My First Kidney Week Meeting

In celebration of ASN's 50th anniversary, a number of ASN leaders have taken the time to remember what it was like to attend their first ASN annual meeting. We will continue to update this section throughout the year, and encourage you to send in your recollections of your first ASN annual meeting (info@kidneynews.org). 

Former ASN President Sharon Anderson, MD, FASN: In the good old days when it was held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, the ASN meeting was much smaller and more intimate, which was nice in its own way because you had a pretty good chance of running into everybody you knew. Now it has become much larger—as it should. There was less clinical science at the early meetings. Over time, it became clear that not only is clinical nephrology something we all continue to do,but we have a very large audience who are interested—perhaps more so than in the past—in clinical and translational science. Embracing clinical and translational science, by definition, helped to expand the society.

Former ASN President Thomas M. Coffman, MD, FASN: My first ASN was when I was a research fellow, back when the meeting was held at the Shoreham and old Sheraton in DC every year.  Even back then, I was amazed and impressed by the size and scope of the meeting…the sheer number of people from all over the world who were so intensely interested in the kidney and kidney diseases.  I must  admit that I was also a bit star struck seeing the icons of nephrology whose text books and papers I had read, like Barry Brenner and Bob Schrier, walking around looking at posters and asking questions.  It was a great opportunity to meet my peers from institutions around the country to compare notes and experiences over cheap meals at ethic restaurants and late night beverages.  Some of those people turned out to be life-long friends.  And I always came back home from the ASN energized, with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

CKD Advisory Group Chair Deidra C. Crews, MD, FASN, MPH: My first ASN Kidney Week was in 2004, in St. Louis. I was a 2nd year internal medicine resident at the time, and was able to attend because I received a travel award. I recall feeling overwhelmed, yet inexplicably energized by all the people strolling through the convention center. The meeting marked my first scientific poster--as a proud middle author. I remember sitting in some of the sessions and wondering if I would ever have the courage to go to the microphone and ask a question! My first Kidney Week truly placed a seal on my commitment to a career in nephrology.

Former ASN President William L. Henrich, MD, FASN: My first ASN meeting was a memorable trip, for several reasons. I was a medicine resident at the Oregon Health Science Center, and Bill Bennett invited me to accompany him to the meeting. We stopped in Chicago (Bill’s home) on the way east, and attended a Chicago Blackhawks game at the old Chicago stadium. The ASN meeting was at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, and I remember being struck by the camaraderie of the attendees --- famous leaders in medicine who obviously enjoyed being with their friends and sharing their observations. The respect they had for each other, even when they disagreed, was evident and made an impression. The positive interactions between the senior leaders and young people was also particularly energizing and inspiring to see. I left the meeting feeling included, even though I was clearly way down in the pecking order. I think much of that “spirit” from the early ASN’s survives in the meeting today, even though it is so much larger and more complex.   ​

ASN President Elect Eleanor D. Lederer, MD, FASN: If I had to describe my initial impression of the ASN Annual Meeting in one word, that word would be passion.  Everyone was excited, moving quickly from talk to talk, discussing new findings loudly, arguing openly.  Each talk was a forum for incredibly impassioned discussions, at once invigorating and intimidating.  I was overwhelmed but equally excited.  While the tone of discussion has settled down over the years, the passion remains.  I always leave the meeting fired up with new ideas and with my own passion for investigation renewed. 

Biosciences Research Advisory Group Chair Jeffrey H. Miner, PhD, FASN: My first Kidney Week was New Orleans 1996.  Although my postdoctoral mentor Joshua Sanes was invited to speak in a Symposium, as an eminent neurobiologist he had vowed never to give a kidney talk, so he offered me the opportunity instead.  I spoke in a Basic Science Symposium with a lineup of speakers whose names I did not know but who have since become great friends and colleagues.  To me this shows the power of ASN and Kidney Week to connect investigators from around the world and to promote the visibility and careers of young investigators who represent the future of nephrology research.​

Former ASN President Sharon M. Moe, MD, FASN: The first ASN I attended was in Washington DC when I was a second year fellow.  They were always in DC during that era.  It was freezing cold out, and I was staying in a cheaper hotel away from the conference hotel.   I remember not being able to feel my fingers when I finally got to the conference!   I also remember big names in my field coming to my poster and how excited I felt for them to ask questions. That memory is one reason I always try to talk to fellows and young faculty at their posters.  I still love the poster sessions more than free communications- that interaction is missed with the oral sessions.​

