health Blog

Innovations Symposium Showcases Advances in Research

Researchers, clinicians and industry partners from around the globe gathered in San Francisco for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s 6th annual Innovations Symposium on July 24-25, 2017. This year’s event focused on early onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). A slate of distinguished speakers and Foundation grantees presented the latest advances in basic science and novel insights into clinical applications.

“This annual event is focused on bringing science closer to the patient by giving researchers an opportunity to hear new perspectives on IBD,” said Laura Wilson, PhD, Rainin Foundation Director of Health Strategies and Ventures. “The Symposium encourages collaborative thinking and network building and is strengthening the possibilities of what the field can achieve together.”

David Suskind, MD, and Ian Sanderson, MD, participate in the Symposium’s first-ever debate. Photo credit: Mitch Tobias

The two-day event is designed to spark cross-disciplinary discussions. The Symposium’s first-ever debate explored whether IBD is the same disease in children and adults, and how that affects treatment and management of the disease. On the second day, a panel of industry leaders from Genentech, Stanford University’s SPARK Program, and Janssen Research & Development joined with academic researchers to share ideas for how to best work together.

Laura Wilson also gave attendees a preview of the Foundation’s new online tool to inspire collaboration in research. As the Foundation’s health portfolio grows, we’re experimenting with ways to uncover scientific discoveries and engage potential funders and partners.

“We’re committed to connecting investigators with physicians and industry partners to seed collaborations that will bring promising discoveries to the patient,” said Wilson. “Beyond our Symposium, we want to create opportunities for scientists to share information and ideas that will accelerate IBD research.”

Mark your calendar for the next Innovations Symposium which will take place on July 16-17, 2018 in San Francisco. Visit our website to see a list of confirmed speakers. Registration opens in January.

2017 Innovations Symposium Highlights

Distinguished Guest Speakers

Marla Dubinsky, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Marla Dubinsky, MD, gives the keynote address. Photo credit: Mitch Tobias

During the two-day event, a range of perspectives on the disease were offered by the following scientific leaders:

Grantee Presentations

Mohamed Abou Donia, Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Mohamed Abou Donia, PhD, shares progress on his Rainin Foundation funded research. Photo credit: Mitch Tobias

The following Foundation grantees shared exciting progress on their research:

Panel Discussion: Bringing Academics & Industry Together

Poster Sessions

Rainin Foundation grantees and selected presenters had the unique opportunity to share their research and ideas during the Innovations Symposium. Click to expand and see a list of the abstracts presented.

