Looking Back at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the ASIP

By William B. Coleman, PhD, ASIP Executive Officer

The 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) was held in Salt Lake City at the Grand America Hotel from October 22-25, 2023, in conjunction with the American Society for Matrix Biology (ASMB) and The Histochemical Society (HCS). This joint meeting – our first since the end of the Experimental Biology meeting era – was branded Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology. The partnering Societies were joined by a number of guest Societies, including American Physician Scientist Association (APSA), Society for Cardiovascular Pathology (SCVP), Society for Toxicologic Pathology (STP), the Italian Society of Pathology and Translational Medicine (SIPMeT), The Marfan Foundation, The Osteoathritis Research Society International (OARSI), and The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS).

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Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology was attended by 549 scientists from the United States and 18 other countries. Attendees for the United States represented institutions from 39 states and Puerto Rico. The meeting was attended by 149 trainees, most of which were PhD students, medical students, MD-PhD students, or postdoctoral fellows, but also included undergraduates and a few high school students. 182 ASIP members were in attendance, along with 185 members from ASMB and HCS (including quite a few with membership in more than one of the partnering Societies). In addition, 205 non-member individuals attended the meeting. We hope that the positive experience by the non-members will encourage them to join one or more of the partnering Societies. Attendees submitted 268 abstracts which were published in The American Journal of Pathology online. The abstracts were programmed into poster sessions (with presentations on Monday and Tuesday of the meeting), and abstract-driven talks were incorporated into numerous sessions.

The overall design of the joint meeting was coordinated by a Joint Program Committee composed of representatives from each of the partnering Societies. The ASIP representatives included Dr. Robin Lorenz (current President), Dr. Kari Nejak-Bowen (current Program Committee Chair), and Dr. Jon Homeister (former Program Chair and current Secretary-Treasurer). This group began planning the meeting in the Fall of 2021, and we appreciate their individual and collective contributions to the overall success of the meeting.

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Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology featured joint programming each day of the four-day meeting. On Sunday, October 22, there was an opening joint plenary session that featured a welcome from the presiding Presidents of each of the partnering Societies (provided by Dr. William A. Muller for the ASIP), and award lectures from awardees from each of the Societies. Dr. William Stetler-Stevenson (NCI/NIH) delivered the ASIP Rous-Whipple Award lecture entitled TIMPs: Emerging Roles in Tissue Homeostasis and Cancer Progression. The opening joint plenary session was followed by a Keynote Lecture by Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD (Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute) who delivered a lecture Disease-Specific Changes in Extracellular Matrix and Targeted Drug Delivery. On Monday, October 23, the joint plenary session was on the topic of Fibrosis Across Organ Systems. The joint plenary session for day 3 (Tuesday, October 24) was on the topic of Cellular and Extracellular Mechanisms in Atherosclerosis, and the joint plenary for day 4 (Wednesday, October 25 was on the topic of Cancer Progression and Metastasis. We appreciate the contributions of Dr. Bethany Hannafon, Dr. Jon Homeister, and Dr. Andrei Ivanov for co-organizing and co-chairing these sessions along with ASMB and HCS members. In addition to these major plenary sessions, additional joint symposia were held during the meeting. Members from the ASIP and HCS collaborated on sessions on (i) Lung Fibrosis, (ii) Liver Fibrosis: Mechanisms and Signaling Pathways, and (iii) Cell-Cell Interactions in Inflammation. These multi-society joint plenary sessions and symposia represented a major strength of the overall scientific program and reflected the synergy between ASIP, ASMB, and HCS members with respect to scientific interests and research.

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The ASIP-specific scientific program was developed by the ASIP Program Committee. Major sessions featured topics related to neuropathology, liver pathobiology, cancer pathobiology, cardiovascular pathobiology, mucosal pathobiology, vascular biology, gene expression in cancer, extracellular vesicles in disease, infectious disease, breast cancer. A number of these sessions were organized and facilitated by ASIP Scientific Interest Groups, including Breast Cancer, Gene Expression, Infectious Disease, Liver Pathobiology, Neoplasia/Growth Regulation, Neuropathology, Ocular Pathobiology, Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis, and Vascular and Mucosal Pathobiology. Many of the scientific sessions were chaired or co-chaired by trainee members, all of which did a great job in moderating the sessions.

