Volume II, Issue 12: December 2021
American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR) Insights
AFMR Website Meetings/Events Calendar Submit a JIM manuscript Follow AFMR on Twitter


Samrat U. Das, MD, AFMR President
Samrat U. Das, MD
AFMR President

Happy holidays to you and your families! Wishing you much joy as you celebrate.

The country is in a much more positive place in the COVID pandemic than we were a year ago. Unfortunately, we still face challenges with potential variants and getting more of our population vaccinated. On the other hand, seeing children 5-11 years old being inoculated is such a positive development.

AFMR has had its accomplishment and challenges this year as well.

One achievement we are particularly enthusiastic about is the upcoming First Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference. This new collaboration between the AFMR Eastern Section (EAFMR) and the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (ESPR) should greatly expand the Eastern regional conference. The event will be held virtually March 10-12, 2022 with abstracts due by January 5, 2022. Hopefully, this year’s event will be one of many more to come with an in-person meeting starting in 2023. Our thanks to Eastern Section leadership and AFMR meeting manager Taylor Baumgartner for making this happen.

Learn more about AFMR achievements in 2021, as well as those challenges we will face in 2022 below.

Learn more About AFMR Accomplishments & Challenges

First Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference (Virtual) — Co-sponsored by ESPR —Slated for March 10-12, 2022

The Eastern Section of AFMR is proud to announce the First Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference, co-sponsored by the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (ESPR).

The event will be virtual, running from March 10-12, 2022.

First Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference

Abstract Deadline: January 5, 2022.

Submit today!

All accepted abstracts will be published in the April supplement of the Journal of Investigative Medicine (JIM), the official journal of the AFMR.

Learn more about the conference and speakers.

Western Regional Meeting Discount Registration Ends January 8th; View Preliminary Program

The Western Medical Research Conference is taking place January 20 -22, 2022 in Carmel, CA.

Partner societies include the Western Society for Pediatric Research (WSPR), Western Association of Physicians/Western Society of Clinical Investigation (WAP/WSCI) and the Western Students & Residents Medical Research Forum (WSMRF).

Western Regional Meeting

The preliminary program is now online.

Registration is now open. Registration discount ends January 8, 2022. Register today!

Midwestern Regional Meeting Abstract Submissions Close December 12th; Submit Now!

There's still time to submit an abstract to the AFMR Midwest Clinical and Translational Research Meeting. The conference will be taking place in Chicago from March 3-4, 2022.

Abstract Deadline: Sunday, December 12, 2021, 11:59 pm CT

Learn more and submit.

Midwestern Clinical & Translational Research Meeting

AFMR members whose abstracts are chosen for presentation are eligible for the Henry Christian Award. Check to make sure your membership is current. Research travel award opportunities are also available.

Register today! Online registration closes February 20, 2022.

Southern Regional Meeting — February 2022 in New Orleans; Register Early

The Southern Region Meeting will be taking place February 10-12, 2022 in New Orleans, LA.

Co-sponsors include the Academic Pediatric Association, Southern Section American Federation for Medical Research, Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, Southern Society of General Internal Medicine, and Southern Society for Pediatric Research.

Southern Regional Meeting

Registration is now open. Pre-registration ends on February 7, 2022. Register today!

The preliminary program is coming soon! Check the website later this month.

AFMR Outstanding Investigator & Junior Physician-Investigator Awards; Submit before January 15th


AFMR members have until January 15, 2022 to apply for an AFMR national award.

The two AFMR honors are the:

Both awards are open to current AFMR members. Check to determine the status of your AFMR membership.

AFMR will honor the 2022 winners at Translational Science 2022, which is scheduled for April in Chicago.

More About the Outstanding Investigator & Junior Physician-Investigator Awards

FASEB DataWorks! Salon December 14 — Subject: Data Management Plan Challenge


This fall, FASEB introduced a new initiative — DataWorks! — focusing on "accelerating and enhancing research discoveries through data sharing and reuse."

The project's goals include:

One component of the initiative is a salon series fostering community conversations exploring data reuse barriers and solutions.

Next FASEB DataWorks! Salon — Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm ET (virtual).

Subject: Data Management Plan Challenge — Data Management Plans (DMPs) are integral to ensuring that “…data are collected, organized, stored, and shared responsibly.” The salon responds to the need for first-rate examples of DMPs and celebrates excellence in the management and sharing of biomedical and biological data.

Learn more and register.

Research!America Receives $5 Million Endowment to Create "Outstanding Achievement in Public Health" Awards


Research!America has received a $5 million endowment from Johnson & Johnson to create Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Awards. This new honor will be presented annually during the organization’s Advocacy Awards program. This year's event will take place on March 16, 2022.

