Volume II, Issue 5: May 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
This is my first column as AFMR president. I am honored to being serving in this role, working with national and regional leadership and members.

I would like to start by thanking outgoing AFMR president Janice P. Dutcher for all her hard work in the past year, a task made more difficult by COVID-19 and AFMR’s need to adjust accordingly.

In addition, I would like to acknowledge the service of Peter Wiernik as AFMR Secretary-Treasurer, Cherry Wongtrakool as Vice President of Meetings and Programs, and Amir Zeki as Publications Committee Chair. Dr. Wiernik will be continuing in national leadership as a Councilor-at-large. Other leadership leaving the National Council include past president Suthat Liangpunsakul and councilor-at-large Allison Reiss. We appreciate their commitment and work on behalf of the organization.

I want to congratulate newly elected and appointed national and regional leadership, some of whom served in leadership positions on AFMR regional section councils during the past year. And l look forward to working with the 2021-2022 regional section chairs Lora Kasselman (Eastern), Alexander Philiopovskiy (Southern), Sidharth Mahapatra (Midwestern), and Melanie Cree-Green (Western).

More from AFMR President Samrat U. Das


AFMR congratulates new national and regional leadership.

The election process ended on April 9, 2021 with AFMR membership being informed of new electees/appointees on April 21. New terms began on May 1, 2021.

National Council


Attaya Suvannasankha, MD President-elect: Attaya Suvannasankha, MD
Dr. Suvannasankha previously served as chair of the AFMR Midwest Section Council. She is associate professor of medicine at the University of Indiana School of Medicine and Myeloma Clinic Director at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN.
Viranuj Sueblinvong, MD Secretary-Treasurer: Viranuj Sueblinvong, MD
Dr. Sueblinvong previously served as chair of the AFMR Southern Section Council. She is assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical and Sleep Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.

President-elect candidate Theo Trandafirescu, MD has graciously agreed to serve as Vice President of Meetings & Programs.

Theo Trandafirescu, MD Vice President of Meetings & Programs: Theo Trandafirescu, MD
Dr. Trandafirescu previously served as chair of the AFMR Eastern Section Council. He is associate professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Queens Hospital Center, Astoria, NY.

Meet All the AFMR 2021-2022 National & Regional Leadership

AFMR Virtual Education Series Announces May & June Offerings

Virtual Education Series

The AFMR Virtual Education Series has announced its spring slate of presentations. During May and June, there will four (4) webinars.

The series is free for AFMR members and non-members, alike. Feel free to share webinar information with colleagues. Registration is required.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Eastern/2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Pacific
Scientists on Social Media: Claiming the Digital Space
Armand Krikorian, MD
University of Illinois at Chicago/Advocate Christ Medical Center

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm Eastern/1:00 pm-2:30 pm Pacific
Writing in the Sciences
Kristin Sainani, PhD
Stanford University

Registration is now open for May events.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Time TBD
Building a Peer Mentorship Program
Kristen Nadeau & Jane Reusch
University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus

Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Time TBD
How to Write a Manuscript (Part II): Results & Conclusions
Richard McCallum
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Investigative Medicine

Learn more.

Eastern Region Meeting Highlights

This year's virtual Eastern Regional Meeting had 68 attendees, more than the number of participants in 2019. Abstracts were also higher than in 2019, although a little below the 2020 figure.

Eastern Regional Meeting

Held over one day, it included 32 abstract presentations, 31 posters presentations, and seven invited speakers for five sessions.

Presentation recordings will be available soon.

Top presentations included:

Publishing, Case Reports, and Career Development
Michael McPhaul, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Investigative Medicine - High Impact Case Reports (JIM-HICR)

Keynote: The Future of PAH – Emerging Trials, Therapies, Devices and Treatment
Roxana Sulica, MD
Associate Professor, New York University, New York, NY
(One CME credit)

Tocilizumab: A New York City COVID-19 Experience
Merjona Saliaj, MD, MPH
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Queens Hospital, New York, NY

Preoperative Evaluation for Geriatric Population
Moderated by Sakina Ouedraogo Tall, MD

Nathaniel Smilowitz, MD

Sakina Ouedraogo Tall, MD

Sanjit Konda, MD

All participants were from NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY

Midwestern Region Meeting Goes Virtual Over Five Days

The 2021 Midwest Clinical and Translational Research Meeting took place virtually over five afternoons from April 12-16 for three and one-half hours each day.

This year's meeting attendance outstripped 2019 attendance figures (last in-person meeting), however abstracts were down from both 2019 and 2020.

