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|Robert Neil Kelsh 2018 Election Statement|
Professor and Theme Lead for Cell and Developmental Biology, Department of Biology & Biochemistry
I have been an active member of the zebrafish community since 1992, firstly as PDRA in the labs of Prof. C. Nüsslein-Volhard (Tübingen) and Prof. J. Eisen (Eugene), and then as a PI at the University of Bath (since 1997). My lab has also been working with medaka since a sabbatical at the University of Nagoya with Prof. Ozato and Wakamatsu (2002). I have served on the scientific organising committees of the 3rd European Zebrafish Meeting (2003) and the European Zebrafish Principle Investigators’ Meeting (2012, 2016). I have taught on the Zebrafish Neuroscience Course (Helsinki, 2010, 2012), the Zebrafish Neurobiology Course (Rosario, 2012) and the Zebrafish Cell Biology and Genetics Course (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, 2012). I have served more widely within the developmental biology and pigment cell biology communities, in part as a representative of the fish model communities, and in particular as both a committee member (1998-2003) and then as Secretary (2003-2008) of the British Society for Developmental Biology and as a committee member of the European Society for Pigment Cell Research (2 terms, 2009-2017). I believe that I have contributed within both these communities to the recognition of zebrafish and medaka as model systems, in part through organisation of meetings such as BSDB Spring Meeting (2003), Joint Meeting of BSDB and Spanish Society for Developmental Biology Meeting (2008), and European Society for Pigment Cell Research meetings (2003, 2010, 2015, 2018), and as co-chair of the International Federation of Pigment Cell Societies Pigment Cell Development Group. I have been involved in local initiatives (e.g. Bath Taps into Science) to promote understanding amongst the general public, within schools and to patient groups of the value of zebrafish (and medaka) as model systems for biomedical and basic biological research.
I am proud to have been a member of our community for these 26 years. We are an open, collaborative and welcoming community, and I firmly believe that these are attributes worthy of preservation and promotion. I would, therefore, be delighted to serve through the IZFS, which makes a valuable contribution to upholding these attributes through its programme of meetings and awards, advocacy and educational initiatives. In the role of President-elect, I would look forward to working with the President to promote the community worldwide through all of these. In particular, I would like to see the IZFS develop its vision as an umbrella organisation for the other societies that have important roles regionally, through reaching out to them and acting to support them in whatever way was valued most. I was a member of the management committee for the EU COST Action on Fish Biomedical Models (EuFishBioMed) and was then a co-founder member of the European Society for Fish Models in Biology and Medicine (EuFishBioMed). As such I am well aware of the invaluable work that these necessarily regional societies perform in terms of community liaison and outreach, both within the scientific community and also in interaction with legislative bodies. I would like to see the IZFS enhance that work, and would welcome the chance to work with my colleagues in the regional societies and stock centres to achieve this. I see an opportunity for the IZFS to assist their work, for example, through sharing of resources and enhancement of the consultative community. If elected, I would be delighted to do all I can to attain this goal, whilst maintaining the IZFS’s excellent work in other areas.