In June 2019, the foundation changed its name from “Japan Bifidus Foundation (JBF)” to “The Intestinal Microbiology Society (IMS)”. JBF was established in 1981 to conduct research and development relating to the interaction between the host and intestinal microflora including bifidobacteria. IMS will continue this philosophy and direction in the future.
The interaction between the biological host and microorganisms is globally one of the most significant research issues, a multidisciplinary field including life sciences. In recent years, importance of intestinal microflora has attracted much attention as an element of the host’s internal environment. The meaning of interactions between intestinal microflora and body immunity, nerves and endocrine function, and the pathogenesis ascribed to the modulation of these factors and symbioses in the host does not indicate mere biological phenomenon, but gather the interest of people as wisdom of human behavior and function.
IMS collects and provides as a wide range of information in the field of intestinal microflora. It also organizes scientific meetings, publishes scientific journals and brochures, sponsors other activities in order to contribute to the progress and promulgation of research in the field of intestinal microflora, and promotes public welfare in the world.
JBF - Learning from History and Expanding Globally -
In June 2015, I was appointed as the chairman of a historic public interest incorporated foundation, the Japan Bifidus Foundation (JBF). As you know, the JBF was established in April 1981 to promote research and development related to the mutually beneficial interactions between the host and intestinal microflora (gut flora) including bifidobacteria, thanks to the vision and efforts made by pioneering researchers. The academic activities our respected predecessors had performed over the first 10 years as a group to study the intestinal growth of bifidobacteria also provided a basis for its establishment. For further details of the foundation’s historical background, please access its website and read "The Foundation’s History". Under the leadership and with the efforts of Professor Shuichi Kaminogawa as its former chairman, as well as cooperation from those involved in it, the JBF has transformed into the organization of a public interest incorporated foundation since April 1, 2013 after being certified by the Cabinet Office of Japan for advancing our academic and scientific activities. Such activities aim to promote the development and expansion of this research field by gathering and providing new scientific information related to the molecular and cellular interactions between the host and intestinal microflora, including those of Bifidobacteria. Our foundation’s activity should reflect the excellent institutional memory established by our predecessors through their activities as a study group and inherited by us, with a view to contributing to the development of science in Japan. In fact, it is specified that the foundation is mainly engaged in the following 4 businesses in its articles of incorporation:
Through cooperation with all of the foundation and society members, we will continue to provide our expertise for further advancing this foundation as a public interest incorporated foundation, which was certified, thanks to cooperation from its supporters led by the former chairman Kaminogawa, aiming to contribute to both domestic and international scientific activities and promote the utilization of their outcomes for the establishment of a healthy society on a global basis in the near future. Therefore, further support and cooperation from all those involved in the foundation and Annual Meeting of Intestinal Microbiology, mainly organized by it, would be very much appreciated.
Regarding the Annual Meeting of Intestinal Microbiology, while the name of a domestic, academic society generally starts with “Japan” or “Japanese”, this does not in Japanese or English, representing the global, in addition to domestic, perspectives we adopt to perform our academic activities at all times. The organization is engaged in research activities, focusing on the importance of intestinal bacteria in microbiology, as well as the necessity of multifaceted studies, including physiological, immunological, pathological, nutritional, and neurological approaches, to examine their interactions with and bilateral manipulation by the host and microbe. In line with this, the JBF will make all efforts to: promote research activities integrating associated areas and multiple fields; share their outcomes on a global basis; contribute to both domestic and international research on intestinal microbiology; enhance the international significance of our activities; and play a leading role to globally establish a healthy society. While inheriting the management policies determined by the former chairman Kaminogawa, it will aim at global expansion as a challenge. From the viewpoint of bacteriology as the basis for the foundation, as I personally specialize in host mucosal immunology, and with the aim of simultaneously, smoothly, and constructively promoting the domestic and global expansion of its activities, I have appointed Professor Shigeru Kamiya, who are in charge of the chair of infectious disease medicine at Kyorin University School of Medicine, as its vice-chairman. Furthermore, through collaboration with Professors Shizunobu Igimi and Toshifumi Ohkusa as the members of standing directors and under the supervision of members of the board of directors and council, we will perform daily management of JBF. For the achievement of our common goals, we would like to hear honest opinions and constructive comments from those involved in the foundation and the Annual Meeting of Intestinal Microbiology, which will be reflected on such daily management of JBF. It is my sincere hope that the JBF expands globally.
At the beginning of the first symposium commemorating Bioscience of Microbiota, Food and Health (BMFH), an academic journal in English edited through cooperation among the Japan Society for Lactic Acid Bacteria, Japanese Association for Food Immunology, and Japan Bifidus Foundation, I would like to make an opening remark, on behalf of the three societies.
The journal was initially issued in January 2012, with a view to promoting efficiency in the publication of English papers, which had been published by individual societies independently up until that time, by integrating them. Since June 2014, it has also been listed in PMC (PubMed Central), and preparatory procedures to achieve an Impact Factor are currently being proceeded with.
I recognize that the research activities of the Japan Society for Lactic Acid Bacteria, Japanese Association for Food Immunology, and Annual Meeting of Intestinal Microbiology (Japan Bifidus Foundation) as academic societies involved with BMFH contribute to science and industry on a global basis. For health maintenance and disease control through microorganisms, immune cells, foods, and other sources of nutrition, comprising and involved in the control of the intestinal ecosystem, the three societies expand research activities from multiple viewpoints, covering microbiology, physiology, immunology, pathology, nutritional neuroscience, and other domains. The outcomes of such activities are expected to greatly contribute to the maintenance and promotion of human health. To achieve the societies’ common goals, the promotion of integrative research through collaboration not only among them, but also with related and dissimilar academic fields will be increasingly needed. Therefore, even for domestic societies like us, it is necessary to develop academic and research activities from more global perspectives, report research outcomes at the international level, and contribute to the development of the relevant research areas in other countries. In this respect, BMFH that integrates such areas may be of marked significance.
Regarding the circumstances that led to holding this symposium, IPEC Inc. functioning as an office for the editing and issuing of BMFH made generous donation for the further development of the journal, enabling us to plan and organize the event. We take this opportunity to heartily thank the company, particularly its president, Mr. Hirota, for such kind considerations. We also thank the Immunology Board of the US-Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program for supporting special international lectures from the viewpoint of globalization. Lastly, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to BMFH Publication Committee members representing each academic society, especially Editor-in-Chief Kamiya, for having been fully engaged in the planning of the symposium, as well as the distinguished speakers scheduled to make presentations and all of the meeting participants attending it today. Hopefully, we will continuously working together to support and develop BMFH to the fullest through collaboration, with the aim of globally reporting outcomes obtained in the relevant research areas.