Midwest Clinical & Translational Research Meeting

Each day included three poster sessions, 30 on each day, as well as invited panels and lectures. Wednesday through Friday, there were concurrent mentoring/networking Happy Hour sessions.

Academia Collaborations with Industry — Lessons for the Future

S. Sethu Reddy, MD
Central Michigan University
Cleveland, OH

AFMR also sponsored two career development workshops, which have been refigured into webinars for the AFMR Virtual Education Series.

Scientists on Social Media: Claiming the Digital Space
Armand Krikorian, MD
Advocate Christ Medical Center
Oak Lawn, IL

Join us on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 (5:00 pm-6:00 pm ET/2:00 pm-3:00 pm PT)

Writing in the Sciences
Kristin Sainani, PhD
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Join us on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 (4:00 pm-5:30 pm ET/1:00 pm-2:30 pm PT)

Article in Nature: Scientists Like Virtual Meetings per Poll; Hybrid Meetings Pose Challenges


As AFMR regional section councils begin to deliberate different options for the format of 2022 meetings, a March article in Nature discusses a poll of 900 readers regarding the future of scientific conferences.

The survey results found that 74 percent felt that “…scientific meetings should continue to be virtual, or have a virtual component, after the pandemic ends.” Virtual meetings allow more participants to join without the cost of travel. The article also covers the challenges of virtual meetings due to the lack of personal interaction and networking.

Read the article.

FASEB Responds to NIH Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion RFI


FASEB has responded to a NIH RFI inviting comments and suggestions to "advance and strengthen racial, equity, diversity and inclusion in the biomedical research workforce and advance health disparities and health equity research."

In its April 6 answer, FASEB emphasized numerous tools for achieving NIH's goals:

FASEB also requested that NIH continue to evaluate current pilot programs aimed a diversity in science and interact more with extramural stakeholders.

View the full FASEB response.

Research!America Advocacy Awards May 13th; Free Registration

Research!America is holding its 25th Anniversary Advocacy Awards honoring 2021 and 2020 honorees on Thursday, May 13, 2021 from 4 - 6 pm ET. Virtual event registration is free.

Research!America is holding its 25th Anniversary Advocacy Awards honoring 2021 and 2020 honorees on Thursday, May 13, 2021 from 4 - 6 pm ET. Virtual event registration is free

Special guests

2021 Advocacy Award Honorees

2021 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Honorees

Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Award
Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director — National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases

Building the Foundation Award

Meeting the Moment for Public Health Award

Clear Voice Award

Learn more and Register.

John Dickinson is New AFMR Publications Committee Chair

John Dickinson, MD, PhD

John Dickinson, MD, PhD is the new chair of the AFMR Publications Committee. He previously served as chair-elect of the committee. Dr. Dickinson will also take over as the editor of AFMR Insights, the organization's monthly newsletter.

A former AFMR Midwest Section Councilor, Dr. Dickinson is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and Associate Director of UNMC's Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program.

Dr. Dickinson stated that his goal for the committee is to "support AFMR by continuing to expand on the breadth and depth of its journals, podcasts, and newsletter to better achieve the organization's mission — to develop and mentor tomorrow's leaders in medical research."

Amir Zeki, MD, MAS For the past three years, the Publications Committee has been under the able leadership of Amir Zeki, MD, MAS who was previously an AFMR president (2015-2016). Dr. Zeki will continue to serve on the committee as past chair for the 2021-2022 term.

Join the AFMR Conversation: Connect on Twitter & LinkedIn

AFMR Research

AFMR Research
Journal of Investigative Medicine

Journal of Investigative Medicine

On LinkedIn

American Federation for Medical Research

American Federation for Medical Research

AFMR Publication Highlights

Journal of Investigative Medicine (JIM)

Journal of Investigative Medicine (JIM)

As of January 2021, JIM is an online only journal.

