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President's Column
PresidentThe Society continues to pursue understanding disease through the encouragement and support of research (our various schemes), the dissemination of research findings (our meetings and Journal) and the support of educational activities of many sorts (meetings, special lectures, journals, books).
We have, in the past, perhaps, not been sufficiently outward–looking and we have been making real efforts to do something about this. We have organised four public lectures in the National Pathology week, one in each of the four home nations, on pathology topics of wide interest. In Cardiff, in a lecture jointly sponsored by PathSoc and the BDIAP, Prof Alan Burnett will discuss “The Science behind the cure; the example of leukaemia”. In Dundee, jointly sponsored by the Society and the Medical School, Prof Andrew Wyllie will deliver the Muir Lecture on “Cell death in living tissues: apoptosis re-examined”. In Belfast, jointly sponsored by the Society and the RCPath, Prof Robin Young will speak on “The Decision maker behind the surgeon’s mask: what pathologists really do”. In Newcastle, jointly sponsored by the Society and the BDIAP, Prof Phil Quirke will speak on “Pathology. The patients’ champion in colon cancer”. Details of times and venues of these lectures are available on the RCPath National Pathology Week website.

In London during the week we will be supporting several activities. We will have a stand throughout the week in the College promoting the Society and the Journal. The Trainees Subcommittee will be running in the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons (1) a treasure-hunt session for school children, to encourage them to think about different specialities within the realm of pathology and (2) A Medical Students Day aimed to take students through the whole process from theatre to diagnosis. On Wednesday the 5th of November, in the College, there will be a public launch of the book sponsored by the Society “A Matter of Life and Death – conversations with pathologists” by Sue Armstrong. Several of the interviewees will be present in person at the launch. This book features interviews with prominent pathologists throughout the world talking about their lives and work; it will be published in October 2008, will retail at £12.99 in the shops, but be available to members at a 60% discount. The book will, in due course, be complemented by an archive on the Society’s website which will feature the full transcripts of all the interviews conducted by Sue (the book covers about 30% of the material gathered). Support for this archive, which will determine its scope and sophistication, is the basis of current grant application to The Wellcome Trust.

In addition to the Society-supported events in National Pathology Week, we are also looking outward by engaging more pro-actively with other Pathology Societies. We plan to run a satellite meeting, in conjunction with the March 2009 USCAP meeting in Boston, on Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, to co-incide with the publication of the Annual Review Issue of the Journal of Pathology on that topic. We have reviewed and revamped our links with the Japanese Society of Pathology, with new trainee exchanges, new plenary invited lectures, and a new collaborative research scheme. We continue to support research collaborations with members of the Chinese Pathology Society, and we continue to support and develop our links with the BDIAP particularly through our highly successful joint 2 yearly meetings. We are discussing with the Officers of the European Society of Pathology (ESP) the possibility of jointly hosting a major Pathology Congress in the UK in 2012.

I mentioned in my last column that I was involved with two national initiatives backed by the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) (1) the Chairmanship of a Taskforce charged with making recommendations on how to foster the engagement of NHS Pathologists and Pathology Departments with research (2) The Confederation of Cancer Biobanks – which aims to facilitate access by scientists to human tissues for research. I shall say more about these initiatives in the Spring Newsletter as the report on (1) will be written by then; input on academic issues from colleagues at the Leeds PathSoc meeting and at the RAE Retreat in Reading was very constructive. Anyone interested meantime in (2) might like to visit the Confederation website.
David Levison
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