OFFICERS: Shosuke Ito (JSPCR, President); Stan Pavel (ESPCR, Vice-President); Richard A. King (PASPCR, Secretary/Treasurer)

COUNCIL MEMBERS: Sally Frost-Mason (PASPCR); Sheila Mac Neil (ESPCR); Masako Mizoguchi (JSPCR); James J. Nordlund (PASPCR); Patrick A. Riley (ESPCR); Shigeki Shibahara (JSPCR); Vincent J. Hearing (Ex Officio member as the Editor of Pigment Cell Research)

A Letter from the IFPCS President to the ESPCR members

As the chair of the 17th International Pigment Cell Conference (IPCC) held in Nagoya this fall, I wish to express my sincere thanks to ESPCR and PASPCR members as well as other participants who came a long distance to attend the meeting. We were very pleased to welcome 69 participants from the European continent (13 countries), 71 from the North American continent (2 countries), and 28 from the Asian continent (4 countries), in addition to 139 from Japan. Interest and attendance at the symposia and satellite meetings were great and stimulating discussions were held during and between the formal sessions throughout the meeting. We do believe that most, if not all, of the participants learned new advances in pigment cell research and also enjoyed the social programs.

The outgoing and new members of the IFPCS Council held two official meetings during the Nagoya IPCC and elected, as Officers for the next 3 years, Shosuke Ito (JSPCR) President, Stan Pavel (ESPCR) Vice-President and Richard A. King (PASPCR) Secretary/Treasurer. The election was based on the rotation cycle that began 9 years ago when the IFPCS was established at the Kobe IPCC. I am very honored to serve as the President following the successful completion of the terms of the previous 3 Presidents, Drs. Yutaka Mishima, Giuseppe Prota, and Vincent J. Hearing. On behalf of the Officers, I wish to assure you that we will work hard with the Council to continue the growth and interactions initiated during the first 3 IFPCS administrations. We want to congratulate the departing Officers, President Vincent J. Hearing, Vice-President Yoshiaki Hori, and Secretary-Treasurer Patrick A. Riley for their outstanding work and achievements in the last 3 years. Their efforts greatly helped the IFPCS grow and initiate new activities that make the IFPCS more effective in fostering scientific exchange among members. We also would like to welcome new Council members, Drs. Patrick Riley (who served as the Secretary/Treasurer following the untimely death of Dr. Bengt S. Larsson), Richard A. King, and Shigeki Shibahara and express farewell to departing Council members, Drs. Yoshiaki Hori and Yutaka Mishima.

The IFPCS has established the following goals for the Federation (also available on the IFPCS Web page at

1. To encourage the dissemination of knowledge related to pigment cells by the establishment, sponsorship and support for the publication of books, bulletins, newsletter, journal, reports or other means.

To organize a tri-annual international meeting, to honor outstanding contributions in the field by awarding the Myron Gordon award at that meeting, and to select a scientist who has made recent and significant advances in the field to present the Seiji Memorial lecture.

To foster and enhance research on pigment cells and pigmentation among the regional Societies and to foster scientific collaboration, cooperation and communication among the regional Societies.

Goal #1 was achieved by establishing an official IFPCS-sponsored journal, Pigment Cell Research ( Thanks to the efforts of the founding Editor Dr. Joseph T. Bagnara (1987-1994) and the subsequent Editors Drs. Takuji Takeuchi (1995) and Jiro Matsumoto (1996-1999), the journal has grown steadily and shown continued improvement to the point that it now has an Impact Factor score of 1.3. I wish to congratulate Dr. Jiro Matsumoto for his outstanding job in promoting the progress of the journal during his 4-year term as Editor. The journal will now enter a new era under the leadership of Editor Dr. Vincent J. Hearing (2000-2004) who will be supported by a new panel of 15 Associate Editors. To further promote the growth of the journal, it is essential that the numbers of subscribers and submitted papers be increased. I wish to urge all PASPCR members to subscribe to Pigment Cell Research, as this is the official journal of the Federation. With your help, I am confident that the 5-year editorship of Dr. Hearing will produce even further progress in the rank and value of Pigment Cell Research.

Goal #2 may be the most visible one among the several efforts that the IFPCS has been making. Starting with the Nagoya IPCC, the Federation has established the rule that the (International) Scientific Program Committee should include the IFPCS President and 3 Council members, allowing the Local Organizing Committee to work closely with representatives from the Federation in selecting speakers and Symposium topics. As the Chair of the 17th IPCC, I found this system to work very smoothly and effectively. Much of the credit for the scientific success of the Nagoya IPCC should be given to Dr. Hearing and other members of the International Program Committee. As the President of the Federation, I am now looking forward to working closely with the Chair of the 18th IPCC, Dr. Stan Pavel. I am happy to inform you that the venue of the 18th IPCC, to be held in September 2002, is a splendid, five star hotel in Scheveningen on the North Sea coast of the Netherlands.

Goal #3 is being achieved through three related and important initiatives that the IFPCS has taken in the past several years. Special Interest Groups have been established and are providing substantial benefits to our scientific community, as shown on our Web page. We now have Special Interest Groups in the subdisciplines of Biology of Melanoma, Developmental Biology, Genetics of Pigmentation, Hypo/Hyperpigmentation, Ocular/Extracutaneous Pigmentation, and Vitiligo. As the Chair of the 17th IPCC, I was very pleased that three of those groups held Satellite meetings at the IPCC under the themes of 1) Vitiligo: A Manifestation of Apoptosis? 2) Regulation and Genetics of Pigmentary Genes, and 3) Cellular and Molecular Control of Pigment Cell Development. All the satellite meetings were well attended and appreciated. The Federation Council has decided to continue these Interest Groups as a mechanism to promote pigment cell research.

Another initiative to achieve Goal #3 was the establishment of the IFPCS Visiting Scientist Award. The grants, established in 1997, are intended to support investigators from one of the regional Societies who wish to visit the laboratory of an investigator in another regional Society to learn specialized techniques and/or to establish collaborations. You will find a full description of the program, the name of generous corporate donors, and the name of awardees on the IFPCS web page. The program was established with funding for 9 visiting scientist awards, with each regional Society being allotted 3 awards for the 3 years' period beginning in 1997. To date 5 individuals have received an award of $3,000 each to cover expenses for their travel and accommodation. The initial 3-year period of the program will end next year, but we hope to continue this program with a renewal of corporate donations.

The third initiative is the establishment of the InterPig DataBase, which collects data on research reagents and resources available to the pigment cell community. The database is available to all researchers, especially to members of regional Societies. It includes 115 biochemicals, cell cultures, immunological and molecular biology reagents, and mouse mutants. I hope that ESPCR members will take advantages of the database and will consider adding their new and/or valuable reagents to the database so that these reagents are available to other investigators. This will make the database more useful and will promote pigment cell research collaborations among the scientific community.

Finally, I sincerely hope that we will see healthy and steady progress in our 3 regional Pigment Cell Societies, ESPCR, JSPCR, and PASPCR as our term on the IFPCS Council extends to the 21st century. I urge each of you to contribute to your Society in any way you can: submitting your abstracts to the regional Society meetings, publishing your papers in the Pigment Cell Research, collaborating with other members, and recruiting others scientists and clinicians to join us.

Shosuke Ito,

President, IFPCS