Former ASN President Bruce A. Molitoris, MD, FASN.  I was a second year fellow at Colorado, Bob Schrier was becoming President of the ASN, and I was working in the field of ischemic AKI.  It was extremely cold and windy, but the Saturday night Baxter Party for all attendees warmed everyone up.  The abstract sessions were packed and posters were a second class form of presentation with most abstracts presented in the standard 10 min presentation and 5 min for questioning.  The scientific/clinical exchanges during the abstract sessions were exciting to the point of being adversarial.  I distinctly remember a presentation on ischemic AKI using a 60 minute bilateral clamp model and the profound conclusion was that calcium channel blockers did not prevent severe AKI and death.  To me this was like giving CPR to a corpse as all other models used 45-50 minutes of ischemia and were recoverable.  Interestingly, we still use pre-clamp calcium channel blockers as a positive control now 34 years later in the same model.  Depressing is the fact that we still do not have a therapy for ischemic AKI.  

KHI Board Member James A. Sloand, MD, FASN: I was a second year fellow and freshly initiated into the basic nephrology research laboratory when I attended my first ASN. It was in our nation’s capital, which undoubtedly added to how humbled, privileged, and yet excited I was to be there.  I was in awe of the enormity of the international venue, the depth and breadth of cutting-edge scientific discovery presented, and the knowledge and expertise of the presenting global faculty. This ASN, and every one subsequent, has inspired and renewed my commitment to do my best to help patients with kidney and kidney-related diseases. This recollection also prompts fond recall of the support and tutelage received from my mentor, Dr. Rufino Pabico, both during fellowship and at this ASN. The unwavering encouragement and friendship provided to me and my young family by Dr. Rufi and Mary Jane Pabico will never be forgotten.

Public Policy Board and TPD Executive Committee Member Suzanne Watnick, MDMy first Kidney Week (although it wasn't called that) was Toronto in 2000. I remember watching Ron Falk lecture about glomerulonephritis, wondering how I would ever understand all the 'ins and outs' of therapy. Well, I still don't understand, but I hope to get there some day. I remember walking around the streets of the city at night, eating dinner with my co-fellow, Jim Wood, and smiling at all the pedestrians carrying 'ASN Renal Week' bags. It seemed like more of a movie than a meeting, with over 10,000 people there to learn about the kidney.  I felt inspired, I felt small, and I felt eager to learn more. And in that odd conglomeration of kidney-lovers, I realized I had chosen the right career. I still find it hard to believe that I get to do all of the things that I love - teaching, treating, and searching to make life better for those with chronic illness.

 

 

 

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In celebration of ASN's 50th anniversary, a number of ASN leaders have taken the time to remember what it was like to attend their first ASN annual meeting. We will continue to update this section throughout the year, and encourage you to send in your recollections of your first ASN annual meeting (info@kidneynews.org). 

Former ASN President Sharon Anderson, MD, FASN: In the good old days when it was held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, the ASN meeting was much smaller and more intimate, which was nice in its own way because you had a pretty good chance of running into everybody you knew. Now it has become much larger—as it should. There was less clinical science at the early meetings. Over time, it became clear that not only is clinical nephrology something we all continue to do,but we have a very large audience who are interested—perhaps more so than in the past—in clinical and translational science. Embracing clinical and translational science, by definition, helped to expand the society.

Former ASN President Thomas M. Coffman, MD, FASN: My first ASN was when I was a research fellow, back when the meeting was held at the Shoreham and old Sheraton in DC every year.  Even back then, I was amazed and impressed by the size and scope of the meeting…the sheer number of people from all over the world who were so intensely interested in the kidney and kidney diseases.  I must  admit that I was also a bit star struck seeing the icons of nephrology whose text books and papers I had read, like Barry Brenner and Bob Schrier, walking around looking at posters and asking questions.  It was a great opportunity to meet my peers from institutions around the country to compare notes and experiences over cheap meals at ethic restaurants and late night beverages.  Some of those people turned out to be life-long friends.  And I always came back home from the ASN energized, with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

CKD Advisory Group Chair Deidra C. Crews, MD, FASN, MPH: My first ASN Kidney Week was in 2004, in St. Louis. I was a 2nd year internal medicine resident at the time, and was able to attend because I received a travel award. I recall feeling overwhelmed, yet inexplicably energized by all the people strolling through the convention center. The meeting marked my first scientific poster--as a proud middle author. I remember sitting in some of the sessions and wondering if I would ever have the courage to go to the microphone and ask a question! My first Kidney Week truly placed a seal on my commitment to a career in nephrology.