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Special scientific sessions during Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology included the President’s Symposium and the Meritorious Award Lectures. The ASIP President’s Symposium was organized by Dr. William A. Muller (Northwestern University) on the topic of Regulation and Consequences of Transendothelial Migration. The session featured talks by Dr. Muller, Dr. Minsoo Kim (University of Rochester), Dr. Tanya Mayadas (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School), and Dr. Charles Serhan (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School). Meritorious award lectures were delivered by (i) Dr. Peter Howley (Harvard University) – 2023 Gold-Headed Cane Award lecture entitled HPV and Cancer, (ii) Dr. William Stetler-Stevenson (NCI/NIH) – 2023 Rous-Whipple Award lecture entitled TIMPs: Emerging Roles in Tissue Homeostasis and Cancer Progression, (iii) Dr. Qin Yan (Yale University – 2023 Outstanding Investigator Award lecture entitled Epigenetic Control of Cancer Metastasis and Immune Evasion, (iv) Dr. Ronen Sumagin (Northwestern University) – 2023 Cotran Early Career Investigator Award lecture entitled Neutrophil Phenotypic and Functional Plasticity in Gut Inflammation and Colon Cancer, and (v) Dr. Roberto Mota Alvidrez – 2023 Young Scientist Leadership Award lecture entitled Unique and Novel Role for Smooth Muscle Cell ABCA in Cholesterol Efflux in Atherothrombosis. The Young Scientist Leadership Award lecture was delivered in a session that also featured abstract-driven presentations from the ASIP Trainee Merit Award recipients, including Dr. Kristen Engevik (Baylor College of Medicine), Dr. Xing-Sheng Ren (Northwestern University), Taylor Uselman (University of New Mexico), Janiece Glover (Medical University of South Carolina), and Brandon Lehrich (University of Pittsburgh). Meritorious awards were also bestowed on Dr. Cliff Harding (Case Western Reserve University), Dr. Jennifer Sanders (NIH), and Dr. Linda McManus (University of Texas San Antonio). Dr. Harding received the 2023 Robbins Distinguished Educator Award. Dr. Jennifer Sanders received the inaugural 2023 Marilyn G. Farquhar Early Career Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Advancement of Women in Experimental Pathology, and Dr. Linda McManus received the inaugural 2023 Frieda Robscheit-Robbins Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Advancement of Women in Experimental Pathology. We congratulate all of these meritorious awardees and the Junior Faculty Scholar Awardees and Trainee Scholar Awardees as well.

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The meeting in Salt Lake City, the ASIP supported 16 trainees through the PathFinders meeting mentoring program. This program provides a meeting mentor for trainees (or other early career investigators). Meeting mentors provide guidance to their mentees regarding navigation of the meeting program and events and provides introductions to other Society members. Special thanks to all of the ASIP members that contributed time and effort to support the PathFinders program at Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology: Dr. Veronica Contreras-Shannon (St. Mary’s University), Dr. Dennis Jones (Boston University), Dr. Paul Monga (University of Pittsburgh), Dr. Diane Bielenberg (Boston Children’s Hospital), Dr. Mindy Engevik (Medical University of South Carolina), Dr. Jon Homeister (University of North Carolina), Dr. Zhengping Hu (Harvard Medical School), Dr. Robin Lorenz (Genentech), Dr. Bethany Hannafon (University of Oklahoma), Dr. Andrew Duncan (University of Pittsburgh), Dr. Daisy Shu (University of New South Wales), Dr. Pilar Alcaide (Tufts University), Dr. Traci Parry (University of North Carolina – Greensboro), Dr. Evan Delgado (University of Pittsburgh), Dr. Ian Cartwright (University of Colorado Anschutz), and Dr. Patricia D’Amore (Schepens Eye Research Institute).

