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Message from the President
Dr. Mutsumi Takagi (Hokkaido University), President of the Japanese Association for Animal Cell Technology
It has been my pleasure to serve as President of the JAACT since April 2017.
One of the explicit goals in our society’s mission statement is “the advancement and dissemination of animal cell technologies”. However, the specific techniques within the field have changed with the passage of time, as have the objectives and scope of the research that is being performed.
In the 1980s, for example, animal cell culture was seen as a source of biological compounds for only a small number of products such as interferon, and such animal cell technology tended to be developed by minor changes in microbial cultures. However, animal cell technology has taken on a greater importance with the appearance of therapeutic antibodies at the beginning of the 21st century. At the same time, discussions about new and improved techniques—at first scale-up procedures, followed by single-use, then continuous animal cell cultures—gradually became more commonplace. Moreover, while the medical applications of human and animal primary cells are essentially limited to hybrid-type artificial livers, the advent of cellular therapy and applied stem cell research has expanded the field of animal cell technology to include cell processing centers (CPCs), robots, and cell quality control.
Studies on functional foods began in the 1990s, and have given rise to products such as “Food for Specified Health Uses” and “Food with Function Claims”. Animal cell cultures are now widely utilized in experimental systems to test the properties and functions of food or food ingredients, which in turn has drastically transformed their significance in research and development, and in meal production and health. Animal experiments have received the bulk of research attention in food research, serving as models to test the effects of foods in their ultimate consumer: humans. We should expect animal cell culture technologies to play a more prominent role in food development and research in the future.
Similar changes surely lie in wait. I strongly believe that the JAACT has a valuable role to play in creating an environment where people involved in animal cell technologies can discuss developments in the field rationally, neither too optimistic nor too pessimistic, work towards developing new techniques, and establish new research directions. In essence, mediate information sharing among society members.
In addition, I believe that unity among members, working hard together, and young researcher support are essential to the continued development of animal cell technologies.
To realize these goals, I have made the following support activities an organizational priority:
1. Information sharing among society members
●We will begin an e-mail newsletter packed full of interesting, easy-to-read synopses and links for all JAACT members to enjoy.
●Animal cell technologies are also evolving on a global level. We will create more opportunities for members to share information on domestic and foreign research trends, including not only symposia in Japan, but also exchanges in a variety of formats in Europe, America, and Asia.
2. Unity among members and working hard together
●We will encourage to propose more research project ideas by members to pursue both within the JAACT and with non-JAACT societies, to encourage free collaboration and innovation among members.
3. Young researcher support
●Our internal data show a disheartening trend: the JAACT has relatively few members aged 25-39, compared with the number of senior members aged 40+. (By 5-year age brackets: 25-29, 30-34, 35-39 years old = 2-9% of all members; 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60+ years old = 12-22% of all members.) To correct this bias, we will make attempts to increase the number of young members and encourage their research activities.
I humbly appeal to all of my fellow JAACT members, as well as anyone with an interest in animal cell technologies, to lend your support to these endeavors.
The Goals of the Japanese Association for Animal Cell Technology
It is widely said that the core of 21st-century science will be “life”. The Japanese Association for Animal Cell Technology (JAACT) is an arena for the exchange of academic information by researchers and engineers specializing in science and technology concerning animal cells, which is the basic unit of this “life”. The academic field covered by JAACT centers around animal cells, ranging from cell cultivation and analysis of cell characteristics to production and control of useful materials, cell therapy and the creation of artificial cells. In other words, it covers all the areas, applied and basic, for making animal cells contribute to supporting a healthy, normal life. For the development of these areas, JAACT is involved in various activities by indicating 1) state-of-the-art and industry-academia cooperation and 2) “international” and “interdisciplinary” as the basic principles behind the management of JAACT. Above all, the annual international meeting is the main feature of our activities. It greatly contributes to the development of animal cell technology, which has been given considerable hope from the world as the core of life science and technology. JAACT eagerly hopes to have the participation of researchers and engineers from the fields of science, engineering, agriculture, medicine and pharmacology, who are interested in animal cells.