PISA2022 - Young Investigators Virtual Meeting

By William B. Coleman, PhD, ASIP Executive Officer

“PISA” has become an important component of the scientific meetings offered by the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) on an annual basis. “PISA” is an acronym for Pathobiology for Investigators, Students, and Academicians. The PISA meetings were designed as stand-alone meetings for the ASIP membership, to supplement the Annual Meeting that was held during the annual Experimental Biology meeting. The first PISA meeting was held in 2015 in Baltimore, MD. Subsequent meetings were held in 2016 (Houston, TX), 2017 (Pittsburgh, PA), and 2018 (Ann Arbor, MI) and hosted by members of the ASIP leadership and their departments/institutions. In 2020, PISA was scheduled to take place in Boston, MA, hosted by several of the Harvard institutions, but the COVID19 pandemic interrupted our plans for an exceptional face-to-face meeting. Instead, the ASIP held its first virtual meeting—PISA2020 . While it was extremely disappointing to miss traveling to Boston for the meeting, shifting the meeting to a virtual platform prepared the Society for the intervening pandemic years and additional virtual meetings (including Experimental Biology 2021).

PISA2021 was a special meeting in that it was the first Young Investigators Virtual Meeting. The goal of the PISA2021 Meeting was to highlight the excellent research being conducted by trainee members of the ASIP and to provide the meeting to ASIP members free of charge. Forty-two abstract submissions with trainee members (undergraduates, predoctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows) as first author were received and programmed. All forty-two abstracts were scheduled for short talks across six scientific sessions that touched major topics of research conducted by ASIP members (cancer pathobiology, neuropathology, infectious diseases, vascular pathobiology, inflammation and immunopathology, epithelial and mucosal pathobiology, and liver pathobiology). Each scientific session also featured a keynote lecture by a senior member of the ASIP. The keynote lectures were used to memorialize prominent members of the Society that had recently passed away. The overall format employed for PISA2021 worked very well—we heard excellent research presentations from both faculty and trainees, and all of the sessions were very well attended. With the success of the PISA2021 Young Investigators Virtual Meeting, it was decided to make this an annual virtual event to provide another high-profile venue to highlight the research accomplishments of our trainee members.

The PISA2022 Young Investigators Virtual Meeting was organized by a Planning Committee composed of young investigators. Dr. Vik Meadows served as Chair of the Planning Committee and put great energy into the process of pulling the meeting together (see Dr. Meadows’ Welcome Message). The other members of the Planning Committee include Debjyoti Kundu, Jaiece Glover, Danielle Kozlosky, Dr. Nathaniel Lartey, Joud Mulla, and AdePeju Oshodi. You can learn more about the individual members of the PISA2022 Planning Committee on the website. The Planning Committee was involved in all aspects of organizing the meeting, including identifying and inviting the keynote speakers for each of the scientific sessions. Many thanks to this group of enthusiastic young investigators for putting this meeting together!

The PISA2022 Young Investigators Virtual Meeting is a partnership with The Histochemical Society (HCS) and the American Society for Matrix Biology (ASBM), and is supported by sponsorship from Elsevier, The American Journal of Pathology (AJP), and 10X Genomics. We welcome our colleagues from the HCS and ASMB to this meeting and we thank our sponsors for supporting our young investigators.

The PISA2022 Meeting will be held September 28–30, with two scientific sessions each afternoon—running from 12:30–5:30 p.m. EST each day. The scientific sessions are focused on (i) liver pathobiology, (ii) neuropathology and ocular pathobiology, (iii) infectious diseases and gene expression, (iv) cancer pathobiology, (v) cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, and (vi) gastrointestinal pathobiology. The six scientific sessions will feature abstract-driven short talks by young investigators, as well as a memorial keynote speaker from an independent investigator. Thirty-six abstracts were received and programmed for PISA2022, including four from undergraduate researchers (some of which participated in the ASIP Summer Research Opportunity in Pathology Program), twenty-three from predoctoral students, and nine from postdoctoral fellows. The corresponding abstracts reflect strong science and were published online in AJP.

We thank each of the keynote lecturers for their participation in the meeting. Dr. Jessica Maiers from the Indiana University School of Medicine will deliver the Nelson Fausto Memorial Keynote Lecture entitled Deciphering the Role of the Unfolded Protein Response in Hepatic Fibrogenesis during Session One on Wednesday, September 28th.  Dr. Jose Otero from The Ohio State University will deliver the Ruth Kirschstein Memorial Keynote Lecture entitled Neuropathology of Autonomic Dysfunction during Session Two on Wednesday, September 28th. Dr. Patrice Mimche from the University of Utah will deliver the Robert E. Stowell Memorial Keynote Lecture entitled EphB/EphrinB Signaling in Pathological Organ Fibrosis during Session Three on Thursday, September 29th. Dr. Huocong Huang from the University of Texas Southwestern will deliver the Henry C. Pitot Memorial Keynote Lecture entitled Mesothelial Cell-derived Antigen-Presenting Cancer-associated Fibroblasts in Pancreatic Cancer during Session Four on September 29th. Dr. Huang represents the ASMB. Dr. Roberto Mota Alvidrez from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will deliver the Tucker Collins Memorial Keynote Lecture entitled Smooth Muscle Cells and Platelets: A Toxic Yet Crucial Relationship in Diabetic Vasculopathy during Session Five on Friday, September 30th. Dr. Mota Alvidrez is a member of the HCS Council in addition to being an ASIP member. Finally, Dr. Ronen Sumagin from Northwestern University will deliver the Ramzi S. Cotran Memorial Keynote Lecture entitled Emerging Neutrophil Functions in Gut Inflammation and Colon Cancer during Session Six on September 30th.

In addition to the scientific sessions, PISA2022 will feature career development sessions of interest to young investigators at various stages of training (separate registration is required). On Tuesday, September 27th at 6 p.m. EST there will be an ASIP Virtual Trainee Hangout with discussion of the topic of Making Tough Decisions in Your Career: How to Find the Right Lab and Mentor. This session will be hosted by Dr. Alex Sougiannis, Dr. Daisy Shu, and Dr. Michelle Alves, with special guest Dr. Roberto Mota Alvidrez. On Thursday, September 29th from 10–11 a.m. EST the topic will be: How to Obtain Funding. This session will be moderated by Corinn Marakovits and will include contributions from Dr. George Perry, Dr. Elaine Bearer, Dr. Daisy Shu, and Dr Staci Weaver. On Friday, September 30th from 10–11 a.m. EST) the topic will be: PhD to Postdoc Transition. This session will be moderated by Janiece Glover and Dr. Vik Meadows and will include contributions by Dr. Daenique Jengelley, Dr. Lauren Walker, Dr. Nathaniel Lartey, and Dr. Kristen Engevik. Many thanks to the PISA2022 Planning Committee and members of the ASIP Committee for Career Development for organizing these sessions for the benefit of our young investigators.   

Registration for the PISA2022 Young Investigators Virtual Meeting is free of charge for ASIP members! We encourage all of our members to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to see some of the exceptional research being conducted by our young investigators, as well as the great science that will be presented by the keynote lecturers. Registration links for members and non-members can be found on the PISA2022 website. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!