About AST

To Everything – TIRN, TIRN, TIRN

As my term as AST president comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the end of this “season,” and on what the next “season” will bring. That kind of thinking always makes me remember Pete Seeger’s song covered so famously by The Byrds in 1965, so please listen to it in the background as you read my last post.

I have learned much in the past year, and have relished the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of fellow volunteers on the board of directors. I’ve also gained great insight into what my colleagues are doing, saying, and thinking by interacting with AST’s communities of practice, committees, advisory councils, and task forces. This Society is truly alive with ideas and energy, and AST’s future looks to me to be incredibly bright and exciting.

And that’s vitally important to our field, to have a Society that wants to move forward and wants to innovate. Without that spark and that drive to improve and move forward, it would spell certain doom for the patients that we all got into this wanting to help. In truth, we honor the entire history of medicine and science by our efforts to improve our field today.

One of AST’s most exciting new initiatives that I am proud to lead is the creation of the Transplantation and Immunology Research Network, or TIRN. The TIRN is being launched officially now and rolled out at the WTC for everyone to review. My hope is that TIRN will provide new opportunities for researchers to learn from one another by building on their collective strengths, expanding their knowledge of cutting-edge techniques, sharing new reagents and growing their professional networks. Please note that the name has been chosen carefully to highlight both transplantation and immunology. It is my strongly held belief that we should see transplantation as a model system to explore the unifying mechanisms of immunity and inflammation in health and disease. These unifying mechanisms have direct relevance to developing new immunosuppressive strategies that run the complete gamut of drugs, biologics, cell therapies, tissue engineering and tolerance induction. Many of these new drugs may be developed and initially tested in other immune-mediated disease states and our challenge will be to translate these successful therapies to transplantation. These new challenges will also inform and shape work in molecular diagnostics, genetics and the future of personalized medicine.

TIRN will also be more than just AST and include industry leaders in Pharma and biotech, private organizations, and academic institutions that support transplantation research and are committed to nurturing the next generation of investigators. We will also reach out to our patients, their families and the American Public, all of whom are stakeholders in the miracles of transplantation and immunology. And TIRN will embrace good science and make no special preferences for basic, translational and clinical research. The positive impact on the health and lives of patients and their families as a result of new research is nearly incalculable. But don’t spend any more time reading this post; go right to www.TIRN.org to find out what it’s all about and how you can become involved as TIRN grows. This truly is a time to sing: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted.” 

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