Volume III, Issue 3: March 2022
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 has been a long winter, and I suspect you are looking forward to the spring, as I am.

Regional Meetings
This month will see AFMR's last two regional meetings for 2022:

Both the Western (January) and Southern (February) meetings had great in person attendance even though they were converted into hybrid meetings at the last minute. We congratulate Southern chair Alexander Philipovskiy, chair-elect Stephanie Baer, and secretary-treasurer Gaurav Agarwal for their commitment to accommodating both in-person attendees and those who were unable to travel.

Nominations Are Closed for 2022 AFMR National and Regional Elections
Nominations closed on February 25th for this year’s AFMR elections. Nominations are being reviewed now, and we look forward to a strong slate of candidates.

The only national position open is National Council president-elect. The Midwestern, Southern and Western regions will be electing a chair-elect and secretary-treasurer. The Eastern region will be choosing a chair-elect.

Ballots will be going out to members on March 25th with voting closing on April 8th.

More from AFMR President Samrat U. Das on Membership Changes/Benefits of Membership, DEI Update, National Awards, and Other News

National Council Waives Past Dues; Renew by March to Retain Your AFMR Benefits


The AFMR National Council understands that the past two years have been difficult for many members. So, it is waiving all past dues. AFMR membership is a great value. Dues are reasonable, especially for students, residents, and fellows.

The National Council is encouraging AFMR members to renew. Those who have not done so by March will lose their valuable AFMR benefits.

Renew today. Don't miss out on these great AFMR member benefits!

Subscriptions to AFMR's PubMed Indexed Journals

In-person Meetings Returned in 2022!*

National & Regional Leadership Opportunities

AFMR Mentorship Program (New! List of available mentors)

Eligibility to Apply for AFMR National & Regional Awards

Education & Communications Features


Still Time to Register for First Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference (Virtual)— Co-Sponsored by EAFMR & Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (ESPR)

There is still time to register for the First Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference, co-sponsored by the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research (ESPR). The event will take place virtually from March 10-12, 2022.

First Annual Eastern Medical Research Conference

Program features include:

Learn more and register.

National & Regional Elections Slated for March 25th - April 8th


The 2022 AFMR national and regional elections will take place between March 25th and April 8th.

New national and regional leadership will begin their terms on May 1, 2022.

AFMR members will be voting for National Council president-elect.

In addition, they will be able to vote for candidates for open positions in the region where they reside.

All active, associate and emeritus members will receive their ballot via email on Friday, March 25th. If you do not receive one, please contact AFMR.

Make your voice heard. Be sure to vote!

Photos from the Southern Regional Meeting

Southern Region junior faculty and trainee research honoree Southern Region junior faculty and trainee research honorees. View the list of Southern Region awardees.
After two years of virtual meetings, attendees got to see posters in person and mingle with other conference goers. After two years of virtual meetings, attendees got to see posters in person and mingle with other conference goers.
National and Southern regional leadership. L to r: Southern chair Alexander Philipovskiy, National Council president Samrat Das, Southern chair-elect Stephanie Baer, Southern secretary-treasurer Gaurav Agarwal, and National Council secretary-treasurer Viranuj Sueblinvong. National and Southern regional leadership. L to r: Southern chair Alexander Philipovskiy, National Council president Samrat Das, Southern chair-elect Stephanie Baer, Southern secretary-treasurer Gaurav Agarwal, and National Council secretary-treasurer Viranuj Sueblinvong.

Research!America's Virtual Advocacy Awards are March 16th; Register Today!


Research!America is holding its annual Advocacy Awards virtually on Wednesday, March 16th at 4:00 pm ET. The honors were created in 1996 to celebrate individuals and organizations whose leadership have advanced national commitment to medical, health, and scientific research.

View honorees.

This year’s event includes a new honor — the Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Awards — underwritten by Johnson & Johnson.

This year’s recipients of the awards include:


FASEB Webinar on Data Reuse Scheduled for March 17th


FASEB has scheduled a webinar “What is Date Reuse?” for Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 2:00 pm ET.

The webinar is the latest salon as part of FASEB’s DataWorks! program.

Data reuse is the “re-analysis of a dataset or a combination of different datasets for the purpose of answering the original research questions with a new method of analysis.”

Researchers from leading organizations — including Arizona State University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Stanford University — will discuss how data reuse is changing how they work.

To learn more about this important topic, register today.

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.

Science Daily: "Mapping Mutation ‘Hotspots’ in Cancer Reveals New Drivers and Biomarkers"

Science Daily

University of California San Diego researchers have found a previously unknown element in cancer evolution — clusters of mutations that exist in certain parts of the genome. The mutation clusters affect the progression of 10 percent of human cancers and can help predict patient survival.

