Recently, representatives from the Society of Toxicology (SOT) American Association of Chinese in Toxicology Special Interest Group attended the 6th National Congress of the Chinese Society of Toxicology in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province China. SOT Headquarters was fortunate to receive two perspectives on this meeting provided below that were prepared by Xuefeng Ren, The State University of New York, Buffalo, and Luoping Zhang, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.
Meeting Perspective by Xuefeng Ren
The 6th National Congress of Toxicology of the Chinese Society of Toxicology (CSOT) was held on November 12–15, 2013 at the Guangzhou DongFang Hotel in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. Guangzhou (Chinese: 广州) is the capital and largest city of Guangdong province, and located on the Pearl River, and just north-northwest of Hong Kong and north-northeast of Macau. Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and has a population over 15 million. The national congress of CSOT is the premier event that the CSOT hosts once every four years to meet the needs of its nearly 9,000 members in China and to highlight the significant scientific achievements in toxicology. The theme of the congress was stated as "The relationship between toxicological science and the development of society, economy and health.” More than 1,500 people from across China attended the meeting, including approximately 40 scientists and toxicologists from the US, Britain, France, Japan, and other countries.
Before the official opening of the General Assembly, the congress hosted three continuing education courses on November 12: "The future of toxicological sciences- Safety Science in the 21st Century;" "Real-time label-free cell analysis (RTCA);" and "Strategies in the selection of drug candidates." On the first day of the congress, Junshi Chen, Wei Meng, and Guibin Jiang, three members from the National Academy of Sciences in China, and Melvin Anderson from The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences in the US, gave wonderful keynote reports on food safety, environmental and ecological hazard assessment, and the future of toxicological sciences.
Through the excellent organizational efforts of Edward Chow, the President of the American Association of Chinese in Toxicology (AACT) Special Interest Group, and generous support from the Society of Toxicology (SOT) and AACT, nine AACT delegates went to Guangzhou and attended the congress. Pictuered above from left to right are Edward Chow from Allergan, Yi Jin from Novartis, Jianxiang Li from Soochow University (currently residing in Japan), Li Li from Novartis, Zhengyu Yin from Dupont, Luoping Zhang from University of California at Berkeley, Yongbin Zhang from NCTR of US FDA, Yun Zhang from Merck and myself, Xuefeng Ren from University at Buffalo. I personally very much appreciate the generous support from SOT’s Global Initiative Fund, which made my trip possible. Eight delegates were invited to give oral reports, including Dr. Jin who gave an excellent Plenary Lecture on the last day, November 15, of the Congress. The AACT delegation had a significant presence at this congress, and attracted much enthusiasm and interest for AACT and SOT from academic and research institutions there. Many members of CSOT expressed their interest in attending the 2014 Annual Meeting of SOT in Phoenix.
I presented an oral report on November 14, entitled “Arsenic metabolism and arsenic-induced epigenetic modifications: the role and implication for arsenic-induced carcinogenesis.” After my talk at the meeting, several attendees came to me and showed their interests for future collaborations. They also invited me to give the talk at their universities. I have visited and presented at the Inner Mongolia Medical University and Fudan University. I think this meeting provided me with an excellent opportunity to interact with many colleagues/researchers in China, which definitely help initiate international collaborations in the toxicology community.
Other than the participation at the national congress, the AACT delegates had opportunities to participiate in other academic and scientific activities. For example, most delegates attended the "International Drug Toxicology" symposium organized by AACT at Sun-Yet Sen University (also known as ZhongShan University) in Guangzhou on November 11. Drs. Li, Yin, and Zhang made presentations at the symposium and the AACT delegates had great dialogs with the 100 or so Chinese colleagues and other participants at the symposium.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable trip and there were very productive dialogs specifically with members and leaders of CSOT. We believe that it represents a significant milestone in building a strong connection between CSOT and SOT and will help to fulfill the general mission of SOT in creating a safer and healthier world by advancing the science of toxicology.
Meeting Perspective by Luoping Zhang
Normally, the beautiful city of Guangzhou, China, is warm, sunny, and quite pleasant in mid-November. No less beautiful in the drizzly rain with which we were welcomed due to typhoon Haiyan in Southeast Asia, Guangzhou was home to the 6th National Congress of the Chinese Society of Toxicology (CSOT-VI), which brought together the most acclaimed toxicological scientists and leading experts in China from November 12–15, 2013.
With substantial support from SOT in the form of Global Initiative Funding, the American Association of Chinese in Toxicology (AACT) sent an official team of 9 toxicologists, including Edward Chow, Yi Jin, Jianxiang Li, Li Li, Xuefeng Ren, Zhengyu Yin, Luoping Zhang (myself), Yongbin Zhang, and Yun Zhang, to participate in CSOT and to share the expertise and enthusiasm of AACT. The AACT President Edward Chow, Allergan, and Vice President Dr. Yi Jin, Novartis, had organized three telephone-conferences before the trip and planned additional related events beyond CSOT-VI. Most of the AACT delegates gave oral presentations either at the plenary session or during symposia or other formats. The congress fostered a culture of communication and collaboration, with each member interacting with and engaging potential new AACT/SOT members and contributors in Guangzhou.
I am grateful to have had this unique opportunity to meet many of my past and current collaborators in China and also to present results of our long-term collaborative efforts in a talk titled "Previous, Current and Future Studies of Environmental and Occupational Exposures to Toxic Chemicals: Biomarkers, Systems Biology and Exposome Approaches." During an engaging discussion with another speaker in my symposium, we recognized the potential to build a mutually interesting new project. The speaker and her group immediately and insistently invited me to visit their center—Shenzhen CDC. Two hours later, we were aboard a high-speed train to Shenzhen. This additional and unplanned trip was fruitful, enabling us to build the foundation of a future collaboration, although I regrettably missed a chance to say goodbye to many of my friends, including my AACT teammates at CSOT-VI.
Overall, despite the rainy start, the 6th annual CSOT conference in Guangzhou, China, left all participants feeling enthusiastic, encouraged, and inspired. We are confident that the interactions we had with Chinese toxicologists had a positive impact on both the CSOT attendees and the organizers. We hope to further these relationships and expand our collaborations in the years to come. We thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to present our scientific work and projects as well as the chance to meet Chinese toxicologists and potential future collaborators in China. Serving on the AACT delegate team was an extremely rewarding experience that we can only hope to repeat soon at the next CSOT meeting.