RICHARD MITCHELL, MD, PHD
July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021
It’s hard here to know exactly what to say; as I write this, we were all scheduled to be meeting at EB2020 in sunny San Diego, sharing our research, teaching one another, and renewing acquaintances. The gavel of the presidency was to be ceremoniously passed, even though the official term doesn’t start until July.
Instead, here we are practicing social distancing and getting a little stir crazy—at home. This is a remarkable time in our collective lives; the world-wide and nation-wide statistics on SARS-Cov-2 infections continue to climb, and the deaths attributed to COVID-19 are almost certainly not even at their peak. There’s uncertainty when—and in what form—we will begin the re-entry process. And for myself (and maybe for many of you who are reading this), I just desperately want to go to a baseball game and enjoy a hot dog and a beer with friends that I can greet with a handshake or a hearty hug.
The fact that we are not able to answer any of those questions or currently do any of those things, speaks even more powerfully to the role that science and investigation will play in our own lives, and those of billions of people around the globe. There is much to learn, and although SARS-Cov2 is foremost in people’s minds, there are so many other as yet unsolved questions in the pathobiology of all the organ systems that can afflict the human condition. Significantly, all of us in ASIP have the tools, the curiosity, and the ingenuity to move the ball forward and to begin to address the uncertainties.
In the coming year, I also fervently hope that we will be able to renew ties in Boston at the PISA 2020 meetings in November. I’ve already made a (perhaps with unfounded hubris) commitment to a COVID-free meeting; let’s hope that the cosmic Powers-That-Be will smile upon our efforts and allow us to showcase some of the best and the brightest that our scientific community can assemble. The PISA planning group has put together a show-stopping group of investigators that will be a major draw to Beantown. I hope to see you all there—and if not in-person in Boston, then virtually through a first-ever ASIP on-line meeting.
In the meantime, I welcome the input of our phenomenal ASIP membership in teaching, maintaining our scientific communications, exchanging ideas and materiel, and developing our next steps. Even at a distance, we can mentor students and junior colleagues in their career development, and can advocate persuasively in support of our scientific enterprise. There’s a phenomenal diversity within the ASIP membership with a wealth of ideas and perspectives that can foster collaboration and innovation. Let’s do this.
There are many ways to become involved in the ASIP; we are always looking for a few good scientists to serve as committee members, scientific interest group members, session leaders, officers in the society…you name it. From nascent scientists-in-training through wizened-old-farts—all are encouraged to join us in any way that you can!