ASBMR President’s Letter: Highlights of our Progress in 2013
These are challenging times for bone researchers. With dramatic cuts to the NIH budget in the US, outstanding research is not being funded. Decreased funding for research is occurring in many parts of the world, making it difficult for investigators in the bone field to continue their research. In fact, some have already been forced to find other professions or other fields of research, and the loss of established and new investigators is likely to only increase if the funding environment continues. There are those who think there is nothing that we can do to mitigate these events and that we should just let them run their course, which will certainly result in a ‘culling’ of the number of researchers in our field.
However, I am of the opposite opinion, that it is our responsibility as a Society to intervene to support outstanding researchers in our organization, be they young or established investigators. We need to do all we can to keep our best investigators in the field until better funding returns. ASBMR already supports many members with research grants, young investigator awards and travel grants to our own meetings as well as to meetings of other organizations. But we must do more to ensure that the greatest number of Society members possible survives the current funding crisis. ASBMR leadership is committed to this objective and is considering several initiatives, including providing additional research grants to members at all career levels. We welcome your ideas on how the Society can help members through this funding crisis.
Despite these challenges, absolutely phenomenal research is coming from a number of areas keeping the field vibrant and exciting. The new area of muscle and bone interactions, for example, shows great potential and may be an area of growth in our field and for our Society. I am pleased to report to you that the Society is making excellent progress on several new initiatives to accomplish the mission of the ASBMR and strengthen the three goals of the Society’s mission: to promote excellence in bone and mineral research, to foster integration of clinical and basic science, and to facilitate the translation of that science to health care and clinical practice, as I have outlined below.
ASBMR 2013 Annual Meeting
In light of the current research funding crunch, the Society leadership will not be increasing registration fees for members to attend this year’s Annual Meeting, even though costs are higher and other types of support have decreased. We hope this will allow more of you to attend this year’s meeting which is occurring October 4-7, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Also, we will continue to offer the young investigator travel grants.
Annual Meeting program co-chairs Laurie McCauley and Richard Eastell have been hard at work planning and creating a program that includes the most novel, cutting edge, outstanding science with application or potential application to our field. In response to attendee feedback, the program committee has reduced the number of concurrent oral sessions to two concurrent sessions (one basic, one clinical) in the morning and four concurrent sessions (two basic/ two clinical) in the afternoon. The committee has also added additional oral poster presentations before the poster sessions on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Other highlights at this year’s Annual Meeting include:
- Gerald D. Aurbach Lecture – Wnt/beta Catenin Signaling, Roel Nusse, Ph.D., Stanford University
- Louis V. Avioli Lecture – MicroRNA, Jane Lian, Ph.D., University of Vermont
- Symposia on Endocrine Functions of Bone, Inflammatory Bone Disease, Malignancy and Bone, Tissue Regeneration, FGF23, Sclerostin, Implementation of Clinical Guidelines, Novel Treatments for Bone Disease and Personalized Medicine
“Muscle Day” Prior to ASBMR 2013 Annual Meeting
New this year is the ASBMR Symposium: Cutting Edge Discoveries in Muscle Biology and Therapeutics. This special one-day symposium will be held on Thursday, October 3, one day prior to the ASBMR 2013 Annual Meeting. Co-organizers for the program are Karyn Esser and Kevin Conley. The program will focus on the cells of muscle and their role in regeneration, heterotopic ossification and fibrosis, the function of muscle beyond contractions such as role of circadian rhythms, and the functions of mitochondria, the relationships between muscle wasting and aging and chronic kidney disease, and potential anabolics and therapeutics for muscle wasting, frailty and sarcopenia. The abstract submission deadline for the ASBMR 2013 Annual Meeting was April 10, 2013. Abstracts submitted to the Annual Meeting in the muscle biology and muscle and bone interactions categories will also be considered for poster presentation at this one-day symposium.
Inaugural ICHTS-ASBMR International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Conference
ASBMR is pleased to co-sponsor the inaugural ICHTS–ASBMR International Chinese Musculoskeletal Research Conference (ICMRC) in Suzhou, China, May 21-23, 2013. The co-chairs for the meeting are X. Edward Guo, Lynda Bonewald and Huilin Yang. The co-organizers for this meeting include Xu Cao, Roberto Civitelli, and Ling Qin. Topics will include bone metabolism and osteoporosis, muscle and bone, spine, biomaterials and implants, musculoskeletal tissue repair, cartilage metabolism and osteoarthritis, tendon and ligament, stem cells and tissue engineering, biomechanics and mechanobiology, and bone tumors.
ASBMR Task Forces on Clinical Issues
The Society has launched several new task forces aimed at providing clarity on clinical issues related to bone that will better inform health care providers in the diagnosis and treatment of bone disease. These include:
- Task Force on Managing Osteoporosis Patients after Long Term Bisphosphonate Use – Co-chairsRobert Adler, M.D., and Nelson Watts, M.D.
- Task Force on Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Vertebral Augmentation – Co-chairs Peter Ebeling, M.D., FRCP, and Mary Bouxsein, Ph.D.
- Task Force on Cell-Based Therapies – A joint effort with the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) and International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS), co-chaired by Regis O’Keefe, M.D., Ph.D., Farshid Guilak, Ph.D. and Mats Brittberg, M.D., Ph.D.,
- ASBMR-NOF Task Force on Goals of Osteoporosis Treatment – Co-chairs Steve Cummings, M.D., Felicia Cosman, M.D. and Mike Lewiecki , M.D.
Improving the Identification and Management of Osteoporosis: A Curriculum for the PCP
A legacy of Keith Hruska’s efforts during his presidency will come to fruition this year and will help the Society realize its strategic goal to increase healthcare professional awareness of bone diseases. The Society has partnered with The France Foundation to launch performance improvement programs for primary care providers in the U.S. The initiative will present sessions on the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis at ten regional meetings and create robust online educational tools. Participating family physicians and internists will be able to obtain Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part IV credits related to osteoporosis care. Program planning is currently underway, with the first meeting scheduled for April.
The ASBMR continues to strive to identify means to support both new and established investigators. One means is to continue and increase travel awards not only to the ASBMR meetings but to sister societies as well. The ASBMR currently offers several funding opportunities and continues to strive to identify additional means of support. I am proud to play my part as ASBMR president to accomplish our mission to “promote excellence in bone and mineral research, to foster integration of clinical and basic science, and to facilitate the translation of that science to health care and clinical practice.” I thank our leaders and all members for your contributions to the Society and to our field of research.
Sincerely and best regards to you,
Lynda F. Bonewald, Ph.D.