Honorees for this new award will be:

Learn more.

Health Equity Grants & Funding Opportunities from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC)


The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) states it is dedicated to "...advancing medical education to meet society’s evolving needs; making patient care safer, more affordable, and more equitable; and sustain the discovery of scientific advances."

It does so in four primary mission areas: medical education, healthcare, medical research, and community collaborations.

As part of its research/community engagement initiative, AAMC provides a list of health equity grants and funding opportunities. The list is updated weekly.

NIH Research Matters: "Common Drug May Have Potential for Treating Alzheimer's Disease"


A medication approved by the FDA for high blood pressure and swelling — bumetanide — may have potential for treating Alzheimer’s Disease.

The gene APOE is the greatest risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's. Individuals with one copy of a specific form of this gene — APOE4 — have their risk of the disease increased by three to four times; the risk is raised to 14-times in those with two copies of the gene.

The research was performed by Marina Sirota, MD (University of California, San Francisco) and Yadong Huang (Gladstone Institutes) with the support of the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Bumetanide has been shown to reduce Alzheimer's symptoms in mice. A study of electronic health records of individuals who had received the drug determined that there was a lower prevalence of Alzheimer's in patients who had taken the medication.

These findings indicate the bumetanide deserves further study.

Learn more.

MedicalNewsToday: "In Conversation: The Neurocognitive Impact of Long COVID"


In a special feature and podcast, MedicalNewsToday spoke to two researchers and a patient living with "neuro-COVID" — long COVID with serious neurological and neurocognitive problems.

The article discusses:

Read the article and listen to the podcast.

Washington Post: "White and Asian American Patients Overrepresented in Cancer Trials"

Washington Post

Advances in cancer care are leading to precision oncology — the development and conducting of cancer treatment based on the molecular makeup of tumors. Treatments based on the patient’s individual cancer are seen as having potential for better outcomes.

However, a recent study has determined that clinical trials to develop these treatments are not representative of the total patient population.

A group of Boston-area researchers reviewed the government’s clinical trial registry focusing on breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers. They looked at demographic data for 6,000 participants in 93 precision oncology trials and found a lack of representation of Black and Hispanic enrollees.

Generally, the number of Caucasian participants was 35 percent higher; Asian American enrollment was 46 percent higher. There were 24 percent fewer Hispanic and 49 percent fewer Black enrollees. Disparities were even higher for specific cancers.

Researchers determined that one reason for the disparities might be mistrust and barriers to care. They noted that to reach proportional enrollment, education will be necessary for potential enrollees and bias training will be desirable for researchers.

Read more..

NIH Research Matters: "A Targeted Antibiotic for Treating Lyme Disease"


Lyme disease, caused by a bacterium from tick bites — Borelliella burgdorferi — impacts nearly a half million Americans annually.

Currently, Lyme disease is treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics that kill not only B. burgdorferi, but also good bacteria in the body. This can result in damage to a patient's gut microbiome and "select for resistance in nontarget bacteria."

Researchers at Northeastern University, led by Dr. Kim Lewis, searched for an antibiotic that would only kill B. burgdorferi They concluded that compounds that can do so might exist in the natural world and screened samples from 450 soil bacteria. Researchers found one that had potential to kill B. burgdorferi specifically —an element from the extract hygromycin A — an antibiotic discovered in 1953. It can kill B. burgdorferi without affecting gut and other bacteria.

The study was supported by the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Learn more.

MedicalNewsToday: "Crohn's and the Second Brain: Study Identifies Serotonin as Trigger"


A study from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada has found a link between serotonin, autophagy and the gut microbiome. The research suggested that a high level of serotonin could be partially to blame for inflammation in chronic gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn's — one of two major types of irritable bowel disease (IBD).

Autophagy is the process the gut uses to clean out damaged or dying cells. The study found that increased serotonin levels may prevent this process from occurring, changing the composition of gut bacteria. This results in inflammation and more severe gut disease.

Autophagy dysfunction is also linked to diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Learn more.

Join the AFMR Social Media Team

AFMR is taking its social media footprint to the next level

AFMR is taking its social media footprint to the next level.

We need social media savvy members to help us promote AFMR national and regional news and events, our journals, and member news.

Become a member of the new AFMR Social Media Committee, chaired by Ricardo Correa, MD, AFMR Western chair elect. We’re looking for representation from all AFMR regions.

As a social media committee member, you’ll help plan the AFMR social media approach and be part of the posting team for one of the AFMR platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook). And your participation in a national-level AFMR committee will be a good addition to your resume!

Send us an email if you're interested.

Be Part of the AFMR Conversation: Connect on Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook

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AFMR Publication Highlights

Journal of Investigative Medicine (JIM)

Journal of Investigative Medicine (JIM)

JIM is now an online only journal.