The team works in the bioengineering and cellular and molecular medical lab of professor Ludmil Alexandrov at University of California San Diego. The work was underwritten by a Cancer Grand Challenge award from Cancer Research UK as well as National Institutes of Health, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Packard Foundation. The study was published in Nature.

"Clustered mutations have largely been ignored because they only make up a very small percentage of all mutations," said Erik Bergstrom, a bioengineering PhD student in Alexandrov's lab who was first author of the study. "But by diving deeper, we found that they play an important role in the etiology of human cancer."

Read the article to learn more.

MedicalNewsDaily: "Impact of Racial Discrimination and Income on COVID 19 Health Outcomes"


A recent review by The Lancet Regional Health — Americas has summarized evidence identifying the underlying factors for higher COVID-19 case, hospitalization and mortality rates for racial minorities (indigenous, Black, and Hispanic communities) and lower income individuals.

Structural inequities identified include:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare a hard truth about American society at large and the healthcare system in particular," said Dr. Cary Gross, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale University, in an interview with MedicalNewsDaily.

"We see large health inequities across race and ethnic groups not because of a single shock to the system (COVID-19) but because of the very nature of the system itself — it is working exactly as designed," he continued. "There is an entrenched hierarchy in which racism leads not only to differential wealth, but also differential power, prestige, and freedom. So differences across race groups in wealth and poverty are vital, but they don’t tell the whole story."

Read the article.

NIH Research Matters: "Poverty Reduction Alters Infant Brain Activity"


There has been some evidence that brain activity in children from low-income families tends to be more low frequency and less high frequency than those from families with a higher income. However, it was not clear whether poverty caused these changes in brain activity or whether they are just associated with other factors.

To determine the answer the “Baby’s First Year” study — a randomized controlled trial of poverty reduction in early childhood — was created. The research provided 1,000 low-income mothers of newborns with a cash gift in the first years of their children’s lives. The amount of the gift was random, either $333 or $20 a month. Mothers could spend the money in any way they wanted to.

The study is being led by Drs. Kimberly Noble of Teachers College, Columbia University, Katherine Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Greg Duncan of the University of California, Irvine. Their work is being funded, in part, by the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). First results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The recorded brain activity of 435 one-year old infants was studied. Those in the higher cash group showed higher frequency activity than those whose mothers received the smaller amount.

"All healthy brains are shaped by their environments and experiences, and we are not saying that one group has ‘better’ brains," said Dr. Noble. "But, because of the randomized design, we know that the $333 per month must have changed children’s experiences or environments, and that their brains adapted to those changed circumstances."

Read the article.

Science Daily: "Insight into the Genetics of Autism Offer Hope for New Drug Treatments"

Science Daily

Copy Number Variation is a phenomenon where small sections of DNA in the human genome are duplicated or deleted. Some of these changes cause neurodevelopmental problems and substantially increase an individual’s risk of developing disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and Tourette’s syndrome.

Scientists at Lancaster University in England have discovered how this genetic change impacts insulin signaling and glucose metabolism in the brain. They have determined that drugs to increase insulin signaling may be an effective autism treatment.

In the study, researchers found that deletion of the Neurexin1 gene reduces glucose metabolism in the prefrontal cortex, a region in the brain essential to higher level mental functions including cognitive flexibility and the ability to pay attention. Deletion in the gene also reduced insulin receptor signaling in the prefrontal cortex.

"There is an urgent need to further understand the underlying neurobiology of neurodevelopmental disorders in order to develop new treatments,” said Dr. Neil Lawson, lead researcher. “Drugs to help people with their cognitive and social problems are particularly urgently needed, as these symptoms dramatically impact on their quality of life."

The study was funded by The Royal Society

View the article.

New York Times: Black Patients Two and a Half Times More Likely to Be Described Negatively in Electronic Medical Records

New York Times

Two recent studies have found that Black patients are two and a half times more likely than Caucasian patients to be described as “noncompliant,” “non-adherent” or in other negative terms in electronic medical records .

The findings were discussed in “Doctors Are More Likely to Describe Black Patients as Uncooperative, Studies Find,” a recent article in the New York Times.

One study was based on analysis of more than 40,000 notes from patient charts of 18,459 adults at a large medical center in Chicago. Results were published in Health Affairs. The other study reviewed electronic health records of some 30,000 patients at a large urban academic medical center in 2018. Its findings appeared in JAMA Network Open.

The Times article quotes Dr. Dean Schillinger, director of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Not involved in either study, he noted “In medicine, we tend to label people in derogatory ways when we don’t truly ‘see’ them — when we don’t know them or understand them.” He continued, “The process of labeling provides a convenient shortcut that leads some physicians to blame the patient for their illnesses.”

Read the article and learn more about the issues exposed by the findings of the two studies.

NIH Research Matters: "Identifying Immune Cells for Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy"


A new type of cancer immunotherapy — adoptive cell transfer (ACT) — identifies rare immune cells in patient tumors capable of recognizing and possibly killing cancer cells. These cells are separated from the body, altered (or grown “as-is” in large amounts) and then returned to the bloodstream via infusion.

