October 2020

The 5th President of AFOB

Greetings from the President, Wen-Chien Lee

Dear AFOB Members,

My second term of the AFOB Presidency will start on October 1, 2020. The AFOB Secretariat will be led by Prof. Seung Wook Kim as the Secretary General of AFOB. Professors Duk Jae Oh, Penjit Srinophakun, Takeshi Omasa, and Yinhua Wan have been re-appointed as a Deputy Secretary General of Financial, Public Relation & Policy, Publication, and Academic Committee, respectively. Meanwhile, Prof. Yoon-Mo Koo is keeping to serve as an Editor-in-chief of AFOB Newsletter. I hope you can continue to support the AFOB team.

We are still in a difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big C 2020, which has just been successfully held in Incheon, Korea, may provide inspiration for us to establish the "new normal" for AFOB activities in the next year or two. AFOB scheduled activities for the coming year include ACB 2021, ARS 2021 and others. We must try to overcome difficulties and continue to hold these activities and exchanges at a high standard.

This pandemic also gives us the opportunity to strengthen cooperation among AFOB colleagues. We hope that the AFOB COVID-19 task force can make the most of its functions and establish research cooperation teams with members from different AFOB regions. COVID-19 will be an important topic in future AFOB events and webinars, like what we had in the Big C 2020. The main purpose is to help improve scientific research and technological development of this new coronavirus disease. Furthermore, the industry, especially small and medium enterprises, is severely hit during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year, we have gradually established links and co-operations with the Asian bioindustry. Hope that our AFOB Bioeconomy task force can start to play a role and provide some help to the bioindustry.

We have been working closely with European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB). Cooperation with Synthetic Biology Australasia (SBA) also continues. In the past few years, AFOB and EFB have cooperated for organizing joint symposia/sessions in every ACB and ECB. This successful model will also be copied in the ECB 2021 to be held in Maastricht, the Netherlands. ECB 2021 was originally ECB 2020, but due to the pandemic, it was postponed to May next year. Recently, the EFB has changed their 5 Sections to 7 new Divisions: (1) Biocatalysis, (2) Biomaterials, (3) Biopharmaceutical and Medical Biotechnology, (4) Bioprocessing and Bioengineering, (5) Environmental Biotechnology, (6) Microbial Biotechnology, and (7) Plant, Agriculture and Food. This change is more conducive to the Divisions of both Federations to jointly organize academic activities and promote transcontinental research cooperation. We look forward to more efforts to expand the relationship between AFOB and EFB at the Federation and Division levels.

As an academic association, publishing journals is essential to the long-term and sustainable development of AFOB. At present, we only cooperate with Wiley for publishing two special issues per year in Biotechnology Journal. AFOB is seriously considering to launch an official journal. We believe that AFOB should put forward some actions that are helpful to promote cooperation and exchange among members in pursuit of academic excellence.

Best regards,

Wen-Chien Lee, PhD
President of AFOB
September 3, 2020