APSA Science Symposium Brings Yale School of Medicine and Duke Health Researchers to VCU

On Thursday, March 3, the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) sponsored a symposium titled, “Science in the Service of Human Health.” A brain child of the VCU chapter of the American Physician Scientist Association (APSA), the symposium brought together Clara Abraham, MD, associate professor of medicine (digestive diseases) for Yale School of Medicine, and Stuart J. Knechtle, MD, liver transplant specialist and pediatric liver transplant specialist for Duke Health.

An internationally recognized investigator, Abraham presented on “Perturbations of Intestinal Immune Homeostasis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” in Sanger Hall, Room 1-044. Simultaneously, Knechtle, whose research laboratory has been NIH-funded since 1992, presented his seminar titled, “Training Surgeon-Scientists,” in the Molecular Medicine Research Building, Room 1009.

After a brief lunch recess, Abraham and Knechtle came together for an intimate discussion on careers in translational research and their own pathways to discoveries.

Knechtle reflected on his experiences mentoring young students and seeing them mature into successful researchers.

“The research field and the funding associated with it are becoming lean,” Knechtle said. “It’s more important than ever that researchers be driven and motivated.”

Abraham stressed the importance of reevaluating research questions and what direction one’s findings are taking them.

She quoted Warren Buffett who once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

Using this quote, Abraham encouraged audience members to be persistent in their research and understand that rejection is a part of the research process.

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Clara Abraham, MD, associate professor of medicine (digestive diseases) for Yale School of Medicine
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Stuart J. Knechtle, MD, liver transplant specialist and pediatric liver transplant specialist for Duke Health
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Clara Abraham, MD (left) stands with Stuart J. Knechtle, MD (right) during the “Careers in Translational Research and Recent Findings” lecture.
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Sahar Lotfi-Emran, vice president of APSA and a student in the VCU School of Medicine’s M.D.-Ph.D. Program, poses questions about the investigator career path during the joint panel.

CCTR to sponsor Science in the Service of Human Health symposium March 3

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The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR) is sponsoring a science symposium hosted by the VCU chapter of the American Physician Scientist Association on Thursday, March 3.

Clara Abraham, MD, associate professor of medicine (digestive diseases) for Yale School of Medicine, and Stuart J. Knechtle, MD, liver transplant specialist and pediatric liver transplant specialist for Duke Health, will present on the role of immune perturbation in human disease and its clinical outcomes, the contributions that basic research can make towards understanding and treatment, and potential career paths that allow for the translational research needed to advance these fields.

In addition to individual lectures, Abraham and Knechtle will present a joint panel on “Careers in Translational Research and Recent Findings,” from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Kontos Medical Sciences Building’s auditorium. Refreshments will be provided.

Clara Abraham


Abraham will present her individual seminar titled, “Perturbations of Intestinal Immune Homeostasis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” on Thursday, March 3 from noon to 12:50 p.m. in Sanger Hall, Room 1-044.

Bio
: Abraham joined the gastrointestinal faculty and Human Translational Immunology center at Yale University in December 2007, where she continues to serve by contributing to MD-PhD admissions, teaching, supporting the advancement of women in medicine, and helping to direct the Human Translational Immunology steering committee and T32 grant. Her work spans from researching the role of LFA-1/ICAM-1 interactions in CD4+ T cell activation to innate immune mechanisms underlying inflammation in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS) such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis to use of GWAS in pathway analysis.

Stuart Knechte


Knechtle will present his seminar titled, “Training Surgeon-Scientists,” on Thursay, March 3 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Molecular Medicine Research Building, Room 1009.


Bio: Knechtle’s research laboratory has been funded by the NIH since 1992 and focuses on strategies to prevent organ transplant rejection. In particular, he is focused on immunologic tolerance strategies, monitoring of rejection, and strategies to prevent antibody-mediated rejection. Knechtle has led several clinical trials including research to treat autoimmune hepatitis and development of better liver preservation using machine perfusion. He has also helped develop new treatment protocols for liver cancer that benefit patients with cancer of the bile ducts.

Click here to register and be sure to visit www.apsa.vcu.edu for more details about the event.