Message From The President

Dear Colleagues,

It is an honor and a pleasure to serve the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society (PNIRS) as President! First of all, I would like to thank our outgoing President Monika Fleshner, not only for taking such good care of our Society during the past year but also for organizing an exciting meeting in San Diego of highest scientific quality. Special praise should be heaped upon the local organizer Suzi Hong and her team and our wonderful secretary/treasurer, Gayle Page. Many thanks for your engagement and your hard work serving our Society.

Plans for the 20th annual PNIRS Meeting to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, on 5th to 8th June 2013 are under way. Together with Mats Lekander as the local organizer and his team from the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University, we will do our very best to put together an exciting scientific program in the stimulating environment of Stockholm. You will find the announcement of the meeting, together with some detailed information, in due course on our web page. Here are just a few of the highlights in advance: A keynote presentation will be given by Dr. Mark Laudenslager, the winner of the “Norman Cousins Award”, and a talk from Dr. Mark Hutchinson, recipient of the “Robert Ader New Investigator Award”. The Presidential Symposium will be on the “Neurobiology of the Placebo Effect” with Dr. Fabrizio Benedetti from the University of Turin as one designated speaker of this session. Finally, we are happy that two most distinguished researchers accepted our invitation to give a Keynote Address during the Stockholm meeting: Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, San Francisco, USA, Nobel Laureate 2009 for Physiology or Medicine for her discoveries concerning the molecular nature of telomeres and Dr. Bruce Beutler, Dallas, USA, Nobel Laureate 2011 for Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity. With the meeting being delightfully located in a green and leafy area of Stockholm, just 5 km from the city centre, we hope to have an exciting meeting with active contributions from members and non-members of the PNIRS.

I would like to start with a short personal view of our Society and its future development with a citation from the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) who once said about the truth: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”  When I started with research on behavior-brain-immune communication, Psychoneuroimmunology was still in stage one and, as a result of excellent research in this field, in particular from our PNIRS members, it has rapidly reached stage three. Psychoneuroimmunology and its relevance for health and diseases is now taken for granted in the general scientific community, which is particularly reflected by fact that our research field has been assimilated into behavioral sciences and almost every biomedical discipline! On the one hand this is a fantastic development since the general aim of our research activities was to introduce this view of behavior-brain-immune interaction into life sciences. On the other hand however, the downside of this success is that we risk losing some of our profile.

Thus, in order to further strengthen our visibility and recognition in the general scientific community, we need to further increase the visibility of our Society and to strengthen our public image by encouraging our colleagues to join our Society and to organize excellent meetings such as those we have held over the last 20 years. In addition, doing excellent science and publishing our best work in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity (BBI), our Society Journal, will be another essential requisite for the successful continuation of our Society. In this context I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Keith Kelly, editor-in-chief of BBI, and the associate editors Annemieke Kavelaars, Ginny Sanders, Linda Watkins, Michael Irwin, Robert Dantzer, Mike Irwin and Steven Maier for their hard work for the Journal and our Society.

I look forward to welcoming all of you next year in Stockholm with much new exciting research and many new colleagues joining our Society.

Best regards

Manfred Schedlowski
President, PNIRS