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Early Investigator Experience at PReS

From Left: Yukiko Kimura, Hanna Kim, Rebecca Sadun,Grant Schulert,
Kelly Mieszkalski, Laura Schanberg, Rob Fuhlbrigge

Drs. Hanna Kim, Rebecca Sadun, and Grant Schulert were each selected for the CARRA-PReS Travel Award, which covers up to $2500 in travel expenses related to attending the Paediatric Rheumatology European Association (PReS) Annual Scientific Congress (September 14- 17, 2017) and the preceding Young Investigators Meeting (YIM)  (September 13-14, 2017), both in Athens, Greece.  At the YIM, all young investigators had the opportunity to present their research.  All three travel award winners also presented their research at the main PReS Scientific Congress.  In addition, on behalf of the CARRA Early Investigator (EI) group, Hanna Kim presented an overview of both CARRA and the CARRA EI group, including discussing opportunities for international member involvement in CARRA.

Drs. Kim and Sadun also represented the United States at the PReS Trainee Working Group, where they learned more about the newly formed group for PReS Trainee members called EMERGE (EMErging RheumatoloGists and rEsearchers).  One key new initiative they have developed is the PRES EMERGE fellowship, which provides financial support for a fellow from any country to visit an institution in Europe to gain additional training in a clinical or research domain; more information on this opportunity can be found at  EMERGE is also developing a mentorship program similar to CARRA’s AMIGO program.  READ MORE>>>

In addition, EMERGE is interested in developing several other initiatives, including an immunology “boot camp,” an interactive way to provide research/grant development support for young investigators, and a reciprocal travel scholarship to permit PReS early investigators to attend CARRA.  Attendees were intrigued to hear about CARRA’s experiences with the AMIGO program and the Aims page from grant proposal review available through the CARRA EI group.  The international audience of primarily European trainees and early investigators expressed significant interest in becoming CARRA members and opportunities to attend the next CARRA Annual Meeting.  Dr. Sadun noted, “The young investigators present were grateful for our participation and collaboration as they work to form support structures for pediatric rheumatology trainees world-wide.  We were glad to help CARRA be part of that conversation.”

Dr. Sadun presented her work on “Teaching adult rheumatology fellows to help young adult patients ‘stick the landing’ when transferring from pediatric to adult rheumatology care.”  Dr. Kim presented on “Novel serum broad-based proteomic discovery analysis identifies proteins and pathways dysregulated in juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM).” Dr. Schulert presented on “Single cell RNA-sequencing of bone marrow macrophages identifies a distinct subpopulation in systemic JIA with features of interferon response, endocytic vesicles and phagocytosis.”  Of note, Dr. Schulert was awarded the gold medal for best abstract by an early investigator.

All three early investigators reported appreciating the opportunity through the CARRA-PReS Travel Award to discuss their research with an international audience of peers and established researches, including sharing new ideas to improve the research and promote collaboration.  Dr. Kim stated, “It was a great opportunity to present my research to distinguished physician scientists from around the world, making connections with them face to face.”  According to Dr. Schulert, “This was an invaluable experience both to increase the visibility of my research, and to nurture collaborations with international partners.” Dr. Sadun added, “The PReS conference itself was wonderful, as was the opportunity to engage with other young investigators, from across the globe, who are dedicated to advancing the science that guides the field of pediatric rheumatology.”