The biennial meeting of the American Society for Matrix Biology (ASMB), which was postponed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was held both in person at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch and virtually September 12-15, 2021. The event was well worth the wait!
“The meeting drew many more registrants that expected,” says Jeffrey Miner, PhD, FASN, Eduardo and Judith Slatopolsky Professor of Medicine and Director of basic research in nephrology at Washington University, who was Program Chair of the event. “There were approximately 120 in person attendees and 120 remote attendees.”
The sessions, highlighting the latest advancements in extracellular matrix biology research, were streamed live and are currently available for viewing by all registrants. Many of the invited speakers, especially those from Canada, Europe, and Asia, participated via Zoom. One attendee from Israel and one from Germany flew in just for the meeting. All attendees were vaccinated, and masks were required unless lecturing, eating, or drinking.
An emphasis of the meeting this year was to support the career development of junior faculty and trainees and to enhance the diversity within the matrix biology research community. Junior scientists co-chaired the 17 concurrent sessions and had access to mentoring and networking opportunities.
In addition, a new award, the Iozzo Trainee Award, was established for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who demonstrate outstanding contributions to the field.
The inaugural winner of the 2021 Iozzo Trainee Award for a graduate student was Sarah Lipp from Purdue University, and the winner in the postdoc category was Nandaraj Taye from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York.
Nikki Doughty, Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, of Washington University’s Institute for School Partnership, accompanied by 6 underrepresented minority high school students, lectured about the importance of diversity equity, and inclusion in STEM fields.
“The meeting was a great success and satisfied the hunger of many attendees for a live meeting,” says Miner. “There were many graduate students who had never attended a live scientific conference!”
During downtime from the meeting, approximately 25 members took part in an early morning 5K run/walk around the Arch grounds. In addition, there was a well-attended social event at Ballpark Village’s Crown Room overlooking Busch Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Miner, who will serve as President of the ASMB from January 2022-December 2023, is an internationally recognized researcher investigating diseases of the kidney glomerular basement membrane, including Alport syndrome. Genetic defects in the extracellular matrix cause the syndrome.
Read more about Miner’s recent research and accomplishments:
- Dr. Jeffrey Miner Awarded Alport Syndrome Foundation Grant
- Jeff Miner is First Recipient of Eduardo and Judith Slatopolsky Endowed Professorship