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“Rocking Out Biophysics!”

  In 1993 when I was a postdoctoral researcher in the US conducting spectroscopic investigations of proteins, I asked myself one day- why is this work so fascinating? It made me deeply engaged in the cycles of discussion with my boss and colleagues, planning and conducting experiments and analyzing data. I realized that I was always thrilled when I obtained new data that gave insights into biophysics and then discussing the same with researchers from different backgrounds. I concluded that “It is Biophysics that makes researches fun!” and that became the foundation of my resolution to continue working in this field1).
  I am humbled and honored to assume the Chairpersonship of the Biophysical Society of Japan for two years starting from June 2023. Together with Nishizaka-san and Bannai-san, the new vice chairs, and other 17 new members of the board of the society, I will strive to make every possible effort in promoting the activities of our society. I would like to ask our members for their collaboration and to frankly tell us their opinions on our policies.
  The Biophysical Society of Japan was founded in 1960 for “the fundamental understanding of biological phenomena based on the combination of methods of physical sciences and biological sciences”. Since then, the society has achieved many milestones by including researchers from Physics, Chemistry and Biology and by collaborating with fields such as Structural Biology, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Soft Matter Physics, Information Sciences and Computational Sciences. Now, many of the structures and functions of proteins and nucleic acids have been revealed. Methods to observe and understand the cellular processes have been actively investigated. Efforts to design biological macromolecules and artificial cells and to develop methods based on the machine learning of large biological data are actively pursued. This society aims to promote the discussion and collaboration of the members and the publication of their latest achievements2).
  As the Chairperson of the society, I will first serve to boost the activities of the society by inheriting its cheerful atmosphere. The founders and successors of our society built the open framework that enables us free and uninhibited discussion. No dress code is required. Students and young researchers are not restricted to have discussion just with senior scientists. Researchers from other fields are always welcomed to join the discussion. I will further promote this free, open and cheerful atmosphere of the society.
  My second duty as the society chair is to deepen the international collaboration. Our society should become the international hub for the biophysical researchers, in particular the Asia-Pacific region. Our society pioneered to make the official language of the annual meeting English. I would also like to stress that our society has accumulated the credibility among international researchers due to the long history of collaboration with international researchers. We are preparing the next IUPAB meeting (IUPAB2024) in Kyoto, and it is our primary goal to make the meeting a huge success. In the near future, we are looking into the possibility to organize our annual meeting in other countries. Some of the symposia in the annual meetings may be routinely proposed by our international members. The board members may also be chosen from the international members.
  Third, I am hoping to establish a new publication scheme for the society members. Surprisingly, more than 20 years have already passed since the society published the last textbooks. This is an unfortunate situation and might be reducing the chances for young students to learn the latest developments of our field. I would like to initiate discussion on the possible publication style suitable for our society members.
  I am feeling the same excitement as I felt 30 years ago especially at a time when we are recovering from the long suppression period of COVID. The slogan of IUPAB2024 is “Rocking Out Biophysics!”. I would like to ask the collaboration of our society members as we together establish a new heritage of our society as the best place to meet with new researchers from different background and to discuss important topics3,4).

1) I myself think now that I should have made such resolution before the postdoctoral training. However, I went to the US just to fulfill my motivation for experiencing research activities outside of Japan and for collaborating with foreign researchers. I began thinking about my own future after starting the activities in the US.
2) Please read the three consecutive discussions on the current and future scopes of our society (Sorry the articles were prepared only in Japanese). The articles were planned and edited by the editorial group of Seibutsu Butsuri (the Japanese periodicals of this society), when I was the leader of the group, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the society.
a) New Technologies that Propel Biophysics, T. Ando, Y. Ito, Y. Sugita, E. Nango, T. Yasunaga, Y. Okada, G. N. Kanda, Seibutsu Butsuri (2021) 61, 111-118
b) Expansion and Diversification of Research in Biophysics, M. Okada, K. Tsumoto, T, Nagai, H. Noji, H. Bannai, Y. Sudo, M. Yanagisawa, Seibutsu Butsuri (2021) 61, 256-264 c) Concepts and Perspectives in Biophysics, M. Imai, N. Koga, Y. Sako, Y. Harada, C. Furusawa, S. Sawai, H. Taguchi, Seibutsu Butsuri (2021) 61, 410-418
3) I would like to express my respect to the former chair of the society, Noji-san, the vice chairs, Sako-san and Imada-san, and other former board members. It is them who decided the framework of IUPAB2024, promoted young researchers by reducing the student annual fees and started the renovation of the organization committee of our annual meetings. We will follow the tracks laid by the former boards.
4) I thank Mr. Trishit Banerjee (Tohoku University) for improving the English version of this comment.

June 17, 2023
Satoshi Takahashii
President, the Biophysical Society of Japan
Professor, Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials, The University of Tohoku

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