The Kenneth Rainin Foundation believes collaboration and diverse perspectives are key to accelerating innovative research and treatments for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Each year our Innovations Symposium brings scientists together to exchange ideas that will bring us closer to a cure. In July, over 300 people from around the world tuned in to our 2022 virtual Symposium.
We welcomed students, academic and industry researchers, clinicians, funders and editors of science and health journals. Over three half days, attendees heard from seasoned experts and emerging innovators in various fields about new research. Presentations were paired by intersecting themes. To encourage lively conversations each pairing was followed by a panel discussion guided by members of the Rainin Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board.
“Our goal for this Symposium was to showcase diverse perspectives of biomedical research in IBD. Presenting the groundbreaking work of this exciting mix of investigators highlights the multitude of lines of inquiry for addressing this complex disease.”Laura Wilson, PhD, Director, Health Strategy & Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation
The Microbiome’s Multifaceted Role In Health And Disease
Day one highlighted the complexity of the gut microbiome, exploring its interplay with diet, environment and human health. Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, surveyed evolutionary changes in the microbiome, and the effect of human migration and lifestyle transitions across non-industrialized and industrialized populations. Ken Cadwell, PhD, zeroed in on interactions between cellular processes and infectious agents that determine vulnerability to diseases.
We ended the day with two presentations. Manuela Raffatellu, MD, highlighted work on a novel immunization strategy—targeting bacterial siderophores that generate monoclonal antibodies to ameliorate colitis. Gretchen Diehl, PhD, shared unexpected evidence of a previously unrecognized cellular pathway between the gut and thymus in very young mice.
Generating Cross-Disciplinary Connections
Presentations on subsequent days covered an array of new findings in immunity and inflammation, healing and diet. Presenter pairings complemented their distinct fields and their panel discussions generated questions and ideas among the researchers.
In one pairing, Karina Mariño, PhD, a chemist, shared insights into how glycobiological mechanisms can be altered by inflammation in the gut. That prompted Jamie Spangler, PhD, a bioengineer, to consider designing a “fix” for such a diseased cellular process.
Distinct research perspectives led to a lively exchange between immunologists Jason Cyster, PhD and Noah Palm, PhD, who both use advanced technologies to illuminate IBD dynamics but from different angles. Dr. Cyster presented work on deciphering cell migration to the gut, while Dr. Palm described mapping complex host-microbiota communication networks.
“I am continually astounded by the caliber and range of research presented at the Symposium. It’s thrilling to learn about the progress and I am energized by the discussions each year.”Jen Rainin, PhD, CEO, Kenneth Rainin Foundation
Translating Research To Patient Well-being
The Rainin Foundation prioritizes research that has the potential to improve the health and well-being of people with IBD. Presentations illustrated how vast the research landscape is for a complex disease like IBD.
Whether in the clinic, like Markus Neurath, MD, or in the lab, like Carla Rothlin, PhD, researchers are translating biomedical research into clinical applications and therapeutics that target patient well-being.
The wide-ranging findings and ideas shared at our Symposium reflect—and further—our progress across that landscape.
Presentations Highlighted The Latest Research
Following is a list of presenters who shared new insights from their research.
- Carla Rothlin, PhD, Yale University – Principles of non-resolving inflammation
- Dan Littman, MD, PhD, New York University – Microbiota-directed T cell functions in homeostatic and inflammatory conditions
- Gretchen Diehl, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Development of microbiota specific T cells
- Jamie Spangler, PhD, Johns Hopkins University – Reprogramming cytokines for targeted simulation of regulatory T cells
- Jason Cyster, PhD, University of California, San Francisco – Serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA and neutrophil recruitment to sites of inflammation
- Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, Stanford University – Industrialization of the gut microbiome
- Karina Mariño, PhD, Instituto de Biologia y Medicina Experimental – Mapping glycoslylation-dependent pathways of gut homeostasis and inflammation
- Kate Fitzgerald, PhD, UMass Chan Medical School – Regulation of Intestinal Inflammation
- Ken Cadwell, PhD, New York University – Resilience to immune-mediated damage in the gut
- Manuela Raffatellu, MD, University of California, San Diego – Targeting siderophores ameliorates colitis
- Markus Neurath, MD, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg – T cells and cytokines in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Noah Palm, PhD, Yale University – Mapping uncharted landscapes of host-microbiota connectivity
“The conference was absolutely outstanding—the best IBD conference I have attended online or in-person. As a parent of a daughter with IBD (and a longtime pharma executive), I respect and appreciate your foundation’s approach.”Ildiko Mehes, JD, Pharmaceutical Industry and Legal Advisor
Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who responded to our post-event survey. We use this feedback to inform the design of future gatherings. We continue to welcome thoughts about how to create effective opportunities to connect and learn from each other. You can contact our Health program staff here.
Save The Date
Our annual Innovations Symposium will be held Monday, July 17–Tuesday, July 18, 2023 at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California.