UConn Health MD/PhD Student Recognized at National Scientific Meeting

UConn MD/PhD student and APSA President-Elect Alex Adami co-moderating the “Cool Tools and Forward Technology” plenary session of the AAP-ASCI-APSA Joint Meeting.
UConn MD/PhD student and APSA President-Elect Alex Adami (far left) co-moderating the “Cool Tools and Forward Technology” plenary session of the AAP-ASCI-APSA Joint Meeting.
UConn MD/PhD student Cliff Locke of the Yi Wu and Ji Yu laboratories presents his work on optogenetic interrogation of neuronal dendritic spine development at the AAP-ASCI-APSA Joint Meeting poster session.
UConn MD/PhD student Cliff Locke of the Yi Wu and Ji Yu laboratories presents his work on optogenetic interrogation of neuronal dendritic spine development at the AAP-ASCI-APSA Joint Meeting poster session.

The annual Joint Meeting of the Association of American Physicians (AAP), American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), and the American Physician-Scientists Association (APSA) brings together many of the nation’s most illustrious physician-scientists to celebrate advances in medicine and science.  Joining these prominent investigators are trainees from across the country, including several trainees from the UConn School of Medicine.  Through the support of the Center for Molecular Medicine and the MD/PhD Program, UConn MD/PhD students Alex Adami, Allie Goetjen, Jeremy Grenier, Cliff Locke, and Julia Svedova represented the university and shared their science with hundreds of other trainees and senior investigators.

This national meeting attracts trainees from leading laboratories and the most prestigious institutions, and UConn trainees were highly recognized and lauded by the meeting organizers.   This year, sixth-year MD/PhD student Alex Adami received a travel award from the ASCI and the AAP for his work on the microbiome and asthma, adding to the nearly half-dozen UConn trainees who have similarly received awards in the past five years.  All five students presented their science at the meeting poster sessions, sharing UConn research with Nobel Laureates, National Academies members, and leaders of biomedical research programs nationwide who comprise the elected senior membership of the ASCI and AAP.  According to Dr. Carol Pilbeam, director of the UConn MD/PhD Program, this is clear evidence of the quality of the science and training at UConn Health.  “The research our trainees undertake is as rigorous as that at any institution,” says Dr. Pilbeam, “and we are proud of the recognition our trainees receive on this national stage.”

One of the trainees, Adami, has helped plan and run the meeting for several years as a leader of APSA, the national association of physician-scientist trainees. Adami will oversee APSA in 2016-2017 as the president of the association, advocating for and working to improve the training of physician-scientists nationwide.  Adami continues a long line of UConn MD/PhD trainees with national leadership roles, including past members of ASPA’s leadership team and recent members of UConn’s chapter of the American Medical Association – Medical Student Section.

“The leadership role I’ve attained is a testament to the training provided by UConn and the caliber of students the MD/PhD Program attracts,” says Adami. “It has given me the experience to help plan a national meeting with senior physician-scientist leaders ranging from the chair of pathobiology at the Cleveland Clinic to the dean of the faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Hospital.”

“I am thrilled to be able to help sponsor these promising young investigators to attend the Joint Meeting every year” says Dr. Andrew Arnold, director of the Center for Molecular Medicine and head of the Office of Physician-Scientist Career Development.  “Our trainees are the future leaders of medicine and science, and to see some, like Alex, already taking a leadership role is a testament to the training and the science at UConn.”