Time flies! In the blink of an eye, we are already near the end of 2019. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year of 2020.
In the year of 2019, IUBMB continues to support many activities in promoting biochemistry and molecular biology around the world. Several Focused and Special Meetings have been held in Lisbon/Portugal, Warsaw/Poland, Lima/Peru, and Marrakech/Morocco. In addition, the 27th FAOBMB Conference was successfully held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. All those meetings and conference have received funding support from IUBMB. One can see that the vibrant activities spread from Europe, Africa, South America to Southeast Asia. We are pleased to announce that those forward-looking focused meetings will continue in 2020: Neurodegenerative diseases in Taipei Taiwan, Crosstalk between nucleus and mitochondria in human disease in Seville, Spain, and Biochemistry & molecular biology of RNA viruses in Faridabad, India. I encourage you to attend those exciting meetings.
It should be pointed out that we initiated an experiment by encouraging the organizers to put together a Special Issue for each Focused meeting with additional funding support to the meeting. If approved, those Special Issues will be published in relevant IUBMB journals such IUBMB Life, BioFactors, etc. Those focused and special meetings are just part of benefits that our Adhering Body member societies are entitled to. Some of the past members (like The Netherlands, Austria) which have not renewed their memberships will miss the opportunity to organize such meetings.
As mentioned in my previous messages, education in molecular biosciences is an important mission for IUBMB. This goal was set up by IUBMB EC previously. We publish a unique journal devoted to education of biochemistry and molecular biology: Biochemistry and Molecular biology Education. This journal publishes papers relevant for BMB teaching which are quite useful for those seeking innovative and novel teaching platforms. I suppose it is an excellent place to advertise textbooks, meeting announcements, etc. We have been supporting various Education Workshops held in different regional BMB meetings like FEBS Congress and FAOBMB Conferences/ Congress. The FEBS Congress in Jerusalem in 2017, Prague in 2018 and Krakow and Kuala Lumpur in 2019 all have education sessions to emphasize the importance of education. We just held a symposium dedicated for education in Manila in November, 2019. All those education sessions/symposia invited prominent scholars who have been engaging in biochemistry and molecular biology teaching for many years and they have shared their precious experience (like biochemistry singing contest) with the attendees. Here I would also like to point out that Research Integrity is an aspect in education which we intend to stress in many IUBMB activities.
A number of new initiatives in education are being planned. We have received generous funding support from Tang Prize Foundation (www.tang-prize.org, Taiwan) for education purposes for nine years. We just signed the MOU between TBF and IUBMB for the next three years. We are considering to have a new special symposium supported by TPF fund in which the symposium will be organized by junior scientists including postdocs in a way similar to ENABLE meetings held in the FEBS region. Travel fellowships have been provided for young scientists to attend the Manila Education Symposium. I would like to thank Professor Janet Macaulay for organizing those education-related events.
I should add that TPF also provide speaker support through the participation of TPF laureates in various IUBMB-associated meetings. Dr. Feng Zhang from MIT was invited as a TPF Award Lecturer in the 2017 FEBS Congress in Jerusalem and Dr. Tasuku Honjo from Kyoto University was invited in the 2018 IUBMB Congress in Seoul. Both lectures were extremely successful attracting over 2000 attendees in each event. I should add that Dr. Honjo received this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Congratulations to Dr. Honjo. More notably, Experimental Biology Conference in US has held the Tang Prize Award Lectures since 2015, with the past awardees of Jim Allison in 2015, Tasuku Honjo in 2016, Feng Zhangin 2018, Brian Druker in 2019 and next awardee Tony Hunter in 2020.
IUBMB continues its close collaboration with its regional federations. IUBMB and FEBS signed an MOU regarding the mutual support in holding respective congresses, such as support for the named lecturers like IUBMB Lecture in FEBS Congress and FEBS Lecture in IUBMB Congress.
Finally, I am looking into the issue of our relationship with the International Council for Sciences (ICSU). IUBMB
withdrew from ICSU several years ago due to some accidental reasons. ICSU was merged with The International Social Science Council (ISSC) into the new International Science Council (ISC) which was approved in their council meeting held in Taipei last year. This may be an opportune time for IUBMB to consider rejoin ISC. We are also collaborating with new global partner such as UNESCO on the issues of bioeconomy or plastics in the sustainable environment. We hope IUBMB can use our leadership in the life science areas and actively exert our influence and make IUBMB more valuable to our Adhering Body members and our society. I urge you to browse IUBMB website (https://iubmb.org) where many detailed information about IUBMB can be found. Last but not the least, I sincerely seek advice from all of you and look forward to working with our IUBMB friends!
Andrew H.J. Wang, PhD