Volume II, Issue 9: September 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

It's hard to believe that summer is almost over, and children are going back to school.

At the same time, it’s also difficult to process that we are in another spike of COVID cases spurned on by the Delta variant and issues around vaccines and masking.

All AFMR regional and national partner meetings are planned as in-person events at this time.
The date for the Midwestern Clinical and Translational Research Meeting has been set for March 3-4, 2022 in Chicago, IL. The Eastern Regional Meeting is still in the planning stages and an announcement of the dates and location will be made later this month.

The AFMR National Council has been continuing to work on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. It also has agreed to bring back the Henry Christian Awards to a place of national prominence, hoping to present the awards to honorees at one of AFMR’s national partnership meetings. In addition, the National Council has approved a bylaws template for the four AFMR regional sections. The updated bylaws — creating consistency in content — have been approved by the regional section councils.

The AFMR Virtual Education Series is starting up again this fall with a presentation entitled "Dementia in the Oldest Old." We encourage you to attend an offering in this series in the coming year, as well as take advantage of those in the archives from 2020.

More from AFMR President Samrat U. Das

Western Regional Meeting Abstracts Due September 24th, Registration Opening Soon

There's still time to submit an abstract to the Western Medical Research Conference. The deadline is Friday, September 24th at 11:59 pm PT. Learn more and submit.

The event will be taking place from January 20 -22, 2022 in Carmel, CA.

Western Regional Meeting

Abstracts submitted by AFMR members in good standing are eligible for the Henry Christian Award. Check to make sure your membership is current. Research travel award opportunities are also available.

Check back later in September for registration information.

Submit an Abstract to Southern Regional Meeting by October 8th, Register Today

The deadline for submitting abstracts to the Southern Regional Meeting is October 8th, 11:59 pm ET. Learn more and submit.

The conference will be taking place from February 10-12, 2022 in New Orleans, LA.

Southern Regional Meeting

Abstracts submitted by AFMR members in good standing are eligible for the Henry Christian Award. Check to make sure your membership is current. Research travel award opportunities are also available.

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

Virtual Education Series Returns September 23 —Dementia in the Oldest Old

Arjun V. Masurkar, MD, PhD Sakina Ouedraogo Tall, MD

The AFMR Virtual Education Series is returning this fall with a new presentation.

Join us on the September 23rd for:

Dementia in the Oldest Old
Thursday, September 23 at 4 pm ET
Arjun V. Masurkar, MD, PhD, NYU Langone Health
Sakina Ouedraogo Tall, MD, NYU Langone Health

Register today!

Check out the AFMR Virtual Education Series Archives

Virtual Education Series

Take advantage of presentations from the premiere year of the AFMR Virtual Education Series.

Offerings include:

Archive selections are open to AFMR members and the public.

A log in must be created to view the talks. Those who have already created one just need to sign in.

Submit to FASEB BioArt Scientific Image & Video Competition for Cash Prizes; Deadline: September 27th


FASEB is soliciting entries for its 10th Annual BioArt Scientific Image and Video Competition. Entries are being accepted through Monday, September 27th. For a decade, the competition has "celebrated the art of science, sharing the beauty and wonder of biological research."

The contest has three categories — Fluorescence or Electron Microscopy, All Other Life Science Images, and Video. FASEB has added first, second and third place cash prizes for each category.

Share you research by submitting your research images.

Learn more and submit today.

New AFMR Podcast: Recruiting/Enrolling Patients/Surrogates for Randomized Control Trials in ICU


AFMR has posted a new entry in its podcast series.

In August, Dr. John Dickinson, chair of the AFMR Publications Committee interviewed Dr. Dustin C. Krutsinger, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine — Division of Pulmonary, Critical and Sleep at University of Nebraska Medicine Center.

The subject of the podcast is Addressing Challenges in Recruiting & Enrolling Patients or Their Surrogates for Randomized Control Trials in the ICU.

Listen to the podcast.

Research!America National Health Research Forum: Fighting Health Threats Faster Forum September 13-15


Research!America is sponsoring The 2021 Virtual National Research Forum — Straight Talk: Fighting Health Threats Faster — which will take place online from Monday, September 13, 2021 to Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

COVID-19 has resulted in a "remarkable acceleration in research and development focused on the tests, treatments, and vaccines needed to combat the pandemic." It also exposed challenges that transcend the virus and hinder medical and public health progress.

What do leaders across the healthcare community think can be learned and modeled to help fight future health threats?