Announcing JIM's COVID Collection: Articles from the JIM archive on pandemic-related research.


COVID 19 Vaccines in Children & Pregnancy
Guest: Sonja A. Rasmussen, Professor University of Florida College of Medicine and College of Public Health and Health Professions November 22, 202


Efficacy and cardiovascular safety of LAMA in patients with COPD: a systematic review and meta-analysis✔ Editor's Choice
Chuchu Zhang, Meng Zhang, Yalei Wang, Huaiyu Xiong, Qiangru Huang, Tiankui Shuai, Jian Liu http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001931

Complications of nasal SARS-CoV-2 testing: a review
James H Clark, Sharon Pang, Robert M Naclerio, Matthew Kashima https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001962

Original Research

Biomarker-based score for predicting in-hospital mortality of children admitted to the intensive care unit
Yin Zhang, Qingxia Shi, Guochao Zhong, Xun Lei, Jilei Lin, Zhou Fu, Jihong Dai http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001855

Risk of stroke and other thromboembolic complications after interruption of DOAC therapy compared with warfarin therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation: a retrospective cohort analysis
Moran Hellerman Itzhaki, Noam Greenberg, Ili Margalit, Tzippy Shochat, Ilan Krause, Elad Goldberg http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2020-001497

Physician adherence to acute rhinosinusitis antibiotic treatment guidelines
Esther Levi, Ohad Ronen http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001934

Clinical and serological associations of autoantibodies in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus
María Correa-Rodríguez, Gabriela Pocovi-Gerardino, Jose Luis Callejas-Rubio, Raquel Ríos-Fernández, María Martín-Amada, María-Gracia Cruz-Caparrós, Blanca Rueda-Medina, Norberto Ortego-Centeno http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001887

Behaviors, symptoms, and outcomes of North American patients with autoimmune hepatitis during the COVID-19 pandemic
Vahin Vuppalanchi, Kayla Gelow, Kelsey Green, Raj Vuppalanchi, Craig Lammert https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001871

Predictors of misperceptions, risk perceptions, and personal risk perceptions about COVID-19 by country, education and income
Tanzim Bhuiya, Richard Klares III, Madellena A Conte, Joseph Steven Cervia https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001835

Brief Report

Variation in clinical characteristics, outcomes, and mortality of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 during the second wave of the pandemic: a single-center experience
Mohsin Sheraz Mughal, Ikwinder Preet Kaur, Chang Wang, Reem Alhashemi, Alvin Buemio, Chandler D Patton, Kenneth M Granet https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001876

Letters to the Editor

Correspondence on 'Role of AMPK/mTOR-independent autophagy in clear cell renal cell carcinoma' by Radovanovic et al
Shahrokh Lorzadeh, Saeid Ghavami http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-002015

Response to: Correspondence on ‘Role of AMPK/mTOR-independent autophagy in clear cell renal cell carcinoma' by Lorzadeh et al
Milan Radovanovic, Sasenka Vidicevic, Jelena Tasic, Nina Tomonjic, Zeljka Stanojevic, Predrag Nikic, Aleksandar Vuksanovic, Zoran Dzamic, Uros Bumbasirevic, Aleksandra Isakovic, Vladimir Trajkovic http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-002081

Journal of Investigative Medicine High Impact Case Reports (JIM-HICR)

JIM — High Impact Case Reports

Check out JIM-HICR's new COVID-19 Collection of cases focusing on pandemic-related issues.

The Progression of Celiac Disease, Diagnostic Modalities, and Treatment Options
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder that affects genetically predisposed individuals who are sensitive to gluten and related proteins. It affects children and adults with increasing prevalence in the older age groups. Both adaptive and innate immune responses play role in CD pathogenesis which results in damage of lamina propria and deposition of intraepithelial lymphocytes. There are other proposed mechanisms of CD pathogenesis like gastrointestinal infections, intestinal microbiota, and early introduction of gluten. The diagnosis of CD is based on clinical symptoms and serological testing, though a majority of cases are asymptomatic, and small intestinal biopsies are required to confirm the diagnosis. Celiac disease is generally associated with other autoimmune diseases, and it is advisable to test these patients for diseases like type 1 diabetes mellitus, Addison’s disease, thyroid diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune hepatitis. The patient with a new diagnosis of CD requires close follow-up after starting treatment to see symptom improvement and check dietary compliance. A newly diagnosed patient is advised to follow with a dietitian to better understand the dietary restrictions as about 20% of patients stay symptomatic even after starting treatment due to noncompliance or poor understanding of diet restrictions. The most effective treatment for CD is a gluten-free diet but work on non-dietary therapy is in process and few medications are in the clinical trial phase.