Former ASN President William L. Henrich, MD, FASN: My first ASN meeting was a memorable trip, for several reasons. I was a medicine resident at the Oregon Health Science Center, and Bill Bennett invited me to accompany him to the meeting. We stopped in Chicago (Bill’s home) on the way east, and attended a Chicago Blackhawks game at the old Chicago stadium. The ASN meeting was at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, and I remember being struck by the camaraderie of the attendees --- famous leaders in medicine who obviously enjoyed being with their friends and sharing their observations. The respect they had for each other, even when they disagreed, was evident and made an impression. The positive interactions between the senior leaders and young people was also particularly energizing and inspiring to see. I left the meeting feeling included, even though I was clearly way down in the pecking order. I think much of that “spirit” from the early ASN’s survives in the meeting today, even though it is so much larger and more complex.   ​

ASN President Elect Eleanor D. Lederer, MD, FASN: If I had to describe my initial impression of the ASN Annual Meeting in one word, that word would be passion.  Everyone was excited, moving quickly from talk to talk, discussing new findings loudly, arguing openly.  Each talk was a forum for incredibly impassioned discussions, at once invigorating and intimidating.  I was overwhelmed but equally excited.  While the tone of discussion has settled down over the years, the passion remains.  I always leave the meeting fired up with new ideas and with my own passion for investigation renewed. 

Biosciences Research Advisory Group Chair Jeffrey H. Miner, PhD, FASN: My first Kidney Week was New Orleans 1996.  Although my postdoctoral mentor Joshua Sanes was invited to speak in a Symposium, as an eminent neurobiologist he had vowed never to give a kidney talk, so he offered me the opportunity instead.  I spoke in a Basic Science Symposium with a lineup of speakers whose names I did not know but who have since become great friends and colleagues.  To me this shows the power of ASN and Kidney Week to connect investigators from around the world and to promote the visibility and careers of young investigators who represent the future of nephrology research.​

Former ASN President Sharon M. Moe, MD, FASN: The first ASN I attended was in Washington DC when I was a second year fellow.  They were always in DC during that era.  It was freezing cold out, and I was staying in a cheaper hotel away from the conference hotel.   I remember not being able to feel my fingers when I finally got to the conference!   I also remember big names in my field coming to my poster and how excited I felt for them to ask questions. That memory is one reason I always try to talk to fellows and young faculty at their posters.  I still love the poster sessions more than free communications- that interaction is missed with the oral sessions.​

Former ASN President Bruce A. Molitoris, MD, FASN.  I was a second year fellow at Colorado, Bob Schrier was becoming President of the ASN, and I was working in the field of ischemic AKI.  It was extremely cold and windy, but the Saturday night Baxter Party for all attendees warmed everyone up.  The abstract sessions were packed and posters were a second class form of presentation with most abstracts presented in the standard 10 min presentation and 5 min for questioning.  The scientific/clinical exchanges during the abstract sessions were exciting to the point of being adversarial.  I distinctly remember a presentation on ischemic AKI using a 60 minute bilateral clamp model and the profound conclusion was that calcium channel blockers did not prevent severe AKI and death.  To me this was like giving CPR to a corpse as all other models used 45-50 minutes of ischemia and were recoverable.  Interestingly, we still use pre-clamp calcium channel blockers as a positive control now 34 years later in the same model.  Depressing is the fact that we still do not have a therapy for ischemic AKI.  

KHI Board Member James A. Sloand, MD, FASN: I was a second year fellow and freshly initiated into the basic nephrology research laboratory when I attended my first ASN. It was in our nation’s capital, which undoubtedly added to how humbled, privileged, and yet excited I was to be there.  I was in awe of the enormity of the international venue, the depth and breadth of cutting-edge scientific discovery presented, and the knowledge and expertise of the presenting global faculty. This ASN, and every one subsequent, has inspired and renewed my commitment to do my best to help patients with kidney and kidney-related diseases. This recollection also prompts fond recall of the support and tutelage received from my mentor, Dr. Rufino Pabico, both during fellowship and at this ASN. The unwavering encouragement and friendship provided to me and my young family by Dr. Rufi and Mary Jane Pabico will never be forgotten.

Public Policy Board and TPD Executive Committee Member Suzanne Watnick, MDMy first Kidney Week (although it wasn't called that) was Toronto in 2000. I remember watching Ron Falk lecture about glomerulonephritis, wondering how I would ever understand all the 'ins and outs' of therapy. Well, I still don't understand, but I hope to get there some day. I remember walking around the streets of the city at night, eating dinner with my co-fellow, Jim Wood, and smiling at all the pedestrians carrying 'ASN Renal Week' bags. It seemed like more of a movie than a meeting, with over 10,000 people there to learn about the kidney.  I felt inspired, I felt small, and I felt eager to learn more. And in that odd conglomeration of kidney-lovers, I realized I had chosen the right career. I still find it hard to believe that I get to do all of the things that I love - teaching, treating, and searching to make life better for those with chronic illness.

 

 

 

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