Iowa Inflammation Program members at SLB

In October, the Society of Leukocyte Biology (SLB) hosted its annual meeting in Chandler, Arizona, and a number of members of the Iowa Inflammation Program made the trip. In addition to the scientific sessions at which new work was presented and discussed, conferees met at the Business Meeting to recognize SLB members for exceptional work, many of whom call Iowa City home. Lee-Ann Allen, PhD, Professor in Infectious Diseases and of Microbiology and Immunology, is the current President of SLB.

Prajwal Gurung, PhD, Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases, received the Presidential Award in the Post-Doctoral category based on unpublished work presented at the meeting. William M. Nauseef, MD, Professor in Infectious Diseases and Director of the Iowa Inflammation Program, was honored with the SLB Honorary Lifetime Award for Excellence in Leukocyte Biology Research. Post-doctoral fellow Benjamin Avner, MD, PhD, received a travel award, and graduate students Stephanie Silva-Del Toro, Allan Prichard, and Joseph Skurski each merited awards for their poster presentations.

Dr. Gurung was awarded the Presidential Award in the Post-Doctoral category, which is based on the merit of the applicant and the submitted abstract. At the conference, all finalists are required to give an oral presentation of their study. Dr. Gurung presented his lab’s study on TAK1 induction of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and cell eradication. “The SLB presidential award gave me much-needed exposure, allowed me to present my research work and get feedback and helped me with networking,” Dr. Gurung said. His was one of only two selected as finalists for the award. In addition to receiving the Presidential Award, Dr. Gurung was given a stipend and travel award of $1,500 to continue studying the effect of different cytoplasmic sensor regulations on infection and immunity.

Dr. Nauseef, who was the President of SLB from 2010 to 2012 and is the Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, was one of two of SLB’s 2018 Honorary Life Members. As a longstanding member of the Society, he has investigated for almost forty years the defining features of the cell and molecular biology of human neutrophils within the context of neutrophil-mediated antimicrobial action. “I was surprised and pleased to receive the award. It’s gratifying to know that your colleagues believe that the work you’re doing is critical,” said Dr. Nauseef.

One of the post-doctoral fellows in the Nauseef lab, Dr. Avner, received a travel award to aid him with his studies of the interface between innate immune leukocytes and the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.

During the conference, 118 posters with studies about immunology were put on display. Among all of them, three of six awarded posters belonged to University of Iowa graduate students Silva-Del Toro, Prichard, and Skurski.

“University of Iowa received three of the six awards given, so that says a lot about the training, mentoring, and quality of research that is being done here,” Ms. Silva-Del Toro said. Her poster focused on the mechanisms behind Helicobacter pylori’s inductive influence on the hypersegmentation of the lobed nucleus in neutrophils. Mr. Prichard, who works in the Allen lab with Ms. Silva-Del Toro, created a poster about Helicobacter pylori infections’ modulation of human neutrophil chemotaxis. Mr. Skurski’s poster shared his lab’s findings on the induction and regulation of LPS-induced inflammatory responses in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages.

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