Biennial Bioactive Lipids conference founded at the WSU School of Medicine celebrates 15th meeting series

November 08, 2017

Photos: Pictured at top, from left are Drs. Ken Honn, Gabor Tigyi, Renate Nigam, Ed Dennis, Santosh Nigam Young Investigator awardee Allison Gartung, Larry Marnett and Charles Serhan; lower left photo, from left are WSU Travel Award Recipients Wenjia Lou and Drs. Miriam Greenberg, Christian Reynolds and Larry Marnett; lower right photo is Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology Elizabeth Berger, Ph.D., who received the Journal of Prostaglandins and Other Lipids Mediator Award and the WSU Travel Award.

Scientists from 26 countries traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last month to attend the 15th International Conference Bioactive Lipids in Cancer, Inflammation and Related Diseases, a scientific forum with roots at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

The biennial conference, held Oct. 22-25, is considered the premier event for the field, with nearly 300 attendees, including five honoree speakers, 6 plenary speakers, 23 invited speakers, 57 oral presenters, 104 poster presentations and several achievement awards.

The series has been held in a variety of U.S. and international cities since its first meeting in 1989 in Detroit, with subsequent locations in Berlin, Hong Kong, Boston, Montreal, Seattle, Budapest and more. The 2019 conference is planned for St. Petersburg, Fla. It is presented by the Eicosanoid Research Foundation, a non-profit organization funded by pharmaceutical sponsorships and foundation grants, conference exhibitions, advertisers and registration fees from the attendees. WSU Distinguished Professor of Pathology Kenneth Honn, Ph.D., president of the Eicosanoid Research Foundation, was one of three of the first organizers of the conference series, which evolved from the vision of William E. Powers, M.D., the founding chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology.

This conference series is run by the Eicosanoid Research Foundation’s Board of Directors, Drs. Kenneth Honn (Wayne State University), Edward Dennis (University of California – San Diego), Larry Marnett (Vanderbilt University), Charles Serhan (Harvard University) and Gabor Tigyi (University of Tennessee). Krishna Rao Maddipati, Ph.D., director of WSU’s Lipidomics Core Facility, served as the scientific program coordinator. School of Medicine Office of the Dean staff member Caryn Volpe was the overall conference coordinator for this meeting in Puerto Vallarta.

Travel Award and Achievement Awards to the conference were supported by nearly $250,000 in sponsorship donations, registration and exhibitor fees. Awards included three Christopher C. Harris Travel Awards for Graduate Students; five Eicosanoid Research Foundation Travel Awards for Postdoctoral Fellows; a Journal of BBA- Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids Travel Award; three Journal of Prostaglandins & Other Lipid Mediators Travel Awards; four Wayne State University Travel Awards for Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Faculty; two University of Tennessee Travel Awards for Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Faculty; seven ONO Pharmaceutical Co., LTD Travel Awards for Japanese Scientists; a Journal of Lipid Research Junior Investigator Award; a Santosh Nigam Outstanding Young Scientist Award; and three Eicosanoid Research Foundation Young Investigator Awards in the areas of Cancer, Inflammation and Structure Function. Jeffrey Drazen, M.D., editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, received the first ERF Exceptional Contribution to Human Physiology and Translational Medicine Award. Dr. Charles Serhan received the ERF Lifetime Achievement award for his work in the area of resolvins, maresins and protectins. In addition, Dr. Darryl Zeldin (Program Director for the NIH’s National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences), Dr. Jorge Capdevila (Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University) and Dr. Bruce Hammock (University of California at Davis) were recipients of the ERF Outstanding Achievement Awards for their pioneering work on epoxy fatty acids.

Allison Gartung, Ph.D., a recent WSU graduate of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program in Dr. Menq-Jer Lee’s laboratory, and now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, traveled to the conference courtesy of a Cayman Chemical Company Travel Award, and received the highly competitive Santosh Nigam Memorial Award for Outstanding Young Scientists, for her poster presentation, “Synergy between resolvins and checkpoint blockade in debris stimulated FANCC-/- head and neck cancer.” Dr. Gartung received an engraved plaque for the award, besting 15 competitors.

Other WSU and School of Medicine Awardees:

Elizabeth Berger, Ph.D., assistant professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology received both a Journal of Prostaglandins and Other Lipids Mediator Award ($500) and Wayne State University Travel Award ($500) for her abstract “Lipid Mediator Pathways in the Pathogenesis of Bacterial Keratitis.” Dr. Berger was also one of six candidates selected to give an oral presentation for the ERF Young Investigator Award competition in the area of Inflammation.

Wenjia Lou, a senior graduate student in WSU Biological Sciences, received a $1,000 WSU Travel Award for his poster presentation “Expression of Δ 12 -desaturase promotes cardiolipin peroxidation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: A model for CL signaling.”

Christian Reynolds, Ph.D., assistant professor in Emergency Medicine, received a $1,000 WSU Travel Award for his poster presentation on “Analysis of Lipid Mediators in Heart Failure: A Pilot Study.”
Miriam Greenberg, Ph.D., professor of WSU Biological Sciences, received both a Cayman Chemical Company Travel Award and a $500 WSU Travel Award. Dr. Greenberg was an invited speaker and gave the talk “Cardiolipin at the epicenter of energy metabolism – Implications for Barth syndrome” during the Novel Aspects of Lipid Biology Session.

Gold sponsors included Avanti Polar Lipids, Cayman Chemical, Fresenius-Kabi, Metagenics, ONO Pharmaceutical, Sciex, Solutex and University of Rochester Medical Center; Silver sponsors included Elsevier Publishing Company, University of Tennessee and Wayne State University; exhibitors included Avanti Polar Lipids, Bruker, BodyBio, Cayman Chemical, Chronolog, Metagenics, Sciex, Solutex, Waters and Zone Labs; and contributors included Ambiotis, ASPET, BBA-MCBL, Company of Biologists, Chronolog, EMBO, DIREF (WSU Surgery), Inception Science, Journal of Lipid Research, KOWA, Pleasant Hill Pediatrics of Boston, Journal of Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators, Springer Publishing Company, Waters, Zenyaku and Zone Labs.