The ability of the immune system to bring about an effective anti-cancer response is no longer in question, or thought to be an out-of-reach application of immunological theories. The journal Science hailed Cancer Immunotherapy as 2013’s Breakthrough of the Year. As ever, the outstanding IMMpress Magazine team is thrilling us with another stimulating and timely issue, which brings us a wonderful set of feature articles on the topic of cancer immunotherapy. Together with the usual high level of design sophistication and insightful editorials and perspectives, our immunology graduate students continue to make IMMpress Magazine something to look forward to receiving. I am again very thankful to the editorial team for their terrific efforts.

Dr. Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker, Chair, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto
Dr. Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker, Chair, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto

In previous issues of IMMpress, I mentioned that the Department of Immunology was developing an academic and research strategic plan.  I am happy to say that the plan was recently approved by our academic leadership, and we are now starting the implementation phase. This is the first formal strategic plan for the Department of Immunology, and I am confident that it will provide us with a set of important guiding principles for the future of Immunology at the University of Toronto and its fully-affiliated hospital-based research institutes. You can learn more about the process and the outcome at

As a small preview, I am sharing our Department’s overarching vision, mission and values:

International leadership for improving health through innovation and excellence in immunological research, education and clinical translation
To prepare future leaders in immunology to improve the health of individuals and populations through discovery, its application and the communication of knowledge
Ownership: of results and of success, of moving things forward, of creating the culture and environment; being highly accountable individually, to colleagues, partners and funders
Excellence: at the individual level, across the Department and in partnerships whether local, national or international
Engagement: personal drive, focus and commitment, with a relentless pursuit of discovery and innovation
Mentorship: fostering the success of others; collaborating and sharing knowledge to move toward the vision

I hope you enjoy this issue of IMMpress Magazine, and the upcoming ones, and importantly whether you are an alumnus of the department, or a prospective student, I really look forward to hearing from you. In particular for alumni, this year marks the Department of Immunology’s 30th anniversary, and we will celebrate this milestone at a homecoming event in November 2014. I hope that many of you will be able to join us.

Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Immunology

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