President's Message





Lynn Sakai, ASMB President

To All Matrix Biologists:

The ASMB promotes the field of matrix biology in order to advance knowledge about the extracellular matrix and to translate this knowledge to improve human health and aging and better treat human disease.  In 2019, we sponsored two ASMB workshops, one on “Fibroblasts: the Arbiters of Extracellular Matrix Remodeling” (organized by Council members Tom Barker and Merry Lindsay) and one on Basement Members (organized by Roy Zent and Jeff Miner).  Also, planning for the 2020 Biennial Meeting, led by the Chair (President-elect Jeff Miner) and Program Committee, proceeded in earnest, culminating in selection of the meeting site (St. Louis), dates (Nov. 8-11, 2020) and program topics and speakers.

To further support the matrix biology community, the ASMB promotes the careers of young scientists, women, and under-represented minorities.  Meeting and workshop organizers prepare programs that reflect these goals and raise funds to provide travel awards.  Special Interest Sessions at the biennial meeting are chances for ASMB postdocs to participate as leaders for topics of interest to them.  Look for the call in January to propose an SIS for the 2020 meeting. 

The ASMB creates an infrastructure to accomplish our goals.  In 2019, the ASMB formed a new partnership with the Histochemical Society, with the American Society for Investigative Pathology, and with our Executive Director Kendra LaDuca.  This new partnership, which begins in February 2020, allows ASMB to retain Kendra and promises new opportunities for collaboration with these societies.  Our infrastructure also allows us to maintain our important relations with Elsevier and Matrix Biology journals and with other entities interested in supporting ASMB.

Membership has remained around 350 members in the years of the biennial meeting, dropping substantially (to below 200) in the years between the biennial meetings.  However, the workshops (begun in 2017 and continued in 2019) have served to maintain interest and membership in the years between biennial meetings.  In 2018-2019, membership has remained steady (368 in 2018 and 325 in 2019).  Thank you to the workshop organizers!  

Membership services and opportunities are also part of ASMB infrastructure.  In addition to opportunities to serve on Council and on meeting/workshop organizing committees, members are encouraged to serve on standing committees such as the Communications and Outreach Committee, a new committee which established our ASMB Twitter page and also organized the recent Image Contest (see our ASMB website for the selected images).  Thanks to Alexandra Naba and her committee for spearheading these activities.  

Check the ASMB website for opportunities to participate!  You can also send me an email ([email protected]) if you have questions or wish to volunteer. 

Best wishes for the New Year,

Lynn Y. Sakai, Ph.D.