Highlights from the 27th Annual Rheumatology Symposium

Bringing together more than 60 healthcare professionals at the Sheraton Hotel in Iowa City, the Division of Immunology/Allergy and Rheumatology hosted a day-long series of lectures, case presentations, and clinical updates on cutting-edge issues in the field. Physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and other arthritis-related health professionals came from as far away as St. Louis to attend this well-established event. And they were not disappointed. Many expressed their appreciation for the topics covered and looked forward to attending next year’s symposium as well.

At this year’s event, attendees were treated to:

  • Symposium Director and Clinical Associate Professor of Immunology Dr. Petar Lenert offered introductory remarks.
  • Timothy Niewold, Associate Professor of Rheumatology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, discussed the pathogenic role of interferon in lupus, the genetic factors that impact interferon signaling, and some clinical updates in the treatment of lupus.
  • Namrata Singh, Clinical Assistant Professor of Immunology, and Dr. Bharat Kumar, third-year fellow in Allergy/Immunology and Rheumatology, presented features and diagnostic workups for patients with multicentric reticulohistiocytosis.
  • Second-year fellow in Rheumatology Dr. Vijay Aluri discussed the neurologic manifestations associated with Sjögren’s syndrome and how they differ from neuromyelitis optica.
  • Robert Ashman, Professor Emeritus and former Division Director, described the importance of the bacteria and fungi our bodies host and how they work to develop and strengthen our immune systems.
  • Scott Vogelgesang, current Division Director and Professor of Immunology, presented three recently discovered pathologic features of the increasingly confounding IgG4-related disease.
  • Aleksander Lenert, Assistant Professor of Rheumatology at University of Kentucky, explained the reasons and the methods by which a care provider might taper biologics in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Elizabeth Field, Professor of Immunology, continued Dr. Ashman’s discussion of the microbiome and its connection to RA and unclassified inflammatory arthritis.
  • Rebecca Tuetken, Associate Professor of Immunology, presented a mysterious case study, in which a post-pancreatic transplant patient presented with swelling in his hands turned out to have perostitis, a swelling of bone connective tissue.
  • Dr. Svjetlana Dolovcak, recent graduate of the Fellowship program, discussed the relationship between autoimmune disease and immunodeficiencies in patients with complement deficiencies.
  • Rheumatology fellows Drs. Bibi Ayesha and Taylor Doberstein rounded out the day with unique case presentations encountered in their clinical experience.

The range was broad enough that whether it was an ARNP looking for something to take back to his clinic or a researcher looking for something to take back to her lab, both left this symposium satisfied. Congratulations to this year’s event organizers and all its participants on another successful symposium.

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