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Presidents Blog
From the President

Tamara Minko, Ph.D.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, U.S.A.
CRS President, 2017–2018

Dear current and future members of the Controlled Release Society,

It is with great pleasure I am writing to you as the new President of CRS.

Thanks to those of you who believed I would be a good president and elected me to office. This is a tremendous honor for me and a huge responsibility.

For those who do not know me, I am a distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, U.S.A. My current research interests include drug and nucleic acids delivery, nanotechnology, personalized nanomedicine, biopharmaceutics, imaging, and molecular targeting. I am an executive editor for Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, editor of Pharmaceutical Research, and a fellow of CRS, AAPS, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). I’m a member several journal editorial boards, including CRS journals Journal of Controlled Release and Drug Delivery and Translational Research. And, it is hard to believe, but now I am a president of CRS—president #40. CRS was founded in 1978, so next year in the Annual Meeting in New York we will celebrate the 40th year of the society.

CRS is, in my opinion, one of the most respected and unique societies that covers new technologies and science in the multi-disciplinary delivery fields. CRS has succeeded in stimulating substantial progress in the areas of bioengineering, drug delivery, material science, pharmaceutics, consumer and diversified products, and veterinary science. With members in more than 30 countries, powerful local chapters all over the world, our excellent annual meetings, and two prestigious CRS journals, the Journal of Controlled Release (impact factor in 2016 of 7.786, editor-in-chief Kinam Park) and the recently established journal Drug Delivery and Translational Research (impact factor in 2016 of 3.094, editor-in-chief Vinod Labhasetwar), we can look into the future with deserved optimism.

I became a member of CRS 19 years ago in 1998 at the annual meeting in Los Angeles. At that time I was a postdoc in the laboratory of Henry Kopecek. My abstract was selected for an oral presentation. The next year, in 1999 at the annual meeting in Boston, my abstract again was selected for oral presentation, and together with Dr. Kopecek and co-authors, we received the Jorge Heller Journal of Controlled Release Outstanding Paper Award. I was extremely proud, and since that time, I have considered CRS as my primary and most important society. I decided to do my best for the success of CRS. In doing so, I was chair of the Annual Meeting Program Committee in 2008–2009 and a member of the CRS Board of Directors; I was inducted into the CRS College of Fellows and have received the Drug Delivery and Translational Research Journal Outstanding Paper Award. Also, graduate students and researchers from my lab three times received the Controlled Release Society Outstanding Pharmaceutical Paper Award.

Again, I’d like to stress that I am taking my role as CRS President very seriously and will do my best to keep the high prestige of the society.

Fortunately, I will not work alone. We have outstanding members on the CRS Board, and I’d like to recognize my colleagues who will share with me the leadership in CRS in 2017–2018. First of all, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Immediate Past President Ruth Schmid (SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Norway) for her tremendous efforts. She has led CRS with great dedication and passion during the past year and has made a lasting impact on our society through her leadership and through the implementation of changes to our annual meeting programming, increased industry focus, and the re-tooling of our strategic plan. I am very happy to work with the following CRS Board members: President-Elect Maria José Alonso (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain), who successfully served on the Board in 2016–2017 as Secretary; current Secretary James Oxley (Southwest Research Institute, U.S.A.); Treasurer Jules Remenar (Dulce D Leche, U.S.A.); Treasurer-Elect Samir Mitragotri (Wyss Institute, Harvard University, U.S.A.); and five Directors-at-Large: Justin Hanes (John Hopkins University, U.S.A.), Richard W. Korsmeyer (retired from Pfizer, U.S.A.), Mark Prausnitz (Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A.), Nicole Papen-Botterhuis (Maxima Medical Centre, the Netherlands), and Ilva Rupenthal (University of Auckland, New Zealand).