View event announcement.

Check out speakers and register.

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.

Washington Post: US Officials Have Loosened Controls on High-Risk NIH-funded Research that Could Cause Pandemics

Washington Post

In an exclusive article, The Washington Post shed light on the lessening of controls on “gain of function” experiments, which use supercharged pathogens. This despite concerns about lab leaks.

The piece explains "gain of function," the reason the practice is controversial, and why these techniques are used despite their risk.

The controls were loosened in 2017. Both NIH Director Francis Collins and Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have defended the policy — formally known as the "Framework" — for steering "gain of function" research.

Read the article, A Science in the Shadows, to learn more about the issue.

COVID: Children & Masking—Opinion from Authors of Duke University Study

Duke University School of Medicine
Duke Health

As schools open and the debate about masking for students continues to rage, an opinion piece by Duke University Drs. Kanecia Zimmerman and Danny Benjamin, Jr. in the New York Times discussed the issue of children and masking.

The two physicians ran a year-long study, which investigated the rate of new Covid cases, the efficacy of mitigation measures such as masking and the increased risks of participating in school-sponsored sports in North Carolina school districts and charter schools.

In the article, they state "Although vaccination is the best way to prevent Covid-19, universal masking is a close second, and with masking in place, in-school learning is safe and more effective than remote instruction, regardless of community rates of infection."

Read the opinion column.

COVID: Delta Variant; Potential New Strains


Some recently published pieces discuss the Delta variant and possible future COVID mutations.

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

On Twitter

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)

JIM is now an online only journal.

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


Diversity and Inclusion
Guest: Blake Busey MD, Chair, Council of Diversity and Inclusion,
Texas Tech University of Health Science El Paso, TX
September 1, 2021

Gastroparesis Awareness Month
Talk by JIM Editor-in-Chief Richard McCallum MD —
An expert in the field
August 31, 2021

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome
Guest: Oscar Armando Dorantes, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
August 18, 2021


Can the calcium-regulating hormones counteract the detrimental impact of pro-inflammatory damage-associated molecular patterns in the development of heart failure?
Satenik H Adamyan, Knarik R Harutyunyan, Hermine T Abrahamyan, Drastamat N Khudaverdyan, Souren Mkrtchian, Anna S Ter-Markosyan

Original Research

Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase, age, and immune activation in people living with HIV
Stephanie L Baer, Rhonda E Colombo, Maribeth H Johnson, Sushama Wakade, Gabriela Pacholczyk, Cheryl Newman-Whitlow, Stuart A Thompson, Michael S Saag, Jeffrey N Martin, Michelle Floris-Moore, Lei Huang, Andrew L Mellor

Coexpression of EphA10 and Gli3 promotes breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion and migration
Jing Peng, Danhua Zhang

Diagnostic efficacy of serum and urinary netrin-1 in the early detection of diabetic nephropathy
Rasha A Elkholy, Reham L Younis, Alzahraa A Allam, Rasha Youssef Hagag, Muhammad Tarek Abdel Ghafar

Preoperative vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of postoperative hypocalcemia after total thyroidectomy
Eun Ho Eunice Choi, Fares Qeadan, Eyas Alkhalili, Christina Lovato, Mark R Burge

Antidiabetic effect of Sophora pachycarpa seeds extract in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice: a statistical evaluation
Behnam Mahdavi, Toktam Hajar, Alireza Ghodsi, Majid Mohammadhosseini, Mohammad Mehmandost, Elahe Talebi

Risk associated with estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria for PAD among patients with type 2 diabetes
Chi-Feng Pan, Shih-Ming Chuang, Kuan-Chia Lin, Ming-Chieh Tsai, Wei-Tsen Liao, Yi-Hong Zeng, Chun-Chuan Lee

Gout as a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction: evidence from competing risk model analysis
Chia-Luen Huang, Tai-Wen Wang, Yong-Chen Chen, Je-Ming Hu, Po-Ming Ku, Chang-Hsun Hsieh, Chien-Hsing Lee, Feng-Chih Kuo, Chieh-Hua Lu, Cheng-Chiang Su, Jhih-Syuan Liu, Fu-Huang Lin, Yu-Ching Chou, Chien-An Sun

Letters to the Editor

Another new application of heparin in COVID-19: more than anticoagulation and antiviral
Xianqiang Yu

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.

