Society Spotlight: The American Society for Investigative Pathology

By | June 12, 2014

By Allison Lea

In 2013, The American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) celebrated its 100th anniversary as a member of FASEB. At its inception, the Society was called the American Society for Experimental Pathology (ASEP), which was founded the same year it joined the Federation. ASEP merged with the American Association of Pathologists and Bacteriologists (AAPB) in 1976 to form what is now ASIP. The Society’s mission is to promote the discovery, advancement, and dissemination of basic and translational knowledge in experimental pathology and related disciplines, which it accomplishes through its annual meetings, journals, education, and support and career development for young investigators and trainee members.

ASIP’s official journal, The American Journal of Pathology (AJP), originates from AAPB and traces its history back to 1896 (when it was the Journal of the Boston Society of Medical Sciences).  Recognized internationally, AJP provides a scholarly forum for the dissemination of information about experimental and investigative pathology.  The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, co-owned by ASIP and the Association of Molecular Pathology (another FASEB member society), publishes original papers on translational research and validation of molecular discoveries in medicine into the clinical diagnostic setting.  ASIP offers Continuing Medical Education programs annually through both journals.

Today, ASIP’s membership includes 1,300 scientists from over 30 countries.  The membership represents an eclectic group of scientists with a common interest in the pathogenesis of disease, utilizing a wide range of biological systems and studying different organismal levels (e.g., molecular, subcellular, cellular, tissue/organ, and organism), and model systems (e.g., prokaryotic, eukaryotic, animal, and human). There is an equal mix of MDs and PhDs (with a large component of the membership holding both degrees), and a sizeable number of veterinary pathologists, as well as members from different academic and non-academic departments.

To address the many areas of interest of its members, ASIP has created 17 Scientific Interest Groups that provide assistance in program development at the annual meeting and networking opportunities for young and established investigative pathologists. ASIP also provides a digital library that includes an archive of past meeting presentations, course materials, and other relevant resources, as well as career development resources on its website for its trainee members.

On April 26-30, ASIP held its annual meeting as a part of Experimental Biology 2014 in San Diego. Symposia covered an array of topics surrounding pathobiology of diseases and emerging research topics such as personalized medicine therapies for lung cancer and breast cancer, lessons from the canine genome for human cancer therapy, regenerative medicine, the role of biospecimens in precision medicine, histological image analysis, stem cells for cardiac repair, cell injury, pathogen interactions with cellular junctions, novel mechanisms of oncogenesis, human pathogens, and various aspects of liver pathobiology and neuropathology.

Two thematic one-day sessions were also an important part of the meeting and included The Blood Vessel Club™ Program and the Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease Program, focusing on vascular permeability in health and disease, leukocyte trafficking during inflammation, inflammation and the tissue microenvironment and disease. The President’s Symposium featured investigative pathology in the new century, including whole-genome sequencing in patients, mucosal homeostasis, and the vascular endothelium. To support its young investigators and trainee members, ASIP offered special workshops on career development and presentation skills and presented 53 trainee awards (see photo, below), including the ASIP Experimental Pathologist-in-Training Award, Experimental Pathologist-in-Graduate Training Award, and Trainee Travel Awards.

ASIP presented the Gold-Headed Cane to Dr. Samuel French, a leader in academic pathology with long-standing contributions to investigative pathology, including meritorious research and outstanding teaching.  Dr. Stephen Galli received the prestigious Rous-Whipple Award for his long-standing and ongoing research program on mast cells and immune responses. The ASIP Outstanding Investigator Award for Meritorious Research in Experimental Pathology and the Young Scientist Leadership Award were presented to Dr. Satdarshan Paul S. Monga and his protégé Dr. Kari Nejak-Bowen (respectively) for elucidating the beta-catenin pathway in liver pathobiology.  The Cotran Early Career Investigator Award was presented to Dr. Timothy Denning for his work on intestinal antigen presenting cells. The Robbins Distinguished Educator Award recognized immunopathologist Dr. Andrew Lichtman, whose contributions to education have had a manifest impact on learning.

In October of 2015, ASIP will host a stand-alone meeting in Baltimore, entitled Pathways to Translational Medicine: Recent Advances in Cell injury, Inflammation, and Neoplasia as part of a series of annual conferences called PISA (Pathobiology for Investigators, Students, and Academicians). PISA conferences are designed to supplement the traditional annual meeting at Experimental Biology and will provide an intimate environment for scientific discussions on selected themes each year.

In 2010, ASIP formed the Public Affairs Working Group (PAWG), which covers areas of interest related to human subjects research protections, NIH appropriations, and translational research. PAWG works with FASEB and other pathology societies to best represent the discipline of experimental pathology.  ASIP manages and is a charter member of the Intersociety Council for Pathology Information, the publisher of the Directory of Pathology Training Programs in North America. ASIP is represented on the ICPI Board by Jacob J. Steinberg, MD at Montefiore Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University.  In addition, Mark E. Sobel, MD, PhD, ASIP’s Executive Officer, represents ASIP on the Intersociety Pathology Council.  ASIP members are represented on FASEB’s Board of Directors by James M. Musser, MD, PhD at the Houston Methodist Hospital System.  William A. Muller, MD, PhD of Northwestern University Fienberg School of Medicine in Chicago represents ASIP on FASEB’s Science Policy Committee.

For more information about ASIP or its upcoming activities, visit the Society’s website.

ASIP photo

ASIP 2014 Trainee Awardees