abstracts of the presentations will be available on the Internet beforehand so as to encourage informed debate. Synthesia will link, where appropriate, with Official Satellites held before and after the main Congress (see below) and with poster sessions during the Congress. There will be some 16 synthesia each day. In contrast to the essentially retrospective focus of traditional symposia, synthesia will be prospective in nature.


The organizing committee has decided that all original communications will be presented as posters. We believe that, in the context of a diverse, international audience, this will improve scientific communication. Generous time has been set aside for poster viewing and during this time, there will be no competing activities. Posters will be displayed and discussed in small groups, arranged according to their content. They will be displayed at the sites set aside for Poster Focus Group discussions.

Poster Focus Groups

Up to 50 Poster Focus Groups will be scheduled each day. Each focus group will be chaired by a moderator and will provide an open discussion of each of the 10–15 posters presented at that focus group site. Poster abstracts (that may include a diagram or table) will be available on the Internet before the Congress to assist participants in the discussion.

Some poster groups will focus on “Designated Topics”. These sessions will deal with topics that the program committee regards as important but which are not represented elsewhere in the program. Posters for such sessions may be invited.


Official satellite meetings will be an integral part of the program planning and will be held before and after the Congress. Currently, 40 such meetings are planned. Details are available on the Congress web site whose address is given below. Wherever possible, satellite meetings will be linked with Congress sessions and topics.


A number of scientific meetings will be held in the region around the date of the Congress. These include the 9th International Congress of Toxicology in Brisbane in mid-July; the 7th World Congress for Microcirculation and the Bioiron 2001 Congress in Cairns the week immediately before the Christchurch Congress; and the Annual Meeting of the Australian Society of Nephrology in Darwin the week following the Christchurch Congress. Details of other meetings will be posted on our web site from time to time.


It is important to provide links between the exciting advances in biomedical knowledge and their practical applications. For this reason, a series of Continuing Medical Education (CME) breakfasts will run throughout the week to provide clinicians and others, with reviews of developments in physiology and pathophysiology in areas of clinical importance. The Congress will meet the Essentials and Standards of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) with category 1 designation.


There will be a trade exhibition, with the opportunity for exhibitors to mount workshops demonstrating specific techniques. Many exhibitors have already booked space.

There will be a pre-Congress Teaching Satellite Meeting together with special poster and other displays related to teaching during the Congress.

Public lectures and sponsored symposia that are not part of the official Congress program may be held on site in the evenings.

A full social program is planned that will include opportunities to enjoy both cultural and sporting activities. There will be a colourful Maori ceremony to open the Congress and a lively Carnival Dinner. The Convention Centre has excellent facilities for participants to meet informally in pleasant surroundings.


In keeping with a congress of the new millennium, the organizers plan to use modern information technology extensively. Central to this will be the Congress web site that you are invited to visit at “”.

The site is under continuous development. It functions to provide information and facilities for electronic registration, abstract submission and the planning of all Congress activities. There will be search facilities, program details and abstracts, maps showing venue and accommodation locations with distances between them, a list of registrants with facilities to contact individuals, and details of tours and entertainment available. Abstracts will be published on compact disk, with facilities on site for printout of all or selected abstracts if required. Distinguished lectures and CME sessions will also be available on CD for purchase after the Congress.


The 2001 Congress is held under the aegis of the International Union of Physiological Sciences. The Royal Society of New Zealand and the Physiological Society of New Zealand successfully bid to host the Congress against stiff competition from Japan and the United States. On being awarded the Congress, the Physiological Society of New Zealand established a separate incorporated society, the New Zealand Physiological Conference Society, to organize and run the 2001 Congress.


All of those involved in the organization of the 34th International Congress of Physiological Sciences warmly invite all biomedical scientists to attend the Congress in 2001. We are well aware that much of the new renaissance in physiology is taking place not only in conventional departments of physiology but in many groups whose research covers the whole range “from Molecule to Malady.” This Congress is designed for you, as well as for the more conventional, academic physiologist. We want you there to make your contribution to what we believe will be the most exciting scientific meeting that has ever been held in New Zealand. Don't miss it!