Iowa trainees reunite at CF career development retreat

Last week in Oceanside, California, the strength of the Iowa bond was visible. The setting was the location for a Physician Scientist Career Development Retreat hosted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), a longtime partner of the Lung Biology Research program at Iowa.

Specifically, the CFF’s Career Development Committee organized the two-day event for late-stage clinical fellows, early investigators, and mentors working in the field of cystic fibrosis. Topics in breakout sessions and plenary panels included building a balanced career to avoid burnout, building a successful lab, and the qualities of a good relationship between a mentor and a mentee.

The retreat also held a mock grant review session in which trainees could see how a panel of reviewers would evaluate a specific application’s strengths and weaknesses. Another session zeroed in on collaborative research, how investigators combine their abilities to advance science and work to solve thornier questions.

Because it was hosted by the CFF, all of these sessions, which would be of interest to any subspecialty or field of research, were instead presented in the context of cystic fibrosis research. JP Clancy, MD, Vice President of Clinical Research at CFF, is a Carver College of Medicine alumnus and former member of the lab of Michael Welsh, MD. Clancy was a member of a panel on the future of CF research, particularly where those young physician scientists in attendance should focus their efforts given the successes of modulator therapies for people living with the disease. (Clancy delivered a similar presentation at last year’s Midwest CF Consortium meeting in Iowa City.)

Outside these sessions, there were plenty of other activities. A team-building session, mixers for networking, and even more informal chances for old friends and former colleagues to reconnect. David Stoltz, MD, PhD, who led a session on grant writing and review, sent in a few photos of those informal connections and to document how “extremely well-represented” Iowa was at the event.

Pictured: JP Clancy, MD; Dan Cook, MD PhD; Luis Vargas, MD; David Stoltz, MD, PhD; Viral Shah, MD, PhD; Tayyab Rehman, MD

Stoltz said, “I was so proud to see how well our colleagues are doing and their continued commitment to improving the lives of people with CF.” Some of those colleagues included Dan Cook, MD, PhD, a graduate of Iowa’s MSTP and former member of Stoltz’s lab, now in his third year of pulmonary/critical care medicine fellowship at Vanderbilt University; Viral Shah, MD, PhD, MSTP graduate and Welsh Lab alumnus, now an instructor in the Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine division at Mass General; and Tayyab Rehman, MD, former Iowa faculty member, now an assistant professor at the University of Michigan.

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