When You "Can't See" a Case of Relapsing Polychondritis
Relapsing polychondritis (RP) is a rare and, if not treated, potentially lethal autoimmune disorder. Involvement of central nervous system (CNS) in RP is rare and, when present, makes it extremely difficult to diagnose. In this report, we present a case of a 22-year-old Hispanic woman who presented with sudden onset of headache and blurred vision. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of her brain and orbit showed leptomeningeal enhancements in addition to asymmetrical thickening and enhancement of globes. Her lumbar puncture was consistent with aseptic meningitis picture, and she was placed on empirical treatment for presumptive CNS tuberculosis. Her vision deteriorated, and she was diagnosed with RP with CNS and ocular involvement and placed on high-dose steroids with dramatic rapid response. She has been on immunosuppressive treatment, including Sulfasalazine and Methotrexate, since then and her disease has been under control with decreased need for ophthalmic steroid drops. There have been only 19 previous cases found in literature reporting an association of RP with CNS involvement.

Asymptomatic Hyperinsulinemic Hypoglycemia and Grade 4 Intraventricular Hemorrhage in a Late Preterm Infant
Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (HH) has the potential to cause acute neurologic dysfunction and neurodevelopmental impairment. Parieto-occipital neuronal injuries have been reported in hypoglycemic infants, but intraparenchymal hemorrhage is rare. On day 5 of life, a late preterm infant was transferred to our care with recurrent asymptomatic hypoglycemia. Prior to arrival, plasma glucose levels were at a median of 1.25 mmol/L (22.5 mg/dL) in the first 6 hours of life, and he required a glucose infusion rate (GIR) of 22.6 mg/kg/min. Hyperinsulinism was confirmed in the presence of detectable insulin, low ketones, and fatty acid when hypoglycemic. A left grade 4 intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) was noted in the cranial ultrasound scan during the workup for sepsis on the day of admission. However, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain on day 7 of life revealed extensive bilateral IVH. On day 9, he was initiated on diazoxide, and HH resolved within 48 to 72 hours, allowing increment of feeds while weaning GIR. Ventricular drain for post-hemorrhagic ventriculomegaly was advised but not performed. At 3 months, post-hemorrhagic ventriculomegaly was stable, and there were early signs of neurodevelopmental delay. After discontinuing diazoxide at 4 months of age, he passed an 8-hour fasting study confirming the resolution of HH. Severe hypoglycemia has been associated with cerebral hyperperfusion in preterm infants and potentially could cause IVH. Close monitoring and prompt intervention in preterm infants to prevent severe hypoglycemia are paramount. In addition to long-term neurodevelopmental follow-up, infants with recurrent hypoglycemia may benefit from neuroimaging and thereby early intervention if required.

World Health Organization (WHO) COVAX Website Provides Updates/News on International Vaccine Progress

World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a dedicated COVAX website providing information on country vaccine readiness and delivery, workstream, FAQs, updates, data and more.

COVAX is a partnership of CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), GAVI (The Vaccine Alliance), and the WHO. UNICEF serves as a vaccine delivery partner. The PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) Revolving Fund is COVAX’s recognized procurement representative in the Americas.

The site also includes the latest news about international vaccine distribution through the COVAX network.

View the website.

Global Research on Coronavirus

World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a dedicated page devoted to global research on coronavirus, which includes a global research database.

Updates on COVID Therapeutics/Vaccine Research


Latest updates:



Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

News and information on COVID-19 is constantly changing.

The Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center includes separate pages covering:

Its Interactive Map is updated throughout the day.
COVID-19 Interactive Map

AFMR 2022 Meeting Dates

Meeting dates for 2022 AFMR regional and affiliate meetings are chronologically listed below.

Visit the AFMR website to get the latest on 2022 AFMR meetings and events.

Theo Trandafirescu, MD, VP of Meetings & Programs
Theo Trandafirescu, MD
VP of Meetings & Programs

January 2022
Western Regional Meeting
Western Regional Meeting
January 20-22, 2022
Carmel, CA
February 2022
Southern Regional Meeting
Southern Regional Meeting
February 10-12, 2022
New Orleans, LA
March 2022
Midwestern Clinical & Translational Research Meeting
Midwestern Clinical & Translational Research Meeting
March 3-4, 2022
Abstract Deadline: December 12, 2021
Chicago, IL
1st Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference
1st Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference
Co-sponsored by the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (ESPR)
March 10-12, 2022
Abstract Deadline: January 5, 2022
April 2022
Experimental Biology
Experimental Biology 2022
April 2-5, 2022
Philadelphia, PA
Translational Science
Translational Science
April 20-22, 2022
Chicago, IL