I am very glad to report that Hamid Ghandehari (University of Utah, U.S.A.) agreed to serve as a chair of 2018 Annual Meeting Program Committee. We can be certain that with this committee led by Dr. Ghandehari we will have an outstanding meeting next year in New York. Our confidence for the further success of CRS is also based on the permanent help of the CRS committees, task forces, and our loyal team of volunteers, including the College of Fellows and past presidents of the society. I am asking for input and help from all of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me. I can be reached at minko@pharmacy.rutgers.edu. I look forward to your critiques, advice, and ideas.

I look forward to seeing you next year in New York at the 2018 CRS Annual Meeting!

Thank you for an incredible and inspiring year
Ruth Schmid

My year as CRS president is nearing its end. It has been a year of much energy and momentum within CRS; I feel lucky, and it has been a great honor and privilege for me to have been a part of this important time in the history of our society. I feel strongly that we have set the stage for the next phase in the growth of our science and our increasingly valuable connections as colleagues and members of CRS.

Being president is not a one-person show—it is a team experience—and I enjoyed very much working together with all the CRS volunteers, especially my colleagues on the CRS Board, and with the staff.

Past president Art Tipton passed some wise words on to me, which I have remembered during my year as president: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” It is as a team that we can best achieve our goals.

I wish Tamara Minko good luck in her year as president.

Our 2017 CRS Annual Meeting & Exposition, July 16–19 in Boston, will be the peak of my presidential year, and I am looking forward to listening to great science and innovation, being inspired, and meeting old and new friends.

Thanks to all of you for allowing me to serve you and for making this year special to me.

CRS Annual Meeting & Exposition just around the corner

Our 2017 CRS Annual Meeting & Exposition, July 16-19, in Boston, is approaching with seven-league boots. Registration is open, and the early registration deadline (May 24) is only a few weeks away.

The CRS Annual Meeting is our big event and our premium product. The Annual Meeting Program Committee has worked hard to present a great and varied program, so we can all find topics and events that match our individual interests.

At the CRS Annual Meeting, great science and innovations inspire us, and we meet with old and new friends across the various interfaces in our Society. The meeting offers many different opportunities to collaborate, connect and innovate, but most of all, to get inspired and get a professional refill of new ideas and connections.

Let me list some of the many offerings you will find in the program:

  • Great plenary speakers representing all our demographics across academia, industry and the clinic.
  • Minisymposia and scientific sessions covering both established and novel areas of delivery science and technology.
  • Hundreds of posters.
  • Educational premeeting workshops of interest for both academia and industry.
  • Industry roundtables discussing various industry hot topics, challenges and core interests.
  • Technology forums showcasing novel industrial technology platforms and delivery solutions.
  • An exhibition with both large industry and SMEs showcasing their products and services.
  • Various networking events to connect with old and new friends. I will be attending the Women in Science networking event, Preclinical Science and Animal Health networking event, Consumer & Diversified Products luncheon, and especially the Opening and Closing receptions.
  • Young scientists will find many opportunities to learn, get inspired and network tailored to young professionals – premeeting workshops and various networking events throughout the conference, and new this year the CV on a poster session.

I hope to meet many of you in Boston! I am looking forward to connecting with old and new friends, discussing science and novel collaborations or just chatting over a cup of coffee.

Register today – see you all in Boston in July!

Partnerships bridge academic and industry professionals in CRS

In one of my former blog posts, I addressed the various interfaces in CRS as sources of interaction and noted that we should leverage these interfaces more in the future. Especially, I emphasized the interface between our academic and industrial members, which is unique for CRS. At our Annual Meeting, we build a program for our broad membership and cannot dive deep into all topics of interest. CRS is therefore looking into additional, different instruments to add membership value by focusing on specific topics of interest.

Partnership events are an excellent instrument to focus deeply on one specific topic of interest in the delivery science and technology (S&T) field, addressing the main challenges and the best scientific solutions to solve them. Topics may relate to CRS's core area or may be topics, where delivery S&T is relatively new and innovative and could be a game changer in the future. The field of delivery S&T is a highly multidisciplinary field, where collaborations of partners with different expertise are the key to future solutions.

