As we prepare to say goodbye to 2021, we can look back on another successful year of growth and impact for the IFMRS, with new member organizations, stronger links with industry and strategic partners, a growing body of digital resources, new opportunities for engagement through digital communications, and important strides in the area of international education in particular.
We continue to be guided by our Strategic Plan's three pillars of Network, Knowledge, and Influence, underpinned by our Values: scientific excellence and rigor; diversity, equity, and inclusivity; global collaboration; and transparency.
One of the things that we’re planning for 2022 is a second virtual event focused on education, aimed at producing a genuinely global action plan based on recommendations from various thematic working groups which we have convened. We are also planning some new activities focused on bridging the knowledge gaps in rare musculoskeletal conditions. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the Rare Bone Disease Summit organised for next month, which I’m delighted to be on the steering committee for.
Digital communications underpin so much of what we do, and our Digital Communications Officer, Kris Kaleta (who took over from Zachi Brewster in July) is speaking to the communications leads of several of our member organizations about how we can both improve our overall communications and share IFMRS activities more systematically across our membership.
An important part of being effective across a range of functions involving lots of people is having a digital “hub” for information to be captured, widely shared, and easily accessed. We’re excited to say that we are about to launch a new internal hub for the IFMRS community on Discord, which is a very easy and reliable platform for information-sharing. We are going to send an email out to our members very soon with information on how to join and use the Discord IFMRS platform, so keep your eyes out for this, and please try it out at your earliest convenience – to the extent that forging connections is central to much of our work, it’s important that as many of us as possible are regularly using the same key information channels. Kris is also preparing a short video tutorial to walk you through everything.
We are a democratic federation, dedicated to equity and transparency. In order to improve our governance and also the quality and quantity of strategic discussion across our membership, we have reviewed our governance structure to make it more effective and participatory. Subject to AGM ratification, from the 16th of December the IFMRS will have a new Board of nine democratically-elected members, and a new Council where each Full Member organization will have one representative of their choice. The Council will be the key forum for strategic discussions and will provide guidance to the Board, which will retain oversight and be responsible for the fiduciary aspect of the IFMRS as an organization.
Finally, we are saying goodbye to two very influential people who have been mainstays of two key areas of our work over recent years, and who are now stepping down as chairs of their respective committees. Karl Lewis (USA; ORS), who is this month’s guest blogger, is stepping down as Chair of our Future Global Leaders Committee, while Mark Forwood (Australia; ANZBMS), who is a previous guest blogger, is stepping down as Chair of the International Education Committee. Both have made a huge contribution to the work of the IFMRS, and we are very grateful to them for all their work and their leadership in these areas. I have also greatly enjoyed working with both of them, and wish them both all the very best.
Science is a social pursuit
Karl J. Lewis
Assistant Professor Cornell University,
stepping down as a Chair of Future Global Leaders Committee
The near-ubiquitous response I get after telling people I started a tenure track position amid a global pandemic is “oh… that must be really difficult” or something to a similar effect. At first, I didn’t understand; my unfamiliarity with the trials and rigors of early academic life impeded proper context. Moreover, I think navigating the early stages of a professorship would be a gargantuan task even in utopic conditions. Research tenure track professors must embody excellent managerial skills, scientific creativity, pointed writing acumen, and be a wizard at personal stress management. In my opinion, it’s one of the best jobs in the world precisely because of the varied demands; I can’t think of anything else I would want to be doing right now. It is for this reason precisely that I feel compelled to name the difficulty many of us have experienced recently.
Science is, at its core, a social pursuit. The classic Dr. Doolittle quirky and reclusive scientist trope has roots in reality for sure, but the life’s breath of scientific discovery comes from sharing it with the world. Inspiration often comes from conversations or events that occur outside of the lab (e.g. Archimedes in the bath, Newton under an apple tree). It was here that I realized one of the major challenges my colleagues alluded to. As a new faculty existing in near-complete isolation from the broader community, I felt a stifling of my own creative abilities for the first time ever. Like the rest of the world, I had to think outside of the box to foster connection and community. One unexpected gift was the interactions with my graduate students. The fresh perspectives they brought to learning about our work generated fertile ground for new ideas and interesting research questions. From this challenge I learned more about why I like the job, specifically how rewarding working with students can be.
I don’t want to create an exhaustive list of difficulties in getting started here. A lot of them are common and intuitive, either through the lens of starting a faculty position or traversing the upside-down world over the last year and a half. I share the example above as a reminder to make time every now and then to take stock of these sorts of scenarios in your own experiences. How were things difficult? How did they affect you and how did you cope? What were the takeaways? I feel fortunate that one of my takeaways was a passion for building strong communities. Obligatory shameless plug, we use intravital imaging methods to study musculoskeletal mechanobiology in rodent models with an interest in understanding cell signaling changes in acute disease to better understand progression mechanisms. Sharing this pursuit has created connections within my group, in my department, and in the broader scientific community. I have also had the opportunity to work with the IFMRS as a member and chair of the Future Global Leaders committee over the last two years. We have worked to expand the musculoskeletal research community by developing efforts to support researchers in low- and middle-income countries around the globe. While my start in academia has been harder than it might have been in the before times, it has enriched my career with a new drive that I could never have predicted.
