Association for Biology Laboratory Education

ABLE 2017, University of Wisconsin – Madison

University of Wisconsin emblem

39th Annual ABLE Meeting
University of Wisconsin – Madison
June 13-16, 2017

Madison, WI

The 39th annual ABLE conference was held June 13-16, 2017 at the University of Wisconsin ( in Madison, the state capitol, which is situated on an isthmus between two beautiful lakes, Mendota and Monona. Madison is one of only two major US cities located on an isthmus (the other is Seattle, WA).

The university was founded in 1848, the same year Wisconsin became a state. The UW has a proud history of research in biological fields from key innovations in dairy science at the end of the 19th century to the first laboratory cultivation of embryonic stem cells at the turn of the 21st. Central to the UW’s mission is the Wisconsin Idea, the conviction that the university should actively benefit the entire Wisconsin population. The Madison campus may span 936 acres, but, as the saying goes, “the boundaries of the University are the boundaries of the state.”

The campus hosts approximately 30,000 undergraduates 13,000 graduate and professional students; the city itself is home to nearly 250,000 individuals. Thirty-four undergraduate majors and 49 graduate majors in the biological sciences are offered across seven of the campus’ 13 schools and colleges.

ABLE participants spent their conference time in the labs and classrooms of our Zoology and Botany departments. In their free time they explored the many culinary, cultural, historical, and recreational treasures of Madison. They took a stroll along the shores of Lake Mendota and stopped by the Chazen Art Museum or Henry Vilas Zoo. Hopped a B-cycle and saw why Madison was awarded Platinum status as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. On Saturday some joined the leisurely procession around the Capitol where the country’s largest producer-only farmer’s market blossoms into life. Those still hungry after all the fresh produce and famous spicy cheese bread looked for international fare or a meal prepared entirely from locally sourced ingredients, and found it. Those thirsty found that Madison and its surrounding area is home to at least 18 microbreweries. And definitely many wisely chose NOT to skip the ice cream from UW’s Babcock Dairy! There was always more to enjoy in “Mad” Town (see and we were thrilled to welcome you to our city and campus for ABLE 2017.

Jean Heitz and Julia Collins
ABLE 2017 Hosts
ABLE 2017 Slideshow (PDF)