  • Ignacio Bon, Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP), “Efficacy of endoscopic placement of a drug-eluting platform with infliximab for the treatment of mucosal lesions in a rat model of experimental colitis”
  • John Chang, University of California, San Diego, “Edible immunomodulatory algae as a therapeutic strategy for inflammatory bowel disease: the EAT IBD study”
  • Christopher Contag, Stanford University, “Raman microendoscopy and functionalized SERS nanoparticles to detect dysplasia and malignancy in patients with ulcerative colitis”
  • Benjamin Mead, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “In vitro Paneth-like cells enable investigation of intestinal secretory cell development and function”
  • Mark Mimee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “MicroBioElectronics: An ingestible capsule for continuous monitoring of gut health”
  • Isaak Müller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Engineering of probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii to treat inflammatory bowel disease”
  • Min Hee Park, University of Texas at Austin, “Personalized ‘Crohn’s disease-on-a-chip’ towards precision therapeutics”
  • Carl Schoellhammer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Topical administration of nucleic acids for the treatment of ulcerative colitis”
Cell/Molecular Biology
  • Laura Cook, University of British Columbia, “Induction of human regulatory T cells by a parasite-derived TGF-β mimic”
  • Kate Jeffrey, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, “Identification of commensal viruses sensed by RIG-I in the intestine”
  • Zuzana Leskova, Comenius University, “The influence of vitamin D on expression of cytokines mRNA in IBD”
  • Thomas Wallach, University of California, San Francisco “Validation of methodology for a high throughput screen of intestinal permeability modifying agents”
  • Benoit Chassaing, Georgia State University, Atlanta, “Dietary emulsifiers directly impact the transcriptome of a Crohn’s disease-associated Escherichia coli, increasing its ability to induce intestinal inflammation”
  • Sho Kitamoto, University of Michigan, “Dietary amino acids allow pathobionts to thrive in Crohn’s disease patients”
  • Talya Miller, University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Hospital, “Nutritional therapy in very early onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A case report”
Epithelial Cell Biology
  • Greg Barton, University of California, Berkeley, “Is restricted expression of TLR5 in the small intestine necessary to limit responses to commensal bacteria?”
  • Jason Hall, New York University, “Single cell transcriptomics of colonic intestinal epithelial cell response to commensal microbes”
  • Daniel Levic, Duke University, “Epigenetic control of intestinal inflammation”
  • Aparna Venkatraman, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, “Frizzled5-Ror2 mediated noncanonical Wnt signaling maintains and regenerates intestinal stem cells”
  • Michael Kattah, University of California, San Francisco, “A20 and ABIN-1 cooperate to preserve intestinal epithelial homeostasis”
  • Jose Aguirre, University of Texas Medical, “Increased MMPs activity in Crohn’s Disease contributes to the decrease of PD-L1 mediated suppression of Th1 responses by colonic CD90+ (myo)fibroblasts”
  • Jean-Frédéric Colombel, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital “The role of viral exposures preceding IBD diagnosis in disease pathogenesis”
  • Marco Colonna, Washington University, “Novel adhesive interactions modulate T cell responses in IBD”
  • Henry Erlich, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, “Host genetics of adaptive and innate immunity in Inflammatory Bowel Disease”
  • Irina Leonardi, Weill Cornell Medicine, “Characterizing the effects of maternal mycobiota transmission on the newborn”
  • Yue Li, McGill University, “Interrogating immune-bacteriophage dynamics to mitigate intestinal inflammation”
  • Xin Li, Weill Cornell Medicine, “Impact of Immunosuppresive Therapy on Commensal Fungi and Intestinal Disease”
  • Luciano Gaston Morosi, Instituto de Biología y Medicina Experimental (IBYME-CONICET) “Galectin-1 (Gal1) as a key modulator of intestinal inflammation in the TNBS-induced colitis model: a potential therapeutic application of tailored designed Gal1 variants”
  • Daniel Mucida, Rockefeller University, “Sensing luminal contents by the enteric nervous system: consequences for gut immunity”
  • Hiroko Nagao-Kitamoto, University of Michigan Medical School, “The utility of humanized gnotobiotic mice to investigate functional dysbiosis in IBD”
  • Giannoula Patsantara, Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital, Athens, “Intestinal nemathelminth Enterobius vermicularis as a symbiotic organism”
  • Azucena Salas, Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), “RORC antogonists as potential therapy in Crohn’s Disease patients”
  • Sidhartha Sinha, Stanford University School of Medicine, “Secondary Bile acids modulate intestinal inflammation”
  • Kevin Vannella, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “Inhibition of IL-13Rα2 protects mice from DSS-induced murine IBD”
  • Edouard Vannier, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, “The immune checkpoint B7-H3 promotes the resolution of colonic inflammation elicited by Citrobacter rodentium”
  • Monica Viladomiu, Weill Cornell Medical College, “IgA-coated E. coli enriched in Crohn’s disease spondyloarthritis promote mucosal and systemic Th17-dependent inflammation”
  • Serre-Yu Wong, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, “Intra-microbiome interactions and Crohn’s disease susceptibility”
  • Efi Kokkotou, Beth Israel Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, “A patient-based methodology predicting therapeutic responses in IBD”
  • Pranatchareeya Chankhamjon, Princeton University, “The role of microbiota-derived small molecules in the etiology of Crohn’s disease”
  • Yvette Piceno, “Fecal microbiota transplantation differentially influences the gut microbiota of clostridium difficile infection and ileal pouch anal anastomosis patients”
  • Bahram  Parvin, University of Nevada, Reno, “Toward a low cost multiplexed assay for quantifying the shift in microbiome”
Motility/Enteric Nervous System
  • Lindsay Axelrod, G-Tech Medical, “Study of various GI tract stimulants using the GutCheck wireless “EKG for the Gut” system”
  • Milena Bogunovic, Penn State University College of Medicine, “Macrophages as Regulators of Intestinal Neuroplasticity in IBD”
  • Geetanjali Bansal, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “NIAID Research Priorities: Strategies for writing a successful NIAID grant application”

Gallery of Event Photos

Karina Mariño, PhD, Fundacion Instituto de Biologia y Medicina Experimental

Slideshow of the 2017 Innovations Symposium. Photo credit: Mitch Tobias

Suggested Reading

Sign Up for News & Updates

Receive newsletters and occasional updates about the work of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and our grantees.

* Email Address:
Arts Updates
Education Updates
Health Updates
All Foundation Updates
*  Enter the letters shown above:
* - required

You have Successfully Subscribed!