I hope you all also have a silver lining to contrast the dark times in your own worlds.
We are delighted to introduce the HubLE Associate Editors. Aline, Diego, and Mustafa will work closely with our Editors-in-Chief and editors to generate innovative content for HubLE.
Our mission is to shape the future of MSK research, from basic to clinical, by giving early investigators a platform to share, network, and engage in discussion and dialogue with other professionals from across the world.
For complete list of our editors, please visit our website.
To submit your EOI for sharing your research or your opinion with HubLE, visit our website www.huble.org or scan the QR code opposite.
Published by Boer et al., 2021, the study includes associations for 11 OA-related phenotypes, including OA in hip, knee, spine, finger, thumb, and hand, and having had joint replacement surgery. Associations were analyzed in main and sex-specific analyses, and a separate analysis generated associations for early-onset OA. Summary statistic files for these datasets are available from the Downloads page of the MSK-KP. The Boer et al. study included a list of predicted effector genes for OA, and we are working to make that list available in the MSK-KP.
Several other datasets for non-musculoskeletal associations have also been added to the MSK-KP:
To provide more insight into the functions and biological roles of gene products, Gene pages of the Portals (see an example) now include Gene Ontology and pathway annotations, obtained from MyGene.info. The annotations are accessible via tabs in the Functional associations section at the top of the page.
The Gene page now also includes the HuGE (human genetic evidence) score for a gene, calculated with the experimental Human Genetic Evidence Calculator. The score is meant to quantify the support from available genetic evidence for the involvement of a gene product in a trait or disease. The HuGE score for the most significantly associated phenotype in the region is shown by default, and the phenotype may be changed to see other scores. Click the "View evidence in HuGE calculator" link to navigate to the stand-alone interface, where you can modify other parameters.
Nature Reviews: Rheumatology review on the MSK-KP
The attached article on the Musculoskeletal Knowledge Portal by Jen Westendorf (IFMRS Board), Lynda Bonewald, Doug Kiel (Big Data Cttee Co-chairs), and Noel Burtt (Broad Institute) was published today in Nature Reviews Rheumatology, and provides a great overview of what is one of our key projects: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41584-021-00711-1
“…the MSK-KP offers researchers an unprecedented means to access genomic data to formulate hypotheses with the goal of generating and testing patient-centered therapeutics for complex, multi-factorial musculoskeletal conditions. As part of a larger Knowledge Portal network, the MSK-KP enables studies of pleiotropy and unexpected relationships between disease processes. This feature is particularly valuable for the study of chronic diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, in which multiple morbidities including obesity, diabetes and heart disease are present and genetic contributions are complex.”
Please read, share, and help promote it within your organisations and on social media (@IFMRSGlobal).
MEMBER SOCIETY NEWS
ASBMR Launches Podcast “ASBMR Speaks”
ASBMR is excited to launch ASBMR Speaks - a brand new podcast dedicated to discussing the latest developments in bone, mineral, and musculoskeletal research.
Listen in as top experts in the bone field discuss topics like FGF3, PTH, and more!
You can listen to the episodes here or tune in on your favorite podcast platform!
Mark Your Calendars for the Upcoming ASBMR Meet-the-Professor Sessions this Fall!
Join ASBMR throughout November and December as we bring our premier Meet-the-Professor sessions to you virtually following the ASBMR Annual Meeting! Led by experienced clinicians and/or scientists on specific clinical or research topics, each session features an informal discussion around cases, problems, or questions unique to the scientific topic.
- Thursday, November 18 - Skeletal Stem/Progenitor Cell Populations and Bone Regulation with Christa Maes, Ph.D., KU Leuven, Belgium
- Thursday, December 2 - Transitions in Osteoporosis Therapy with Joy Tsai, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, United States
- Monday, December 6 - Nuts and Bolts of FLS: Making it Work (Fracture Liaison Service) with Kassim Javaid, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
- Thursday, December 9 - DXA Beyond BMD with Kate Ward, Ph.D., University of Southampton, United Kingdom and Nicola Crabtree, Ph.D., Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom
- Monday, December 13 – Microbiome with Mattias Lorentzon, M.D., Ph.D., Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
- Thursday, December 16 - Skeletal Disorders in Children with Leanne Ward, M.D., Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Canada
If you are interested in attending a Meet-the-Professor session, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration is now open for the ORS 2022 Annual Meeting.
The ORS is looking forward to the Annual Meeting with plans for an in-person 2022 meeting, February 4 – 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.
Visit the ORS website for information about this year’s Keynote Speakers, Scientific Sessions, Spotlight Speakers, Career and Personal Development Sessions, Research Section Scientific Meetings, and more.