Important attributes for a successful partnership are a shared vision and mission, complementary contributions and skills, mutual trust and a win-win situation for all partners involved.

GSK-CRS Long-Acting Injectables and Implantables Conference

I am very glad that I now can draw your attention to the 1st Annual GSK-CRS Long-Acting Injectables and Implantables Conference, organized in Philadelphia, April 18-19, 2017. http://www.controlledreleasesociety.org/meetings/Pages/gsk-crs-conf.aspx, a perfect example of academia-industry partnership, addressing a focused topic of interest for many CRS members.

I am looking forward to this and other partnership events in the future, contributing to solve global challenges and add membership value to our members. So, if you are interested in partnering with CRS in a special topic in the delivery S&T field, contact us and tell us about your idea. Contact: ahope@scisoc.org

Volunteers - The Backbone of CRS
Volunteers NeededVolunteers are the backbone of associations, sports clubs and music corps.
Without volunteers, many organizations would not be able to exist and offer products and benefits to their members. CRS is a member-driven and member-led society and, therefore, has a constant need for new volunteers with varying skills and interests. CRS has several committees and task forces with volunteer members contributing to the implementation of the initiatives in our strategic roadmap. The Board alone would not be able to do all the work required. In addition, CRS has volunteers who are contributing to a successful Annual Meeting, e.g., as moderators, abstract reviewers and session chairs. All of the 2016–2017 committees and task forces have started their work, with many volunteers in action. Thank you all for committing your time and expertise!
 
Why should CRS members volunteer?
Volunteering is any activity in which people contribute their time, skills and efforts to a cause they believe in, without expecting any compensation. However, what can volunteers themselves gain from participating an activity, in addition to their contribution to the Society? Volunteering contributes to personal development. In addition to intellectual skills (IQ), emotional skills (EQ) have increased in importance in professional life. Volunteering presents an opportunity to develop various emotional skills, e.g., social, active communication, interpersonal relations, multicultural, teamwork and leadership. Volunteering helps you to expand your network, make new friends and gain visibility. Young professionals also can add their volunteering activities to their CVs, which is always good for promotions and job opportunities.
 
I have personal experience as a long-time volunteer, both in a sports association and in CRS.
Cross-country skiing with CRS Past-President Diane Burgess
Cross-country skiing with CRS
Past-President Diane Burgess
I have worked as a volunteer in several positions – both in the Norwegian Ski Association on national and regional levels (Board member and chair of the Nordic Combined Committee and member of the Law and Prosecution Committee) and in CRS (eight years on the Board as a Board member, Secretary, Treasurer and now President). Volunteering has been personally rewarding for me. It has given me an international network of colleagues around the world with whom I enjoy interacting, catching up and talking about not just science, but also other things of personal interest. As an example, I enjoyed a fantastic week of cross-country skiing in Norway with Diane Burgess, CRS Past-President. Volunteering is fun and a chance to give back to the organizations that are important in my personal and professional lives.
 
Volunteering is an excellent personal development project and a way to contribute to our Society – Get involved!
 
If you are interested in contributing to CRS as a volunteer, contact us and tell us about your interests, skills and time. Contact: ahope@scisoc.org
Interfaces – breeding ground for life


Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, USA

Sitting at a lake, fjord, or hot spring and studying the surface layer of water or bacterial mats, makes me reflect on the wealth of life ongoing at interfaces in nature. Such interfaces are the origin of bacterial life, producing many active compounds, e.g., drugs and nutrients. Bioprospecting results in continuous new discoveries. Interfaces and the life they contain need to be used wisely while being protected from outside disturbances. An imbalance can kill parts of the interfacial environment and reduce the life within it.

Interfaces are of high interest and importance in delivery science as well. Interfaces protect the active on one side from the environment on the other side. They are tailor-made barriers that control permeation from one side to the other. There is a lot of life at the interfaces in a body. Cells, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates invade the surface of delivery systems and create communities of life that may be used for controlled and targeted delivery of actives. Interfaces also present challenges for delivery scientists, precisely because of the life found at interface. It makes the interface unpredictable, inhomogeneous, and variable, but also interesting for any creative and curious scientist.

