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 > BLOG > July 2016

ASIP Pathogenesis Blog, November 2016

ASIP Pathogenesis Blog
Member to Member. . .PISA 2016
William B. Coleman, PhD

After several years of planning, the American Society for Investigative Pathology held the inaugural Pathobiology for Investigators, Students, and Academicians (PISA 2015) meeting in Baltimore, MD, in the Fall of 2015 ( This new stand-alone meeting was an experiment and an opportunity for our Society and its members. The general idea was to organize a meeting covering several topics of particular interest to ASIP members featuring invited presentations from leaders in the field, as well as opportunities for members to present their own work and network with others. PISA was intended to be a smaller and more intimate meeting than that possible in the context of the much larger, multi-society, Experimental Biology meeting. Of tremendous importance to the design of PISA was an emphasis on maximizing member-to-member networking opportunities, and especially interactions between trainee members, young investigators, and more senior members of the ASIP. PISA 2015 was certainly an excellent meeting and formed a solid foundation for subsequent iterations of the meeting.

In October 2016, members of the ASIP (and others) gathered at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Houston, TX for PISA 2016 ( For PISA 2016, the chosen theme was “Breakthroughs in Biology: From Underlying Pathogenesis to Translational Medicine." The scientific program was assembled by the PISA 2016 Organizing Committee (, which was co-chaired by Dr. Cary D. Austin and Dr. Francis W. (Bill) Luscinskas, and included Drs. Anirban Maitra, Richard N. Mitchell, Satdarshan Paul S. Monga, Asma Nusrat, Christopher A. Moskaluk, William A. Muller, James Musser, Mark E. Sobel (ASIP Executive Officer), William Stetler-Stevenson, and Cecelia Yates. Ms. Lisa McFadden (ASIP Director of Membership and Educational Services) acted as the staff liaison from the ASIP, with assistance from Ms. Tara Snethen (ASIP Director of Meetings). In addition to participating on the PISA 2016 Organizing Committee, Dr. Jim Musser ( also served as our Houston host, providing access to the Houston Methodist Research Institute The venue was fantastic and provided an ideal setting for the exchange of scientific ideas and information.

The scientific program for the two and a half day-long PISA 2016 meeting was exceptional ( Dr. Tanya Mayadas (Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School) provided the Keynote Lecture on the topic of “Targeting Neutrophil Accumulation as a Therapy for Lupus Nephritis." Invited presentations were delivered by Dr. Laura Diehl (Genetech Inc. ), Dr. William A. Muller (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine), Dr. David Walker (University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston), Dr. Andrew Neish (Emory School of Medicine), Dr. James Versalovic (Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine), Dr. Jonathan Braun (UCLA Geffen School of Medicine), Dr. Raghu Kalluri (MD Anderson Cancer Center), Dr. Dihua Yu (MD Anderson Cancer Center), Dr. Biju Parekkadan (Harvard Medical School), Dr. Sean Colgan (University of Colorado - Denver), and Dr. Nicholas Lukacs (University of Michigan). In addition, seven abstract-driven short talks were given on topics relevant to the major themes of the scientific sessions, which included Inflammation, Microbiome and Disease, Cell-Cell Communication, and Mucosal Pathobiology. These abstract-driven short talks are a new feature of the meeting and an excellent vehicle for promoting the excellent research that is presented at PISA from individual research laboratories. In several cases, these abstract-driven short talks were delivered by trainee members of the Society. The complete listing of invited presentations and abstract-driven presentations can be found ( in the PISA 2016 Meeting Program.

Contributing to the excellence of the scientific program at PISA 2016 was the addition of two ASIP Meritorious Award Lectures ( that historically have taken place at the Annual Meeting. Dr. Christi Kolarcik (University of Pittsburgh) delivered the 2016 ASIP Young Scientist Leadership Award Lecture on the topic of “Approaching Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis from Cellular, System, and Technological Angles." Dr. Kolarcik was recognized for “outstanding and sustained achievements at the earliest stages of a career in biomedical research” including “volunteer service to the ASIP." Dr. Jim Musser (Houston Methodist Hospital) delivered the 2017 ASIP Rous-Whipple Award Lecture on the topic of “Molecular Triggers Underlying Pandemics Caused by Group A Streptococcus, the Flesh-Eating Pathogen." Dr. Musser was recognized as “a senior scientist with a distinguished career in research who has advanced the understanding of disease” and for his “continuing productivity." These award lectures were exceptional in informational content and delivery, and consistent with the excellence of these awardees. In addition, the 2017 Robbins Distinguished Educator Award was presented to Dr. Martha B. Furie (Stony Brook University School of Medicine) during the Business Meeting portion of PISA 2016. Dr. Furie was recognized for “contributions to education in pathology have had a manifest impact at a regional, national, or international level. ”

Sixty abstracts were submitted for PISA2016. You can read all the abstracts in the PISA2016 Meeting Program ( Posters associated with each abstract were available for viewing from the first day of the meeting, and several opportunities were provided for poster discussions. The main poster discussion session was held on the second day of the meeting. Posters were arranged for topic-specific breakout sessions, including (i) Liver Pathobiology, (ii) Cancer, (iii) Microbiome and Infectious Diseases, and (iv) Cell Injury, Inflammation, Immunopathology, and Disease. These breakout sessions were conducted as progressive poster discussions, with each breakout moderated by one or more members of the Organizing Committee and/or senior investigators. In many cases, posters were presented by trainees, all of whom did a great job presenting their research and answering questions during the discussions.

PISA 2016 was attended by >100 people, including a substantial number of trainees. To support trainee career development, PISA 2016 featured a Career Development Workshop on the topic of “Dancing with Journals: The Mechanics of Publishing Your Research” Dr. Kathryn Stockbauer (Manager, Academic Development, Houston Methodist Hospital). This early morning session was very well attended and beneficial to all participants. Of equal importance to the career development of trainees and junior faculty was the opportunity to network during the meeting with more senior investigators. These networking opportunities included the Welcome Reception and Poster Viewing that took place at the end of the first day of the meeting, during the breakout poster discussion sessions, during the ASIP Scientific Interest Group Meetings on the second day of the meeting, and during various other coffee breaks. To support attendance at PISA 2016, a number of travel awards were given, including 16 Trainee Travel Awards, 3 Diversity in Science Travel Awards, and one GALL Travel Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Research. The GALL award is a new program funded by Dr. Jonathon Homeister in honor of his mentors. The family of ASIP President George Michalopoulos announced funding for the George K. Michalopoulos Junior Faculty Travel Award Program, which will fund up to 5 junior faculty travel awards a year divided between PISA and the ASIP Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology. All travel award recipients can be found at

There is no question that PISA 2016 in Houston TX was a major success, and those of us that attended are enthusiastically looking forward to future meetings. The Organizing Committee for PISA 2017 is being finalized now and planning for the scientific program has already begun. Complete details for the meeting (including location) will be forthcoming soon. For now, everyone should plan to attend and save the date for PISA 2017 (September 25-27, 2017).