Following the very successful 51st Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology, it is easy to remain excited about the progress of the Society and the accomplishments of its many dedicated members. It is not easy to fathom that with the clanging of the historic cable car bells still in our ears, preparations for the 52nd Annual Meeting are in progress. So before we can all enjoy the sounds of the Mariachi and jazz bands along the River Walk in festive San Antonio, we must prepare our best work for presentation at the next Annual Meeting, March 10-14, 2013. SOT will begin accepting regular abstract submissions on August 13, 2012.
In honor of the many accomplishments associated with the Annual Meeting, I thank all those dedicated SOT members and AIM staff, under the able leadership of Past President Jon Cook, who made the San Francisco Annual Meeting a tremendous success. From the record number of abstracts presented, the outstanding Symposia, Workshops, Roundtables, and Informational Sessions to the Plenary and MRC lectures, the quality and impact of the scientific information presented was excellent. The highlights of the recently concluded Annual Meeting were substantial and global. For the second year, a Global Collaboration Coffee was held and 50 representatives, including international societies, Special Interest Groups, and award winners, attended and expressed their appreciation for this opportunity to network and seek areas of future collaboration. Plans are underway for the third Global Collaboration Coffee to be held at the 2013 SOT Annual Meeting. Moreover, this year 28 societies from around the globe participated in the Global Gallery of Toxicology in the ToxExpo Exhibit Hall. Posters showcased the formation, key accomplishments, strategic initiatives, and current and future activities of the societies. SOT and these societies aim to increase the reliance of international decision makers on the science of toxicology to advance human health and disease prevention. Now also in its second year, the Global Gallery of Toxicology will be repeated at the 52nd SOT Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
The preliminary analysis of the Annual Meeting survey indicates that over 80% of respondents reported that the overall scientific content was "outstanding/very good." In addition, the Continuing Education courses were very highly rated, as were the many venues for scientific networking, global outreach, and mentoring. So a heartfelt thank you to the many Committees, Specialty Sections (SS), Special Interest Groups (SIG), Regional Chapters, and Task Forces that provided the leadership to actualize the many facets of the Annual Meeting.
Another group deserving thanks are fellow members who agreed to be candidates for elected office; the Society benefits from their commitment every day. We congratulate our new Nominating Committee members Martin A. Philbert, Rosonald R. Bell, James V. Bruckner, and Alison C.P. Elder. Congratulations also are in order to our new Membership Committee members Michelle J. Hooth and Tao Wang and to our Awards Committee members Samuel M. Cohen, Yvonne P. Dragan, and Mary E. Gilbert. And, finally our new Councilors Lorrene A. Buckley and Ivan Rusyn, as well as our Treasurer-Elect Denise Robinson Gravatt and Vice President-Elect Norbert E. Kaminski. Well-deserved congratulations are extended to these newly elected SOT leaders.
In addition, I thank the many members who have successfully completed their immediate service to the Society as committee members, officers, or representatives. SOT is a volunteer organization and many members prove it year in and year out by serving in a multitude of ways. An important value of SOT membership is the leadership training opportunities provided by the Society. From the officers of each of the 27 Specialty Sections to the leadership of the many extremely active student groups, leadership training opportunities abound in the SOT. In each case, as the current term is completed, we also remember just how much we have learned and benefited from those who have served, and no higher praises can be sung than for Peter Goering, our outgoing Secretary, and Michael P. Holsapple, our Past President.
This year we look forward to executing SOT’s new strategic plan that Council, with valuable input from many individual members and a host of component groups within SOT, has prepared. With the strategic guidelines delineated, input has been requested and received from the SS, SIGs, Committees, and others as to the best approaches to implement the plan. During the May SOT Council meeting, initial decisions and support mechanisms will be adopted so that the many good ideas can begin to be activated in support of SOT’s membership. As an example, global initiatives have achieved record numbers thanks to the leadership of the Global Strategy Task Force among others. Membership dues discounts for scientists from eligible developing countries, no fee CE courses, the Global Senior Scholar Exchange Program, travel fellowships, and Global Toxicology Scholar Program are just some of the actions that are reaching scientists from developed and developing countries everywhere.
So as we look down the trail and get ready to ride into Old San Anton, one of the Nation's leading recreation destinations, remember that there is much more than the Alamo. At the 52nd SOT Annual Meeting, thanks to our Scientific Program Committee under the leadership of Lois D. Lehman-McKeeman, the most recent Nobel Laureate ever to present at the SOT meetings, Dr. Bruce Beutler (recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine) already is scheduled for the Plenary Lecture. So polish your boots and your research presentations and get ready to head to San Antonio for yet another great Annual Meeting.
William Slikker Jr, PhD, ATS
SOT 2012-2013 President