Eisuke Mekada(RIMD, Osaka University)
About the Japan Society for Cell Biology
It has been more than 65 years since the Japan Society for Cell Biology (JSCB) was formed in 1950 as a gathering of people who study cells, the basic building blocks of life. While focusing on cell biology, the society has participants from the fields of medicine, science, engineering, and pharmacology, and now boasts more than 1,200 members. The field of cell biology developed into the field now known as molecular and cellular biology through the introduction of the electron microscope, improvements in optical microscopes, the development of various biochemical techniques, and the introduction of molecular biology, as well as cellular and genetic engineering.
Research on living organisms, whether plant or animal, has advanced rapidly, and the results have been applied to such fields as medicine, agriculture, and pharmacology. Cell biology is now at the center of bioscience, and our current age demands even further developments in this field.
Our goals are to publish research results, share information, and contribute to the advancement of cell biology. We hold an annual conference each spring, publish a scientific journal entitled Cell Structure and Function, and publish a bulletin. Internationally, we hosted the Third International Congress on Cell Biology in 1984 and the Third Asian-Pacific Organization for Cell Biology Congress in 1998. We have also co-organized several other international meetings both in and outside Japan.
The Japan Society for Cell Biology aspires to be a society that counts many younger researchers among its active members. I would like those young researchers to participate in running the society and working to make it an attractive organization to join. Our convention is a major selling point in terms of making the society more attractive to prospective members. This year, we successfully held the annual conference in Nagoya under the leadership of Dr. Masaki Inagaki, who served as chairman. The conference featured many exciting presentations and impassioned discussions. The success of this year’s conference was largely the result of the hard work of Dr. Inagaki and the other members of the secretariat, and I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary efforts of everyone concerned.
The 4th Young Investigator Award Trial was held at the conference in Nagoya. Of the 44 applicants, 11 were selected (through a document screening) to give presentations on the first day of the conference. Two winners were then selected through a rating process based on their presentations. The winners, as well as all of the other contenders, were impressive without doubt in terms of both the content of their research and their presentations.
In addition to organizing conferences, the society also focuses a great deal of effort on editing and publishing its journal, Cell Structure and Function (CSF). We are very glad to see many of our members submitting high quality papers to CSF. Successive editorial board heads have worked to improve the quality of this journal and have driven its transition into an online open access journal. As a result, the number of papers submitted has increased. Under the guidance of Kozo Kaibuchi, the editorial board has been making efforts to increase the speed with which submitted manuscripts are reviewed. I would like to encourage all JSCB members to consider publishing a paper in CSF as this contributes to the development of the JSCB. I hope that CSF will continue to grow and evolve into one of Japan's more highly regarded academic journals.
Finally, I would like to address the issue of incorporation. The JSCB is currently a volunteer organization without juridical responsibilities. Many difficulties arise when volunteer organizations conduct projects that are not officially recognized, and this poses problems in terms of our ability to fulfill our social responsibilities. Because of this, many societies are now choosing incorporation. An exploratory committee to examine this option was established at the JSCB council and general meetings in 2012, and the decision was made to prepare for incorporation at this year’s meeting.
Now that the articles of incorporation have been reviewed, we are hoping to obtain corporate status in the fall of 2014.
The Japan Society for Cell Biology is now at a turning point. We in the executive office are taking responsibility for the future of the JSCB by pursuing incorporation, thereby positioning the society to become a leader in the life sciences in Japan. We therefore ask for your cooperation by inviting new members to join, participating in and giving presentations at our conferences, and submitting manuscripts to CSF for publication. Our society is only as strong as our participating members, so we encourage you to become actively involved in the development of the organization.