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ISACB President’s Letter for April 2021

It is hard to believe that more than four years have passed since I accepted the position as President of ISACB in 2016. And now it is time for me to step down and let a new generation of scientists to take this leadership role.

2016-2021 have been exciting but challenging years. On the one hand the ISACB Leadership has become more diverse and now includes more auspicious women leaders and early career investigators. But on the other hand, our country still continues to be impacted by COVID-19, and we also face increased violence across the United States. So as the scientific community we must work to combat systemic racial injustice and strive to be an inclusive scientific society with participation from around the world.
 
During my tenure, we increased our membership and diversity, promoted our visibility through interactions with other societies and industry, and enhanced our recognition outside of the US by expanding into Europe and Asia. To advance the mission of ISACB, we have focused on five equally important key areas: Leadership, Growth, Science, Visibility and Partnership.
 
To raise a new generation of ISACB leaders, we established Women’s Leadership Committee and Early Career Mentorship Committees. Women’s Leadership Committee, chaired by Cynthia St Hilaire, promotes visibility and engagement of women in ISACB activities and leadership. Early Career Mentorship Committee, co-chaired by Giovanni Ferrari and Craig Goergen, aims to foster the development of trainees and early career investigators by providing mentorship and early career advice.
 
To engage a new generation of ISACB members and to increase our membership and diversity, we formed the Membership Committee chaired by Ngan Huang. It was created to increase ISACB visibility and attract more members, particularly early career investigators and female researchers. In addition, to revitalize our relationships with ISACB founding members, we established a liaison with the ISACB emeriti overseen by Dan Simionescu.
 
To broaden our research scope, we worked hard to build on the successes of our international biennial and off-year meetings. In 2017 at our off-year meeting, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of ISACB in Cape Town, South Africa. Our ISACB 2018 meeting was held in beautiful Bordeaux, France. The Off-Year 2019 Meeting was held in Zurich, Switzerland in collaboration with ISVTE (International Symposium on Vascular Tissue Engineering). And finally, our first meeting in Asia - the ISACB 2020/21, was held virtually in Tokyo, Japan as a part of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Week, a joint conference with the Japanese Vascular Biology and Medicine Organization, the Japanese Society for Cardiovascular Endocrine and Metabolism and the International Association for Heart Research.
 
To enhance our visibility outside of the US, we established European Partnership Committee, chaired by Carlijn Bouten, and Asian Partnership Committee, chaired by Masanori Aikawa.To foster collaborations between academic scientists and industry, we established the Partnership with Industry Committee, chaired by Mike Wolf.
 
I would specifically like to recognize our Executive Committee members and members of the society who have been so active during these years to help advance the mission of the ISACB, including Luke Brewster (chair of Long Range Planning Committee), Gary Bowlin (secretary/treasurer), Julie Philippi (chair of ISACB webinar series), Josh Hutcheson (editor of eCirculator), Agie Simionescu, Janice Tsui, Toshi Shinoka, Art Coury, Glenn Gaudette, David Vorp, James Chow, Teddy Fishlein and Frederick Schoen. And our special thanks to the organizers of the off-year and biannual meetings, including Tim Pennel (2017), Nico L’Heureux (2018), Christopher Breuer (2019) and Masanori Aikawa (2020/21). In addition, I would like to acknowledge our emerging generation of young scientists who helped us to promote our society through the social media and other means, including Mark Blaser, Marie Billaud, Alexey Kamenskiy, Claudia Goettsch, Rebecca Levit and Sam Atkins.
 
While I am stepping down as a President, I will be still an active member of the ISACB Executive Committee, which welcomes your participation and input and encourages you to communicate your ideas about how ISACB can better serve our community and advance the careers of the next generation of applied cardiovascular scientists. We also encourage you to join our ISACB family!

Elena Aikawa, MD PhD

ISACB President

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