Virtual Events Promote Scientific Discovery

Les Turner Symposium

The 10th annual Les Turner Symposium on ALS — the first one held virtually — highlighted the ways Northwestern scientists and clinicians have continued their pursuit of knowledge and therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). More than 300 people viewed the live-streamed event, sponsored by the Les Turner ALS Center at Northwestern Medicine, which unites all ALS basic science, clinical investigation, and patient care efforts under one umbrella. The Les Turner ALS Foundation, one of the country’s oldest independent ALS organizations, established the center.

Sabrina Paganoni, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, delivered the keynote address, outlining the HEALEY ALS Platform Trial, of which she is a co-principal investigator; Robert Kalb, PhD, director of the Les Turner ALS Center and the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Professor, outlined his efforts to improve glycolysis in neurons affected by ALS. Other scientists (from Feinberg and across the country) presented recent scientific discoveries and updates on ongoing efforts to understand basic mechanisms of ALS and find therapies.

Global Health Day

Feinberg’s Institute for Global Health held its second annual Global Health Day event, titled “Global Health in the Pandemic Era.” Featuring poster sessions and a keynote presentation, the virtual symposium highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on international development efforts and the lessons global health practitioners could learn from the experience to improve health around the world.

“Global Health Day is an exciting opportunity to learn about the emerging topics of global health at Northwestern, explore the incredible breadth and depth of research here in Chicago and around the world, and to connect with our colleagues,” said Robert Murphy, MD, ’81 ’84 GME, the John Philip Phair Professor of Infectious Diseases and executive director of the Institute for Global Health.

Victor Dzau, MD, president of the National Academy of Medicine, the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University, was the keynote speaker for the symposium. Dzau highlighted the disruptive nature of the pandemic to global health: Many sustainable development goals have been stagnant or even regressed during 2020, as dealing with COVID-19 required enormous healthcare and financial resources.

A virtual poster session featured more than 40 posters on projects relevant to global health, including 23 submitted by trainees.

COVID-19 Symposium

The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute hosted its first virtual COVID-19 symposium, a two-day event with four keynote speakers and 19 “lightning round” talks from Northwestern medical students, residents, and faculty. NUCATS also offered three $25,000 Collaborative Innovation Awards to fund new COVID-19 research collaborations that were initiated through the event.

Keynote speakers included Robert Murphy, MD ’81, ’84 GME, the John Philip Phair Professor of Infectious Diseases and executive director of the Institute for Global Health, Richard Wunderink, MD, professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Jaline Gerardin, PhD, assistant professor of Preventive Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology, and Douglas Vaughan, MD, chair and the Irving S. Cutter Professor of Medicine.