18th Annual Safar Symposium Breaks Gender/Other Records

The 18th Annual Safar Symposium held May 19-20, 2021, broke gender, participation, and geographic records in addition to being the first virtual event. For the first time, the awards for best abstracts were won by seven women junior investigators in the seven research categories of the Multi-Departmental Trainees’ Research Day. More than 300 people registered for the symposium with attendees hailing from 20 countries, including Chile, Costa Rica, Qatar, Thailand and Serbia. Additionally, the WISER Simulation Lecture Session hosted Joseph Liu, CHSE, MD, who was the first Safar Symposium presenter from mainland China in the 18-year history of the program.

“What a great day for science! Peter Safar would have loved to have seen our first-ever all-woman abstract winners’ award ceremony,” said Patrick M. Kochanek, MD, MCCM, who is director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research and co-chair of the Safar Symposium with Aman Mahajan, MD, PhD, MBA, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine. “This was a record-smashing symposium that saw old milestones tumble for gender, attendance numbers, and international reach.”

ABSTRACT WINNERS

Ruby Holland, medical student/predoctoral student (mentor: Sarah E. Ross, PhD) won the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine—Basic Science section for her abstract “Activation of kappa opioid receptor-expressing neurons in the ventral tegmental area attenuates opioid withdrawal”

Andrea Ibarra, MD, postdoctoral fellow (mentors: Aman Mahajan, MD; Kimberly Howard-Quijano, MD and Arman Kilic, MD) won the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine—Clinical Science section for her abstract “The impact of socioeconomic status in patients with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs)”

Oluwasinmisola Opeyemi, BS, medical student/predoctoral student (mentor: Christopher Horvat, MD, MHA) won the Department of Critical Care Medicine section for her abstract “Is dexmedetomidine associated with decreased opioid requirement among critically ill children?”

Sofia Seppi, undergraduate student (mentor: Mioara Manole, MD) won the Department of Emergency Medicine section for her abstract “Development of novel 20 HETE formation inhibitors for neurotherapeutics”

Sarah Svirsky, BA, medical student (mentor: C. Edward Dixon, PhD) won the Department of Neurological Surgery section for her abstract “Retinoic acid preliminary dose response study to examine hippocampal synaptic protein expression and cognitive function after TBI”

Eleni Moschonas, BS, BA, medical student/predoctoral student (mentors: Anthony E. Kline, PhD and Corina O. Bondi, PhD) won the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation—Basic Science section for her abstract “Effects of positive allosteric modulation of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors on sustained attention and cholinergic neurotransmission after experimental traumatic brain injury”

Marina Levochkina, BS, medical student/predoctoral student (mentor: Amy K. Wagner, MD) won the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation—Clinical Science section for her abstract “Temporal dynamics of neutrophil-to-lymphocyte levels and infections after traumatic brain injury”

Each abstract session of the Multi-Departmental Trainees’ Research Day was moderated and judged by two faculty members whose scoring determined the winner in their breakout room session, independent of scoring in other sessions. The abstracts booklet is available here.

The symposium began with six local, national and international presenters delivering talks on the theme “Future Visions for Neuroprotection, Neuroanesthesia & Neurorehabilitation”

The 40th Peter & Eva Safar Annual Lectureship in Medical Sciences & Humanities was delivered by Ed Boyden, PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Boyden had a ‘standing-room only’ audience when he spoke on “Tools for Analyzing and Repairing the Brain.”

Day 2 was the half-day WISER Simulation Lecture Session: Challenges in Maintaining Simulation Excellence, which also brought together six local, national and international presenters, including one each from Thailand and China.

The full program for the 18th Annual Safar Symposium is available here.