ISCD Live Quality Bone Densitometry: Performance, Interpretation, and Clinical Application for Clinicians
ISCD will be holding a live stream via Zoom on December 11th and 12th.
The core elements of this course serve to increase the knowledge and competence of clinicians regarding bone densitometry and osteoporosis diagnosis, clinical evaluation, treatment, and monitoring and to apply standard practices to assure quality performance and interpretation of bone densitometry studies.
The first day sets the standard to perform quality DXA interpretation, while the second day focuses on the clinical assessment, prevention, treatment, and management or monitoring of osteoporosis and the essential role that high-quality DXA plays in treatment initiation decisions and monitoring of osteoporotic patients.
ISCD Live Quality Bone Densitometry: Performance, Interpretation, and Clinical Application for Technologists
ISCD will be holding a live stream via Zoom on December 11th and 12th.
The core elements of this program focus on performing quality DXA scans, dissecting the data, and applying this knowledge to a technologist’s role in patient care. This course, which focuses on quality DXA, is innovative, interactive, and informative.
The course emphasizes technical excellence in the performance, analysis, and troubleshooting of bone densitometry scans. The course will provide standard practices and applications to raise the quality of DXA scan procedures and their impact on patient care. This is achieved by enhancing awareness of the technical expertise involved in performing bone densitometry and applying protocols to address everyday challenges.
The course focuses on the considerable impact that a technologist plays in the delivery of quality DXA, and how that influences patient management.
The European Calcified Tissue Society is a volunteer-led, not-for-profit medical society and our members are basic and clinical researchers, allied health professionals who join forces to foster a multidisciplinary approach in the musculoskeletal field.
We are pleased to inform you that the 2022 Membership Renewal is now open and we kindly invite you to renew your membership here. New this year, you can opt for automatic renewal and recurrent payment. More information on our payment options is provided below.
For next year, we are planning a wide range of activities we can count on your continued support.
See you soon!
International Society of Bone Morphometry 2022 Congress update
ISBM’s core mission is to promote proper use of morphometric techniques in bone research, to make members aware of refinements and improvements in bone morphometry, to educate and train clinicians and scientists in all aspects of bone morphometry, and to promote the use of bone morphometry for studies across the multi-faceted bone research community. In recent years, we have expanded our mission to include diverse aspects of musculoskeletal research and imaging sciences, emphasizing basic, translational, and clinical investigation of bone to promote lifelong skeletal health. This includes many clinical and animal studies designed to assess how bone cells function and respond to a variety of influences, such as hormones, cytokines, growth factors, and biomechanical forces, as well as drugs used to treat bone disorders.
The Congresses of the ISBM are held every three or four years with up to 200 participants. The attendees represent a highly select group involved in basic bone and cartilage research and the preclinical and clinical development of bone-active drugs. In addition to the main 2-day symposia featuring invited speakers, short talks, and posters, a long-standing tradition of our meeting is training workshops (imaging and histology). Over the years, this has been a popular feature of our meeting – welcomed by trainees and established investigators new to the field.
The sessions for the 2022 congress include the following:
- Spatial transcriptomics and genomics
- Intravital imaging of bone regeneration and development
- Osteocytes and novel insights into osteoporosis
- Remodeling and modeling – clinical and pre-clinical perspectives
- Clinical assessment of bone structure and response to load
- The bone/gut axis
- Bone regeneration and development
- Training workshop: Basic bone histomorphometry and µCT analysis
- Training workshop: Advanced bone histomorphometry and µCT imaging
- Training workshop: Tissue clearing and advanced imaging techniques – spatial transcriptomics, intravital imaging.
Prominent invited keynote speakers include Professors Natalie Sims (Australia), Mary Bouxsein (Harvard, USA), Bente Langdahl (Denmark), Anja Hauser (Germany), Alina Bozec (Germany), Reinhold Erben (Vienna), Christa Maes (Belgium), and Maria Serrat (USA).
The detailed program will be made available soon, along with information for abstract submission and deadlines.
We look forward to welcoming you to Odense in July 2022!
Thomas Andersen (ISBM President)
Michelle McDonald (ISBM 2022 POC Chair)
J. Ignacio Aguirre (ISBM POC Member)
Ralph Müller (ISBM POC Member)
Rick Sumner (ISBM POC Member)
Foundation for Research in Rheumatology announces the launch of a Call for international fellowships (one year).
FOREUM Is committed to funding and promoting scientific research into rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMD) and has a goal to foster links between rheumatology units in different countries. Consistent with these goals is the establishment of a call for international fellowships in order to facilitate the development of research capacity and training high-caliber applicants in RMD research.
Further information and application details can be found on our website. Letters of intent can be submitted until 12 December 2021.
Please feel free to spread the news to anyone who may be interested in and working in this field. We hope that this call will find many interested parties, and we look forward to hearing from you.*