It’s undoubtedly safe to say that we had all hoped for a better start to 2022. Despite all that is going on around us in the world, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you, your colleagues, your families and friends a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year 2022.
I greet you as the new president of the International Complement Society. As most of you know, I began my training in complement over 20 years ago. I have had, and continue to have, the privilege of being mentored by, and working with, some outstanding scientists. These individuals formed me as a researcher and individual.
During the last 20 years I have witnessed how our understanding of the complement system has morphed from that of a sidekick “complementing” the rest of the immune system into that of a primary orchestrator of immunity, cellular physiology and tissue homeostasis.
My enthusiasm for this old system has not waned over the past decades. Quite the opposite, in fact, since I could not envisage working in another field. Thus, I thank you for your trust in allowing me to lead the ICS as president for the next two years.
I am fortunate that I can tap into the experience of an outstanding ICS leadership team. Peter Garred’s contributions as past president have been invaluable. Specifically, his early initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to weather some of the difficulties faced by a scientific community living through a pandemic. Over the last two years we have had the privilege of enjoying two outstanding virtual symposia on the roles of complement in COVID-19 and in inflammation spear-headed by the ICS. 2021 ended on a high note, with the highly successful 28th (virtual) International Complement Workshop organized by Peter Zipfel and Christine Skerka and their Local Organizing Committee; this conference created much needed opportunity to make new friends and reminisce with old ones, meet colleagues and collaborators, discuss science and to network.
I am excited to also have the support of the new president elect, Trent Woodruff, the new ICS secretary, Zoltan Prohaszka, council members Nobutaka Wakamiya, Leendert Trouw, Josh Thurman, and Claire Harris, as well as newly elected members Suzan Rooijakkers, Rafael Bayarri Olmos, Anne Rosbjerg, and Lubka Roumenina. I am delighted that my tenure coincides with the term of Viviana Ferreira as newly elected treasurer. Viviana and I have worked together on several occasions for the ICS mission, and she has been instrumental in increasing the visibility of complement research among the broader immunology community via her engagement with the American Association of Immunologists.
We would like to put on record our gratitude to Michael Kirschfink and Dan Ricklin whose tenures ended in 2021 and who left the ICS in good (financial) shape. We will miss their insights and their contributions. Another loss for the ICS leadership is the retirement of our executive director and stalwart, Sheilah Jewart. Sheilah’s expertise, intuition, and diplomatic streak brought important and needed change to the operations of the ICS. Her contributions to keeping our ship afloat were invaluable and will be missed. In her place, we welcome Karen Gottlieb as new ICS executive director. Karen comes with the highest possible endorsement from Sheilah, and I am confident that she will be an excellent successor.
Thus, the ICS Board and I, with engagement from ECCO, and in dialogue with the complement community, are looking forward to further promoting the complement system as a critical player in immunology and as a therapeutic target – and to ultimately recruit and retain the best and brightest of young researchers to join our exciting field and to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Claudia Kemper, President