It is my great honor to serve as President of the prestigious Japanese Society for Immunology.
The year 2020 is auspicious in that it marks the 50th anniversary of JSI. Over the past half-century, immunology has evolved into one of the major medical and life science disciplines, starting from study on immunological functions and development at the molecular and cellular levels, and expanding into exhaustive and spatio-temporal analyses utilizing imaging and bioinformatics techniques, as well as pursuing a deeper understanding of immune organs at the individual tissue and their linkage levels. Cutting-edge research endeavors have been undertaken to meet the demands of the times, with productive results that include but are not limited to: interleukin-6 (IL-6) antibody and a checkpoint inhibitor based on advanced basic research, elucidation of innate immunity (e.g. toll-like receptors [TLRs]), discovery of immunoregulatory molecules including chemokines and cytokines, elucidation of immunosuppressive mechanisms (e.g. regulatory T cells), establishment and utilization of immunological big data, immunology in regenerative medicine, symbiosis and elimination via control of interdependence between enteric organisms and the immune system, clinical translational research including development of immunology-based prevention/treatment methods and vaccines based on the mucosal immune system.
In October 2018, the entire country was overjoyed when Dr. Tasuku Honjo, Distinguished Professor of Kyoto University and a JSI honorary member, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. It was awarded in recognition for his discovery of the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and subsequent basic research that led to development of the first immune checkpoint inhibitor drug. JSI is extremely proud of Dr. Honjo’s accomplishment and, on behalf of JSI, I would like to express my sincere congratulations on his award. Meanwhile, I would also like to offer heartfelt condolences on the passing of Dr. Kimishige Ishizaka, a JSI honorary member and past President of the American Association of Immunologists. Dr. Ishizaka, a great immunologist who was internationally recognized for his discovery of immunoglobulin E (IgE), will be missed by all.
Immunology has matured as an academic discipline over the last 50 years. Consequently, as with other academic societies, JSI has arrived at a crossroads where we have to depart from the conventional growth strategy. With the approach of the super-aging society and declining birthrate and the changing nature of social values and open-information social structures, the sense of belonging to an academic society as well as values regarding academic activities have changed. JSI was faced with the urgent issue of declining membership and participation in the JSI annual meetings. However, thanks to strenuous efforts by former Presidents, Dr. Shizuo Akira and Dr. Shimon Sakaguchi, and the chairpersons and executive committee members of the JSI meetings, the number of participants has rebounded and begun to increase. Leveraging such experience, JSI and its members will always keep the future in sight, continue to carry out innovative activities, and devise a variety of membership services that respond to ever-changing values and needs.
Today, immunology is an interdisciplinary research field focusing on life phenomena and a wide range of diseases that require collaboration with various academic
societies and research fields, as well as interaction with clinicians and researchers from other research fields and companies. In order for JSI to play a leading part in global immunology
research over the next half-century, we need to facilitate scientific and academic exchange with overseas immunology societies, specifically through promoting participation in JSI Meetings by
immunologists in the Asia and Oceania regions, and to establish a system for fostering the development of next-generation global researchers. Together with all JSI members, without fear of
failure and with willingness to take on challenges, we are striving to make steady progress as the global leader in immunology research. Let us build a framework to offer researchers at home and
abroad opportunities to work together in the spirit of friendly rivalry, to create opportunities for international joint research, and to promote scientific and academic exchange on a global
scale, so that next-generation researchers can play major roles in cutting-edge immunology research in the international arena. As a researcher, member and President of JSI, based on the
society’s impressive history over the last five decades, I am working to contribute to the advancement of immunology research both in Japan and overseas. In closing, I want to thank you all for
your support of JSI, and I look forward to working with you over the coming year. Let us move forward and take on whatever challenges may confront us in the next half-century!
Go and Challenge for the Next Half Century, Global JSI!!
Japanese Society for Immunology
The Japanese Society for Immunology
2nd Floor, KUMAKI Bldg., 1-4-2 Kandaizumi-cho,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0024, JAPAN
Phone: +81-3-5809-2019 Fax: +81-3-5809-2089