The Latvian Biochemical Society (LaBS) currently comprises more than 80 active members and it is eagerly looking forward to opening new opportunities to its members and expanding its list of activities. LaBS, in a joint effort with the Lithuanian and Estonian Biochemical societies, has been actively involved in the organization of FEBS3+ conferences (in 2018 in Dubingiai, 2019 in Riga and 2022 in Tallin) by using the opportunities and the support of FEBS – these joint events have resulted in new collaborations and advancement of the field of biochemistry and molecular biology research in the Baltic States.
Looking back in 2023, a few events worth sharing stand out. First, the national LaBS conference took place in February at the University of Latvia – in this annual one-day event, the newest results of the scientific research were presented by the Society’s members and the actual information regarding FEBS activities was announced.
In October, LaBS held an educational event intended for principal investigators from the life sciences field. This event ‘Best Practices in Leadership and Student Mentoring in Life Science Research’ covered several relevant topics – roles and expectations of the supervisor and PhD student, efficient communication, academic integrity, and understanding psychological aspects of efficient leadership. The event was initiated by the FEBS Educational Ambassador in Latvia and organised with the support of FEBS and the University of Latvia. Prof. Robert Harris from Karolinska Institute acted as the main facilitator, while Prof. Xavier Coumoul, the FEBS Network Committee chair, delivered a lecture on academic integrity issues. We were also very pleased to welcome FEBS Education Committee chair Prof. Ferhan Sagin and FEBS Integration Committee chair Prof. Jerka Dumic. This event became possible thanks to the continuous support of the FEBS Education Committee.
In November, Latvia became the European Molecular Biology Conference’s (EMBC) 31st member state following approval of the accession agreement enabling Latvian scientists to benefit from the full suite of EMBO Programmes and thus strengthening the life science community in Europe and beyond. The EMBC, founded in 1969, cooperates with countries and organizations beyond Europe to foster interactions with scientific communities elsewhere. It hosts the most modern scientific infrastructure in Europe and the world, which has not been available to Latvia so far. Moreover, it opens new opportunities for cooperation in research, training courses and seminars of various levels, as well as coordination of research and infrastructure of EMBL participants. Dr. Jānis Kloviņš, an honourable member of the Latvian Biochemical Society, will serve as Latvia’s new EMBC delegate. We acknowledge that it marked an important milestone for Latvia and expect that Latvia's participation in EMBC will lead to long-term benefits for LaBS members.