ATS 2016 International Conference Features Keynote Series

ATS 2016 International Conference Features Keynote Series

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) is hosting the ATS 2016 International Conference  through May 18 in San Franscico, Calif.

This year’s conference will feature the ATS Keynote Series with eight presentations by world-renowned clinicians and scientists – including  Stanford scientist Dr. Brian Kobilka, who shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry with his former mentor Dr. Robert Lefkowitz.

Two keynotes will be presented 8:00 – 8:45 a.m. and will focus on milestones in pulmonary, critical care, sleep, and advances in respiratory medicine. Specific topics will include acute respiratory distress syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH).

“The keynotes, I believe, will give ATS members and the many others attending the conference a sense of some of the most promising scientific pathways and a preview of the future of respiratory medicine in key clinical areas,” said ATS President, Dr. Atul Malhotra in a press release.

Kobilka, on May 17, will address the difficulties of developing new drugs that target G-protein-coupled-receptors (GPCRs) –  the focus for which he and Lefkowitz shared the 2012 Nobel Prize. Because the majority of hormones and neurotransmitters act through a receptor in the family, GPCRs present targets for a wide variety of drug therapies, including beta agonists and other drugs used to treat pulmonary, critical care and sleep disorders. Although the area of study is promising, GPCR signaling is highly complex.

Other highlights of the ATS 2016 International Conference keynote schedule:

  • May 15:  Dr. John Stradling, FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Respiratory Medicine at Oxford University, on finding effective alternatives to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) based on the patients’ particular OSA phenotype.
  • May 16:  Dr. Avrum Spira, Professor and Director of Boston University Cancer Center, on how the first commercially available airway molecular test for detecting lung cancer was developed, and how it might serve as a model for identifying applications of precision medicine across a wide spectrum of pulmonary diseases.
  • May 18:  Dr. Serpil Erzurum, Chair of the Department of Pathobiology and Alfred Lerner Memorial Chair in Innovative Biomedical Research at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, on biomarkers that are being developed to measure asthma severity and treatment efficacy in individual patients.

Additional  keynote presentations:

Malhotra said keynote speakers were selected with considerable input from ATS members.


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