ISAC News and Strategic Plan Update - May 2010
It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as ISAC's President for the last two years. As my term comes to an end, I'd like to update you on recent developments and also summarize progress towards the goals set forth by ISAC's Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan was created in May 2005, under the leadership of then-President Maria Pallavicini. ISAC Council went through an intensive process (coordinated by Paul J. Smith, President-elect) to identify strategic focus areas (initiatives) and develop action plans to implement them. The Strategic Plan was to be implemented over a 5 year period, and implementation has been a major priority for both Past President J. Paul Robinson and myself. The plan has been intensively reviewed every six to twelve months since its adoption, most recently at a special Council meeting that I led in May 2009. At that meeting, we evaluated each area and updated our goals and action plans. After that meeting I reported to you about the status of the plan, and I am pleased to provide a further update below. I am also pleased to announce that ISAC has just received a new three-year grant totaling $600,000 from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation to support our programs. This is in addition to the $100,000 grant that we received from the Foundation in September 2008. We are very grateful for the support that the Foundation has provided to us and our certification partners, the International Clinical Cytometry Society (ICCS), to advance cytometry world-wide.
In the coming months, the Council, under the leadership of our new President Paul Smith, will conduct an extensive update of the Strategic Plan. Council is therefore asking for member input on initiatives that ISAC should pursue. For those of you attending CYTO, you can provide your feedback at the ISAC booth that will be located outside of the Exhibit Hall. If you are unable to attend CYTO, please provide your feedback to Todd R. Philbrick, ISAC Executive Director by email at email@example.com.
Summarized below are the accomplishments and amendments to the original Plan resulting from ISAC Council's activities over the past year, as well as brief descriptions of programs begun since the adoption of the Plan.
The Journal has been successfully relaunched under the leadership of Dr. Attila Tarnok, Editor in Chief and Wiley Publishing.
- The Journal's Impact Factor is at its highest point since 1994
- The quality of Journal articles have increased as article submission and rejection rates have increased
- Over 210,000 articles were downloaded in 2009, a 30% increase since 2006
- There has been an increase of 24% in citations since 2008
- Outreach efforts to potential growth/emerging areas for the Journal have been successful. For example, since the India workshops were held in March 2009 there has been increase of 400% in submissions from India
- ISAC has initiated e-mail campaigns to solicit manuscripts from key scientists in key regions such as Brazil, India, and East Asia
- The first CYTO Conference, ISAC's XXV International Congress marks the Society's move to an Annual International Conference. The brand "CYTO" increases the recognition and scope of the Conference
- Future CYTO Conference sites are:
- Baltimore, Maryland, USA, May 20-25, 2011
- Leipzig, Germany, June 1-6, 2012
- San Diego, California, USA, May 19-23, 2013
- Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA, May 17-21, 2014
- As a result of moving to annual CYTO Conferences the Council approved a process for appointing CYTO Chairs to organize the meetings in odd-numbered years (the meeting in even-numbered years will continue to be organized by the President-Elect). ISAC Councilor Andreas Radbruch was chosen as the CYTO 2011 Chair. CYTO 2012 will be organized by John Nolan, President-Elect.
- The ISAC Council and members voted to approve several amendments to the ISAC Constitution and Bylaws. These amendments removed outdated information about the Society and changed the term length, which was necessary with the move to Annual Conferences.
- ISAC Executive Director Todd Philbrick and Secretary Lori Anderson led the creation of the first ISAC Policies and Procedures Manual. This manual was approved by ISAC Council in March 2010, and will provide much needed guidance and continuity for Society operations.
- ISAC has continued to encourage and retain international emerging leaders to join ISAC. These programs include reduced costs for student members and a sliding scale based on individual economic environment for membership
- The Membership Services Committee is launching a Grow Your Career with ISAC initiative aimed to attract and involve new members, students and ISAC Scholars in the Society
- ISAC and CYTO have been advertised in related scientific journals
- In October 2009 there was a very successful Joint Meeting of ISAC, CCS and ESCCA in Jacksonville, Florida
- Based upon the overwhelming positive feedback the Societies are reviewing options for future Joint Meetings
- ISAC and ICCS, with support from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, are working together to develop the first cytometry certification program (more below)
- ISAC is pursing relationships with other associations that have common interests
- ISAC, with support from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, has issued a request for proposals for an Education Director. Proposals are due shortly. Our plan is to contract for 50% FTE in order to provide the level of effort needed for this important area. The future Education Director will develop, organize and offer online learning materials and live meetings
- ISAC will be adding the lectures from the 2010 PreCongress Introductory Flow and Image Courses onto ISAC's website
- The work of the Flow Cytometry Data Standards Task Force has resulted in the development, approval, and publication of FCS 3.1, Gating-ML and MIFlowCyt
- ISAC is held a workshop on data standards for image cytometry immediately before CYTO 2010 to jumpstart an image data standards initiative. Topics included the current status of image cytometry data standards use cases for image cytometry informatics, perspectives of hardware and software vendors, experimental and analysis meta data image databases, and repositories
- Bob Hoffman and Lily Wang, Co-Chairs, Fluorescence Calibration Task Force have begun their work to evaluate the usefulness of Equivalent Reference Fluorophore (ERF) units for the calibration of fluorescence intensity measurements.
Major New Initiatives
As I have reported to you previously, we have worked together with ICCS to study the feasibility of creating a certification program in cytometry. The results of that study, supported by our first grant from the Coulter Foundation and completed in October 2009, showed strong support for creating of such a certification. We are currently in the middle of the next step, a Role Delineation Study that will determine exactly what knowledge is required by cytometrists. It is important to note that we anticipate that this new certification, which will cover the essential knowledge common to both flow and image cytometry as performed in clinical, translational and basic research. We anticipate that this certification will raise standards throughout our industry and not only help employers seeking well-qualified candidates but also provide certified members with enhanced job opportunities.
A critical part of the Role Delineation study is a survey in which a level of importance is assigned to different tasks and areas of knowledge. The survey will launch during the Business Meeting on Monday. The results should be available by the end of June, and will be used to construct the first certification exam. I have committed to President-Elect Smith that I will continue to oversee this effort with our ICCS partners. The leadership of ICCS Past President Mike Borowitz and current ICCS President Brent Wood has been critical to this effort. Support for the next steps in this process is also included in the new grant from the Coulter Foundation.
Flow Cytometry Data Repository
The new grant from the Coulter Foundation includes support for initial rollout of an open source public repository for flow cytometry data associated with scientific publications.
I'd like to express my appreciation to all of you for the opportunity to serve the Society. Special thanks are due to all of the ISAC volunteers, including members of the Council, Standing Committees and Task Force members. Many thanks are due as well to the Todd Philbrick and FASEB, and Attila Tarnok and Scott Cram for their critical roles in our publishing and communication venues.
Robert F. Murphy, Ph.D.