CRS as an organization also has interfaces that can be sources of life—interfaces that we can nurture and leverage much more than we have done thus far. Members from different application areas - pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and beverages, etc., come together in this society. CRS is unique in having members from widely different industrial segments in one organization and thus can offer networking and sessions of interest at their interfaces. Examples include oral delivery of drugs and food additives, flavours, and nutrients and transdermal delivery of drugs and cosmetic additives and fragrances. Learning from each other by discussing and sharing experiences is possible at the interfaces in our organization. Scientists from one industrial segment may not find these interfaces in other market-specific organizations and conferences, e.g., AAPS, SCC, and IFT. CRS needs to exploit this diversity more and offer year-round opportunities for interactions amongst these different groups, by creating discussion fora and year-round member activities. Communities of Practice, replacing the focus groups, may be such an instrument, as well as other discussion fora, social media groups, etc. Another unique interface for CRS is that between our academic and industrial members. Few conferences and events have a mix from both the basic science community and the applied science and product-based community. This is another opportunity that we need to explore and utilize more in the future. I would like to challenge all members to tell us their ideas on how to exploit these interfaces more intensely in the future and through this create a more lively membership experience in CRS. Let our scientific and organizational interfaces be a breeding ground for life, use them wisely, and protect them.

From Seattle to Boston

Dear CRS members, This is my first post as CRS President. I plan to use this new blog as an informal communication tool to keep members up-to-date on Board activities, share some personal thoughts connected to delivery science and technology, and, most importantly, get your feedback and input throughout the year.

We have just finished a great CRS Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA, where over 1,200 delivery science professionals shared great science and connected through various networking activities. I certainly left Seattle with a lot of new energy and many memories from reconnecting with all my good CRS friends. We have already started gathering feedback through the survey and many one-on-one conversations, but if you have any comments, ideas, and/or changes you would like to see for our next meeting, please bring them forward. The 2017 CRS Annual Meeting Program Committee is already working very hard to put together an excellent meeting for Boston, MA, so now is the time to give your feedback and have an impact.

If you could not attend all the presentations you would have liked in Seattle, don’t worry! You will get the chance to view most of them (if allowed by the presenter), as webcasts on the website. They will be posted on our website over the next few months, joining the many presentations from past CRS meetings that can be found in the same location.

Speaking of the website, there is a lot of great delivery science and technology available to you on our website! However, it can sometimes be difficult to find. With this in mind, the Board has decided to improve and reorganize the website in the coming year to make it more user-friendly and interactive. In the future it should be easier for you to find not only meeting presentations, but all the information of interest to you. As we start the process of revising the website, input from all members on what content you would like to see on the website is welcome.

During the Annual Meeting in Seattle, the Board finalised its work on revising our strategic plan. The following four strategic directions are the core of our strategy:

  1. Science: Advance scientific innovation and interchange in the field of delivery science.
  2. People: Build a responsive, relevant, and strong global community.
  3. Products: Deliver high-value products and services (conferences, journals, white papers, webinars).
  4. Structure: Create a governance structure that is inclusive, efficient, and agile.

For each direction, the Board has chosen a few focus areas for 2016–2017, and I am really looking forward to implementing these new ideas during my presidential year. You can find the strategic plan and focus areas for 2016–2017 here.


Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, MT
After the Seattle meeting, I was lucky to have time for a vacation and to experience many of the beautiful places of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. I hope all of you have had some personal time off to recharge your batteries with a lot of new energy. Hopefully, with that new energy you’ll have some creative ideas and insights on the Annual Meeting, the website, and/or CRS’s overall strategy. Please feel free to send comments/feedback to my blog or e-mail me (ruth.b.schmid@sintef.no) or our CEO, Amy Hope, at headquarters (ahope@scisoc.org). Remember CRS is an organization that is built to serve you our members – so let us know what we can do for you!



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