The Japanese Society for Epigenetics was established in 2006 in order to integrate researchers who had shared a common interest in epigenetics but were scattered among various academic societies, in a cross-disciplinary manner. Looking back to the time of its establishment, the depth and breadth of epigenetics research today gives me the impression that a new generation has come and gone. Using a variety of organisms, including human, animals, plants, and microorganisms, research is actively conducted for both basic and applied purposes at the molecular, cellular, tissue, individual, and population levels on a wide range of life phenomena, including development, regeneration, differentiation, neurons, immunity, environmental responses, adaptive evolution, and disease. New research methods have also been added, including next-generation and long-read sequencing, genome and epigenome editing, single-cell and spatial omics analysis, and cryo-electron microscopy. Artificial intelligence and mathematical modeling as well as information analysis have also been incorporated. During this period, the importance of epigenetics has become so widely recognized and accepted that sessions related to epigenetics are now being held at various other meetings and conferences.
Although the environment surrounding epigenetics research has changed drastically, the annual meeting, which is the core of our activities, has retained the original style of oral and poster sessions held in one venue since its establishment. This is because we have always placed the utmost importance on deepening the discussions among all participants with a bird’s eye view of the entire epigenetics field. Another important aspect of the society is the development of researchers who will lead the next generation. We have established the JSE Young Investigator Award as a gateway to success for young people, and have also provided various types of support. This basic stance will not change in the future.
On the other hand, the recent COVID19 disaster has had a major impact on the style of academic activities and is prompting various changes. While keeping an eye on this trend, we need to think together with the executive committee members about how the research activities should be in the future. We would like to create a society in which not only young people but also women can play an active role, a society in which we can convey the appeal of this field not only to academia but also to industry and the general public, and a society in which people from diverse backgrounds can join with a fresh mind. Above all, we hope that our members will come up with novel ideas and approaches that will open up new dimensions in epigenetics research. We look forward to your continued understanding and support.
Takashi Ito, M.D., Ph.D.
Chairperson of the JSE
Graduate School of Medical Sciences