A message from the President of the International  Federation of Pigment Cell Societies, to members of the ESPCR, JSPCR and PASPCR



 Dear Friends and Colleagues,


Seasonal Greetings, in a year when world events -although still regrettably far from universal peace - have at least seemed less terrible than in 2001. It is with great pleasure that I start to write the IFPCS President's message for the first time, although with a sense of disbelief.  (Surely there must be some mistake? Could the real President please step forward?)  More seriously, I will begin by expressing profound thanks to the outgoing Officers of the IFPCS: Shosuke Ito (President), Stan Pavel (Vice President) and Dick King (Secretary-Treasurer), with every appreciation of all their hard work for the Federation over the past three years. All members will surely join me in those thanks, and also in welcoming our other new IFPCS officers, Zalfa Abdel-Malek (Vice-President) and Yasushi Tomita (Secretary-Treasurer), and new IFPCS Council members Lionel Larue and Ray Boissy.


It is genuinely a pleasure to have the chance to contribute to the running of the IFPCS.  Our Federation of three Societies is relatively young, having been created in 1990 at the IPCC in Kobe, Japan.  But it is a truly valuable and constructive organization.  It has thrived from the outset, fostering its aims of scientific communication and co-operation within our expanding field of pigment-cell research.  It has regularised the IPCC congresses, on a three-yearly basis.  Many of us had the pleasure of attending the recent 18th IPCC in Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands.  Congratulations once more to Stan Pavel, Nico Smit and their team for organizing on behalf of ESPCR such a first-rate selection of pigment-cell science, together with fine social events including a canal trip in Amsterdam and jam session back in Egmond.   Those unable to attend can find the abstracts published as a supplement to Pigment Cell Research, and there are plans also to publish a selection of Proceedings in Pigment Cell Research during 2003.


We can expect another superb congress in the 19th IPCC, 2005, to be chaired by Vincent Hearing for PASPCR. Plans are impressively well developed already.  It will be at the NIH, Bethesda, USA – a memorable visit in itself, and a short Metro ride from the sights of Washington. Before then, you can enjoy attending the annual meetings of your regional Pigment Cell Society – or maybe all three of them, occurring in 2003 in three delightful locations: Cape Cod (Massachusetts) and Ghent (Belgium), both in September, and Tokyo in November. From experience, you can expect excellent science, a constructive and friendly atmosphere and plenty of interaction. Please see the society web sites for information, or contact the organizers, respectively Drs John Pawelek <john.pawelek@yale.edu>, Jean-Marie Naeyaert  <JeanMarie.Naeyaert@rug.ac.be> and Genji Imokawa <073733@kastanet.kao.co.jp>.


Another familiar IFPCS activity is to support and promote the journal Pigment Cell Research, which under the outstanding editorship of Vincent Hearing (since 2000) has steadily increased its scientific quality, output and Impact Factor (now 2.1)  – see also the Editorial in the December issue. You too can easily aid this progress.  Just keep submitting good papers, cite recent PCR articles, and encourage your library and colleagues to subscribe to the journal. Much gratitude is due also for the continued and generous sponsorship of PCR by Johnson & Johnson, L'Or้al, Shiseido and Unilever.   Lastly, congratulations to the new IFPCS Publications Committee, Drs Shibahara, Boissy and Larue, for recently persuading the publisher Blackwell to withdraw a proposed drastic increase in the price of PCR, from $95 to $137.   Instead the price will increase more gradually, to only $106 in 2003.


The IFPCS's aim of communicating information about our field is of course also well supported by the various Society web pages and Bulletins. The Federation is constantly indebted to our dedicated colleagues who capably provide these resources – Bill Oetting for both IFPCS and PASPCR; Ghanem Ghanem for ESPCR, and Kazu Wakamatsu and Shige Shibahara for JSPCR.  Continuing thanks to all of them.  Among these pages, please don't forget the IFPCS "InterPig" list of scientific resources for pigmentary research –  <www.ifpcs.org> .  If you have any such resources to offer that are not listed, now is a great time to send your information to Bill Oetting  <bill@lenti.med.umn.edu> or Hiro Yamamoto <hyamamot@mail.cc.tohoku.ac.jp>.


Another useful activity has been the establishment of the IFPCS Special Interest Groups or SIGs <www.ifpcs.org>. These groups aim for more-specific communication within sub-specialities of our field, and some of them have become impressively active. For example satellite meetings were organized at the 2002 IPCC by the SIGs for Melanoma, Pigment Cell Development and Hypo-/Hyperpigmentation.   Indeed, the Melanoma Group, chaired by Meenhard Herlyn, has attracted massive interest and is set to transform into a full international society, the Melanoma Research Society, at its meeting in the USA next June. There seems to be a pressing need for such a society, and it is satisfying that the IFPCS could foster this development.  More generally, research fields are in constant flux, and IFPCS Council is now reviewing the SIGs, and whether there are areas where new ones may be needed. I would welcome ideas on this from any of you  - <dbennett@sghms.ac.uk>.  In fact, please contact me at any time, if you have any ideas for improving or adding to any aspect of IFPCS activities.


Another way you can contribute to your Society and Federation is to encourage others in the field to become members.  The more researchers taking part in our networks, the more we can all learn and benefit from each other.  The more subscriptions, the more invited speakers per conference, and the more travel grants for young scientists.  So I urge those in each Society to do all you can to retain and add members, especially in any under-represented fields.  You can be assured that your own membership is already promoting these valuable ends.  There are many exciting developments in pigment cell research in the post-genomic era, and we should hope for record levels of participation.


Lastly, perhaps I should not ignore the remarkable situation that, after its first election of the new Millennium, the IFPCS has not only its first female President but also its first female Vice-President, while all three Society Presidents are also women.  One good consequence is that our female members can now have more confidence that they are in no way excluded from the offices and honours of the Societies.  On the other hand, I hope it will not be too long before male/female issues are no longer important, because the balance among scientists will have become equal. Meanwhile, anyone with concerns about such issues can still contact the IFPCS Women Scientists' Committee, the new members of which should be announced shortly in the IFPCS Web Pages.


In conclusion, may I wish all of you a very happy and peaceful year in 2003, with lots of fascinating new findings in pigment cell research.


Best wishes,                                                                

Dot Bennett  [President, IFPCS]