Researchers at NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) have been seeking out ways to identify tumor-infiltrating-lymphocytes (TILs) for ACT in a quicker, more efficient manner. Often TILs are T cells that are already in a tumor.

The study examined gene-expression profiles of T cells from specific types of solid tumors (including breast and colon cancers, melanomas). The team investigated whether the profiles could be used to find rare immune cells that recognize neoantigens — mutated protein found on cancer cells. They identified immune cell gene-expression signatures in various tumors and then researched whether the signatures could determine which T cells identify tumor neoantigen.

“These signatures may allow us to find the best cancer-fighting T cells without the need for exhaustive laboratory testing,” Rosenberg explained. “Such techniques could help advance the development and effectiveness of personalized cancer immunotherapies for patients whose cancers do not respond to standard treatments.”

The results were published in Science.

Learn more about the study.

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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American Federation for Medical Research

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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.


Serum cortisol concentration and COVID-19 severity: a systematic review and meta-analysis
✔ Editor's Choice
Nasrin Amiri-Dashatan, Mehdi Koushki, Negin Parsamanesh, Hossein Chiti

Original Research

Effect of bisphosphonate on hip fracture in patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia according to age: a meta-analysis and systematic review
✔ Key Article
Sichun Zhao, Wen Zhao, Dongpeng Du, Chunhao Zhang, Tao Zhao, Liwen Zheng, Leiming Jin, Minghao Gu, Junfeng Xu, Zhonghua Yang

Investigating the demands for mobile internet-based home nursing services for the elderly
✔ Key Article
Yu Gong, Jianyuan Zhou, Fang Ding

Influence of cigarette smoking on oral microbiota in patients with recurrent aphthous stomatitis
✔ Key Article
Xue Wang, Na Luo, Qili Mi, Weisong Kong, Wei Zhang, Xuemei Li, Qian Gao

Magnesium intake is associated with the metabolically healthy obese phenotype
✔ Key Article
Fernando Guerrero-Romero, Gerardo Morales-Gurrola, Lucía Preza-Rodríguez, Alejandra Gómez-Barrientos, Ana I Olivas-Martínez, Luis E Simental-Mendía http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jim-2021-001841

Acceptability of HIV testing for adolescents and young adults by delivery model: a systematic review
Peter Thomas Leistikow, Vidhi Patel, Christian Nouryan, Joseph Steven Cervia

Critical illness in patients with metastatic cancer: a population-based cohort study of epidemiology and outcomes
Lavi Oud

Brief Report

Hepatitis E virus infection in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients: a systematic review and meta-analysis
✔ Key Article
Angkawipa Trongtorsak, Natapat Chaisidhivej, Kritika Yadav, Jinah Kim, Charat Thongprayoon, Wisit Cheungpasitporn, Panupong Hansrivijit

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.

From a Machine Saw to a Case of Mycobacterium Fortuitum Pyomyositis
Pyomyositis is a bacterial infection occurring mainly in skeletal muscles. It is most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus with initial symptoms including muscle pain, swelling, and site tenderness. When available, the most accurate technique to determine the extent and the specific location of disease is the magnetic resonance imaging. Successful management includes early recognition, timely surgical debridement or drainage, and appropriate antibiotic therapy. This case report describes a case of Mycobacterium fortuitum pyomyositis in an elderly male associated with challenges of successful diagnosis.

A Rare Case of Ciprofloxacin-Induced Bradycardia Recognized by a Smartwatch
Fluoroquinolones are known to cause cardiac side effects. The most common are ventricular arrhythmias and QT prolongation. We present a case of symptomatic bradycardia secondary to ciprofloxacin use in a patient who presented to the hospital after a smartwatch alert for bradycardia. We believe that the integration of wearable technology in the practice of medicine could provide valuable data and improve patient care in different settings.

Cryotherapy: A Safe Approach to Pulmonary Hemorrhage During VV-ECMO
The number of hospitals with veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) capabilities is expanding. To support an ECMO program, centers must be equipped to handle associated complications such as pulmonary hemorrhage. We describe a case series of 4 patients with life-threatening pulmonary bleeding and central airway obstruction. A therapeutic approach of anticoagulation cessation coupled with cryoextraction via flexible bronchoscopy led to successful restoration of airway patency without any adverse events. A low threshold to stop anticoagulation with a strong consideration of bronchoscopy with cryotherapy for pulmonary toilet should be done in patients with pulmonary hemorrhage during VV-ECMO.

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

March 2022
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
April 2022
Experimental Biology
Experimental Biology 2022
April 2-5, 2022
Philadelphia, PA
Translational Science
Translational Science
April 20-22, 2022
Chicago, IL