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The scientific program for Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology was enhanced by sessions developed by the ASIP Education Committee and ASIP Committee for Career Development. On day 1 (Sunday, October 22), Dr. Andrew Duncan (University of Pittsburgh) and Dr. Pilar de la Fuente (Sanford Research) chaired the popular Trailblazer session highlighting the career journey of ASIP members. This year’s Trailblazer session featured young investigators (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and new faculty members), including Dr. Vik Meadows (Rutgers University), Taylor Uselman (University of New Mexico), Dr. Nakisha Rutledge (University of Chicago), Dr. Fran Carrillo-Salinas (Tufts University), Janiece Glover (Medical University of South Carolina), Dr. Michele Alves (Ohio State University), Dr. Daisy Shu (University of New Southwales), Dr. Ramon Ramos (Albany Medical College), Dr. Daisy Shu (University of New South Wales), and Joud Mulla (University of Pittsburgh). In addition to these short talks, there was a Trainee Highlights Poster Session featuring 20 posters from graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. On day 2 (Monday, October 23), Taylor Ticer (Medical University of South Carolina) and Dr. Pat D’Amore (Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye & Ear, Harvard Medical School) chaired a session entitled We Have to Talk: Navigating Challenging Conversations. This session addressed several scenarios that characterize the difficult conversations that often occur in the research setting and featured roleplaying by the session chairs and Dr. Greg Tsongalis, Dr. Wendy Mars, Dr. Diane Bielenberg, Dr. Paul Monga, and Dr. Daisy Shu. On day 3 (October 24), Dr. Wendy Mars (University of Pittsburgh), Dr. Julie Randolph-Habecker (Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences), Dr. Dan Milner (American Society for Clinical Pathology), and Dr. Michele Alves (The Ohio State University) chaired a session entitled Picking Your Mentors and Minding Your Mentees. This session focused on the need for mentees to assemble a group of mentors to fulfill various mentoring needs during their education and professional development and included some case studies to illustrate best practices for mentor-mentee relationships. On day 4 (October 25), Dr. Daisy Shu (University of New South Wales) and Dr. Traci Parry (University of North Carolina – Greensboro) chaired a session entitled Elevate Your Communication Skills: A Masterclass in Verbal and Visual Communication. This session utilized a professional vocal coach to guide the audience through various exercises that can improve communication with others, whether interacting with an audience or smaller groups of people.

The ASIP Women in Pathology organized a meet-the-expert session on the topic of Scholar Publishing and Scientific Communications. This session was co-chaired by the Women in Pathology leadership: Dr. Pilar Alcaide (Tufts University), Dr. Traci Parry (University of North Carolina – Greensboro), Dr. Nakisha Rutledge (University of Chicago), and Dr. Fran Carrillo-Salinas (Tufts University). The session featured Dr. Martha Furie (Editor-in-Chief for The American Journal of Pathology), Dr. Chhavi Chauhan (ASIP Director of Scientific Outreach), and Dr. Liliana Schaefer (Editor-in-Chief for The American Journal of Physiology). During the panel discussion, the featured speakers talked about the challenges of working in scientific publishing and how they attained their current positions.

The 2023 Annual Meeting of the ASIP during Tissue, Matrix, and Pathobiology in Salt Lake City was a fantastic success with an exceptional scientific program and associated career development sessions and educational events. The meeting also featured ample opportunities for members to network and socialize in the beautiful setting of the Grand America Hotel. The post-meeting survey clearly indicated that attendees were extremely satisfied with the meeting and the opportunities it afforded to expand and advance their science.

We look forward to the 2024 Annual Meeting of the ASIP – Pathobiology 2024 – April 20-23, 2024 – in Baltimore MD at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Register for the meeting and submit your abstracts today!