A Case of Disseminated Coccidioidomycosis: When the Treasure Chest Wall Opened
Coccidioidomycosis is an infection caused by soil-dwelling fungi, Coccidioides, that are endemic to the southwestern United States, northern Mexico, and scattered areas of Latin America. It typically presents with pulmonary manifestations that resemble symptoms of bronchitis, pneumonia, and the flu. Extrapulmonary manifestations that involve the skin, lymph nodes, bones, and joints have also been well described, but disseminated coccidioidomycosis initially presenting as chest wall infection without pulmonary symptoms is not. In this article, we present a case of a 33-year-old man who presented with chest wall swelling and eventually diagnosed with chest wall abscesses due to disseminated coccidioidomycosis. We propose that consideration of disseminated coccidioidomycosis in nonresolving swelling, mass, lesions, or abscess especially in endemic areas for coccidioidomycosis and in travelers to the endemic area may prevent the progression and further complications of coccidioidomycosis.

Hold the Chemo! Leukostasis, a Presentation of Brown Recluse Spider Bite: A Case Report
Brown recluse spiders, also known as Loxosceles reclusa, are endemic to the Southwest and Central Midwestern United States. A bite from this spider can cause a range of clinical manifestations, anywhere from a painless papular lesion to life-threatening reactions. We report a possible spider bite presenting as leukostasis initially suspected to be acute leukemia. A 22-year-old female patient presented to the emergency department with confusion and right upper arm pain, redness, and swelling after a suspected spider bite. Initial labs showed WBC count of 103.5x10e3/µL, hemoglobin of 3.3 g/dL, positive Direct Coombs’ test, creatinine of 1.8 mg/dL, transaminitis, and lactic acid of 20 mmol/L. Acute leukemia with leukostasis was suspected. She was started emergently on hydroxyurea in conjunction with prophylaxis for tumor lysis syndrome. However, peripheral smear showed left-shifted granulocytosis with lymphocytosis, monocytosis, and no blast cells or evidence of myelodysplasia. Bone marrow aspirate showed mildly hypercellular marrow with myeloid hyperplasia and no myelodysplasia. Flow cytometry analysis confirmed a left-shifted myeloid maturation pattern with 0.3% myeloblasts. BCR-ABL1 and JAK2 testing was negative. Hence, she had no evidence of leukemia but rather had leukostasis from a spider bite. Hydroxyurea was stopped and follow-up labs normalized. Sphingomyelinase D in the brown recluse spider venom is unique to Loxosceles and Sicarius and may be responsible for the unique clinical presentation of loxoscelism. The presentation of hyperleukocytosis complicated by shock with an unclear history poses a diagnostic challenge. In diagnostic uncertainty, consider delaying chemotherapy until a diagnosis can be confirmed to avoid potential harm.

A Case of Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome/Toxic Epidermal Necrosis Overlap After Pembrolizumab Treatment
A 76-year-old man was admitted to our hospital with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), presenting with facial palsy, dysarthria, and dysphagia as Grade 3 immune-related adverse events (irAEs) due to pembrolizumab administration for Stage IV lung adenocarcinoma. Although prednisolone (1 mg/kg) was started for GBS due to the irAE, dark erythema and skin eruptions appeared on the patient’s torso. Then erosion was observed on 18% of the body surface area and skin biopsy was performed. Finally, the patient was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrosis overlap. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy was started, and the skin symptoms improved, with the erosion becoming epithelial. He died of aspiration pneumonia related to GBS, although his neurological symptoms had improved after steroid and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. This is the first reported case of pembrolizumab-induced GBS and Stevens–Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrosis overlap. It is necessary to be careful that the possibility of other severe irAEs may occur simultaneously.

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 2021

AFMR 2022 Meeting Dates

Meeting dates for 2022 AFMR Regional and Affiliate Meetings are chronologically listed below.

Dates are not yet set for the Eastern Regional Meeting. Check this section monthly for updates.

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
Abstract Deadline: September 24, 2021
Carmel, CA
February 2022
Southern Regional Meeting
Southern Regional Meeting
February 10-12, 2022
Abstract Deadline: October 8, 2021
New Orleans, LA
March 2022
Midwestern Clinical & Translational Research Meeting
Midwestern Clinical & Translational Research Meeting
March 3-4, 2022
Chicago, IL
April 2022
Experimental Biology
Experimental Biology 2022
April 2-5, 2022
Philadelphia, PA
Translational Science
Translational Science
April 20-22, 2022
Chicago, IL