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


Parkinson's Awareness Month
Guest: Ghazala Hayat, MD, St Louis University, St. Louis, MO
April 28, 2021

Role of topical tacrolimus in the management of proctitis, perianal manifestations in Crohn’s disease, and chronic pouchitis: a systematic review
George Salem, Kai Ding, Atsushi Sakuraba, Russell Cohen

Original Research
Outcomes of atrial fibrillation hospitalizations in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: a report from the national inpatient sample
Mavi Maureen Rivera Pavon, Anoj Shahi, Emmanuel Akuna, Iriagbonse Rotimi Asemota, Abdul Wahab Arif, Andrea Torres, Mahmoud Elbermawy, Genaro Velazquez, Muhammad Usman Almani, Muhammad Usman, Karol Quelal, Mohammad Waqas Bashir, Pius Ehiremen Ojemolon, Precious Obehi Eseaton

Coexisting psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for patients with inflammatory bowel disease: an analysis of the National Inpatient Sample database
Ehizogie Edigin, Jennifer Asotibe, Precious Obehi Eseaton, Olukayode Ahmed Busari, Ikechukwu Achebe, Asim Kichloo, Shakeel Jamal, Axi Patel

Knockdown of BAG3 synergizes with olaparib to kill ovarian cancer cells via repressing autophagy
Kexin Wang, Jianhua Zheng

Hemogram as marker of in-hospital mortality in COVID-19
Alejandro López-Escobar, Rodrigo Madurga, José María Castellano, Santiago Ruiz de Aguiar, Sara Velázquez, Marina Bucar, Sara Jimeno, Paula Sol Ventura

Brief Reports
Higher heparin dosages reduce thromboembolic complications in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia
Claudio Carallo, Fabiola Pugliese, Elisa Vettorato, Cesare Tripolino, Livia Delle Donne, Giovanni Guarrera, Walter Spagnolli, Susanna Cozzio

Long-term progression-free survival of patients with metastatic melanoma or renal cell carcinoma following high-dose interleukin-2
Joseph I Clark, Brendan Curti, Elizabeth J Davis, Howard Kaufman, Asim Amin, Ajjai Alva, Theodore F Logan, Ralph Hauke, Gerald P Miletello, Ulka Vaishampayan, Douglas B Johnson, Richard L White, Peter H Wiernik, Janice P Dutcher

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.

Methadone-Induced Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia Complicated by Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy in a Malnourished Patient
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (TC) is a syndrome characterized by acute and transient regional systolic myocardial dysfunction. TC often mimics myocardial infarction without obstructive coronary disease. We present a case of a 48-year-old woman who developed TC following the onset of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in the setting of methadone intoxication.

Lupus Cerebritis Refractory to Guideline-Directed Therapy: A Case Report
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that affects multiple organs and organ systems, subsequently requiring an elaborate regimen for management. We present the case of a 63-year-old female who developed unrelenting symptoms of drug-induced lupus, which persisted even after the offending agent was withdrawn, unmasking her underlying systemic lupus erythematosus. She continued to develop neuropsychiatric symptoms, including mania and hallucinations, which complicated the management of her disease. After exhausting the bank of anti-inflammatory and immunomodulators recommended by current guidelines, we found that a combination of rituximab infusions with thiothixene, an antipsychotic agent, significantly improved our patient’s neuropsychiatric symptoms. Further research should be conducted to determine the efficacy of rituximab in the treatment of resistant lupus cerebritis, and to validate the use of thiothixene in the management of neuropsychiatric symptoms secondary to lupus.

Primary Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Scrotum: An Uncommon Site for a Rare Tumor
Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are a heterogeneous group of tumors developing from neural crest cells, with numerous sites of origin, commonly the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts. NETs of the genitourinary tract are more common in women. Small cell carcinoma of the prostate or testicular carcinoid are the NETs in male. In this article, we present a rare case of NET of the scrotum. Our patient was a 47-year-old male with a history of complicated pilonidal cysts resulting in chronic scrotal wounds. Biopsy of a large nonhealing scrotal wound revealed a high-grade neuroendocrine carcinoma with features most suggestive of small cell carcinoma. Presenting with advanced disease at diagnosis, he was started on systemic therapy and unfortunately progressed through multiple lines of treatment, including CAPTEM (capecitabine and temozolomide). Unfortunately, due to multiple logistical reasons, the patient was unable to receive the then off-label immunotherapy based on DART (Dual Anti-CTLA-4 and Anti-PD-1 Blockade in Rare Tumors) trial. He, unfortunately, succumbed to his disease within months of diagnosis.

Global Research on Coronavirus

World Health Organization (WHO)

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

The page includes links to:

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 now includes a vaccine tracker, as well as separate pages covering:

Its Interactive Map is updated throughout the day.
COVID-19 Interactive Map 2021

AFMR 2022 Meeting Dates

AFMR 2022 meetings are currently in the planning stages.

Visit the AFMR website to get the latest updates on 2022 AFMR meetings and events.
Theo Trandafirescu, MD, VP of Meetings & Programs
Theo Trandafirescu, MD
VP of Meetings & Programs