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ASIP Pathogenesis Blog

Member to Member

William B. Coleman, PhD

In September 2017, members of the American Society for Investigative Pathology gathered in Pittsburgh PA for the third Pathobiology for Investigators, Students, and Academicians (PISA 2017) meeting, which was hosted by Dr. George Michalopoulos (ASIP Past-President; and the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh ( The theme for PISA 2017 was Genome and Environment: Implications in Development, Regeneration, Injury, Immunity, and Malignancy ( The scientific program was assembled by the PISA 2017 Steering Committee (, which was chaired by Dr. Satdarshan Paul S. Monga, and included Drs. Stan Cohen, Bill Coleman, Piyali Dasgupta, Phil Iannaccone, Rick Mitchell, Kari Nejack-Bowen, Mark E. Sobel (ASIP Executive Officer), Greg Tsongalis, and Cecelia Yates. Ms. Tara Snethen (ASIP Director of Meetings) was the primary staff liaison from the ASIP and she was helped by Lisa McFadden, Gina LaBorde, and Dia Pellerin. In addition, kudos to Chhavi Chauhan, Henry Carter and Emily Essex in the ASIP Journal Office for facilitating the publication of the PISA 2017 abstracts in The American Journal of Pathology. The meeting venue was proximal to the University of Pittsburgh campus, enabling substantial involvement by faculty members and trainees from the University of Pittsburgh. The meeting provided an ideal setting for the exchange of scientific ideas and information.

The scientific program for the two and a half day-long PISA 2017 meeting was exceptional (, and featured eight scientific sessions on a variety of basic science and translational research topics, including (1) microbiome, junctions, injury, and infections, (3) inflammation, resolution, and wound healing, (3) cancer-associated stoma and tumor immunology, (4) premetastatic niche and regulation of tumor metastasis, (5) cancer epigenetics, (6) the role of biopsy in precision medicine, (7) diagnostic imaging modalities, and (8) signaling and therapeutics. Each session included invited presentations as well as abstract-driven presentations. Biographical information corresponding to the invited speakers can be found on the PISA 2017 website ( The complete listing of invited presentations and abstract-driven presentations can also be found on the PISA 2017 website ( Participants at PISA 2017 contributed 92 abstracts that were programmed into poster sessions on (i) cancer, (ii) immunology and inflammation, (iii) kidney and liver pathobiology, (iv neuropathology, (v) pulmonary pathobiology, and (vi) regenerative medicine and stem cells. Most abstracts were published in the October 2017 issue of The American Journal of Pathology, both in print and online. 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. 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 2017 was attended by >125 people, including a substantial number of trainees. To support trainee education, PISA 2017 featured a Lunch and Learn workshop on the topic of "Science, statistics, and getting it right" ( The workshop was conducted by Dr. Dan Milner (American Society for Clinical Pathology, Chicago IL), and sponsored by the ASIP Committee for Career Development and Diversity, and the ASIP Education Committee. This session was very well attended and beneficial to all participants.

Of equal importance to the trainees and junior faculty in attendance was the opportunity to network during the meeting with more senior investigators. These networking opportunities included lunches on each day of the meeting, the poster viewing session that took place at the end of the first day of the meeting, the formal poster presentations on the second day of the meeting, and during various coffee breaks.

To support attendance at PISA 2017, a number of travel awards were given, including one A.D. Sobel – ASIP Education Fund Scholar (presented to Zachary S. Wilson), five ASIP Trainee Travel Awards (presented to Sven Flemming, Ronik Khachatoorian, Brandon Lantino, David J. Li, and Anny-Claude Luissint), one Promoting Diversity in Science Trainee Travel Award (presented to Evan R. Delgado), one ICPI Trainee Travel Award (presented to Hanumantha Rao Madala), two Rojkind-Monga Trainee Travel Awards for Excellence in Liver Pathobiology Research (presented to Amanda M. Clark and Eric K. Kwong), and one Lawrence and Marion Muller Memorial Trainee Travel Award for Excellence in Neurodegeneration Research (presented to Shyanne Page). In 2016, the family of ASIP Past-President George Michalopoulos announced funding for the George K. Michalopoulos Junior Faculty Travel Award Program, which provides travel funds for junior faculty to attend PISA and other ASIP scientific meetings. For PISA 2017, two George K. Michalopoulos Junior Faculty Travel Awards were presented to Drs. Sonali Jindal and S. Wesley Long. A complete listing of all PISA 2017 travel awards can be found at In addition to these travel awards, poster awards were presented to Patrick David Wilkinson (GOLD), Hanumantha Rao Madala (SILVER), Zachary S. Wilson (SILVER), Kelly Ann Koral (BRONZE), and David Li (BRONZE).

At the conclusion of the scientific program on the first day of PISA 2017, a Gateway Clipper Dinner Cruise ( was provided for all meeting attendees. This dinner cruise provided participants with fantastic views of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas as the ship cruised each of Pittsburgh's three rivers (the Ohio River, the Allegheny River, and the Monongahela River). The dinner cruise was an outstanding social event that enabled networking among meeting participants while taking in the sights. A brief ASIP business meeting was held during the dinner cruise (moderated by ASIP President Dr. Dan Remick), and travel awards were presented to trainees and junior faculty. In addition, the Robbins Distinguished Educator Award ( was presented to Dr. Emanuel Rubin by ASIP Executive Officer Dr. Mark Sobel. Dr. Rubin has received several meritorious awards from the ASIP in the past, including the Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Award (now the Outstanding Investigator Award) in 1958, the Rous-Whipple Award in 1982, and the Gold-Headed Cane in 2008. Dr. Sobel's remarks highlighted Dr. Rubin's long and distinguished career as a leader in pathology education.

There is no question that PISA 2017 in Pittsburgh PA was a major success, and those of us that attended are enthusiastically looking forward to future meetings. PISA 2018 will be held in Ann Arbor MI and hosted by Dr. Chuck Parkos (former ASIP President) and the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan. The Organizing Committee for PISA 2018 is being finalized now and planning for the scientific program has already begun. The PISA 2018 program will include award lectures from recipients of the Rous-Whipple, Outstanding Investigator, Cotran Early Investigator, and Young Scientist Leaderhsip awards. Complete details for the meeting will be forthcoming soon. For now, everyone should look forward to traveling to Ann Arbor next Fall for PISA 2018.

Articles By Month

September 2017
November 2016 - Member to Member...PISA 2016
July 2016
June 2016 - President's Perspective. . .Looking Back, Looking Forward
April 2016 - President's Perspective. . .Scientific Mentorship
March 2016 - President's Perspective. . .Experimental Biology 2016
February 2016 - President's Perspective. . .Membership Outreach
January 2016 - President's Perspective. . .The American Journal of Pathology
December 2015 - President's Perspective...Educating the Next Generation of Experimental Pathologists
November 2015 - President's Perspective...Scientific Interest Groups
October 2015 - President's Perspective. . .Engaging the Membership
September 2015 - President's Perspective. . .Focus on PISA 2015
August 2015 - President's Perspective...The future of the field
July 2015 - President's Perspective...Looking to the Near Future