Emerging Arthritis Investigators Conference
September 21, 2014
This weekend we had over 45 participants at Stonewall Resort in beautiful Roanoke West Virginia for the Inaugural Emerging Investigators Conference of the Great Lakes Region.
There were 16 research institutions represented at the conference from all five states of our region. Both young investigators as well as seasoned mentors participated.
Featured speakers included Amanda Niskar, PhD, MPH, BSN the Arthritis Foundation’s new Scientific Director opened the conference on Friday with an inspiring presentation on the new goals for the Foundation’s Research Program. She quoted her old boss, Bill Gates (yes, that Bill Gates) during her presentation and encouraged the researchers to “ not just think out of the box, BUT TO BLOW UP THE BOX!”
She encouraged all of the researchers to submit Letters of Intent for the new RFP that is open until the end of the month. She encouraged creativity, collaboration and risk taking. She also described the Arthritis Foundation’s role with research to be the “matchmaker, matching great ideas for research with funding”.
Stacy Ardoin, MD from Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital along with Marina Magrey, MD from MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland moderated the two day conference along with Nora Singer, MD also from MetroHealth Medical Center. Dr. Singer expressed to the group during her presentation, “for research, you need to be like a dog with a bone!”
John Hardin, the ACL Study Director for the AF gave an inspiring dinner presentation on Osteoarthritis as an epidemic that we need to stop. He talked about some very exciting studies that are taking place that could lead us to actually having a cure for OA in our lifetime.
Marie Mancini, PhD from NIAMS at NIH gave a very thorough presentation on the different types of research funding available on Friday afternoon and then followed up later with very specific opportunities for investigators who are early in their career. She also participated actively in one of the break out sessions on Saturday afternoon where participants had many great questions for her. She was able to offer wonderful guidance and direction.
Michelle Kahlenberg, MD, PhD from University of Michigan spoke about Navigating your First Faculty Appointment which was very enthusiastically received by the younger investigators in attendance.
She spoke about the need for “relentless positive action” with our research efforts!!
The Ohio State University was well represented by Wael Jarjour, MD and Nicholas Young, PhD (along with Stacy Ardoin). They were highly engaged and remained well into the afternoon on Saturday as the conference was closing in a break out session with other researchers talking about new ways they could collaborate. Dr. Jarjour is clearly a very enthusiastic leader of this team.
Rocky Tuan, PhD from the University of Pittsburgh spoke about some revolutionary work occurring with stem cell-based therapy and regenerative processes that had the attendees riveted.
The Conference served as a fantastic opportunity to connect researchers and their work. There were synergies taking place throughout the two days and significant amount of cross-fertilization that was inspiring to behold.
Andy Zeft, MD from the Cleveland Clinic is working on some groundbreaking research on the Influence of the Environment on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
Sharon Bout-Tabaku, MD, MHS from Nationwide Children’s Hospital is investigating whether obese children will develop knee OA earlier.
There was overwhelming consensus that this conference should be repeated annually. The participants were all so appreciative of the opportunity to engage with each other.
Dr. Walter E. Horton, PhD from Northeast Ohio Medical University spoke eloquently at lunch on Saturday about highlights in arthritis research at NEOMED and around the world.