Research Week 2021: It’s a wrap

Thousands of people logged on to join OHSU Research Week 2021 this week, May 3-6.

This year, the annual celebration of research at OHSU featured more than 180 talks, 20 sessions and four keynotes.  The Q&As were consistently lively, even with — or maybe because of — the Webex chat box.

Keynotes available online

The 2021 keynotes were each exceptional, and the recordings are all available online.

Kelsey Priest, Ph.D., M.P.H., graduating student from the OHSU M.D./Ph.D. program, delivered “Striving for just systems,” on Monday. The first half of her talk focused on her dissertation research on hospital-based services for opioid use disorder; she discussed conceptualizing addiction, policy and regulations and what just systems might look like. The second half of her talk was on gender violence in medical education. She discussed research on the national level, Title IX, rape culture, the current situation at OHSU and potential pathways to just solutions. It was a provoking kick-off to Research Week — the recording is available on Echo 360.

Michael Lauer, M.D., Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the NIH presented Tuesday’s keynote on NIH perspectives on extramural research in 2021. Dr. Lauer covered a lot of ground and, if you conduct research and weren’t able to watch live, we highly recommend watching the recording. He began by talking about the effects of the pandemic on researchers at various stages in their careers and what the NIH is doing to mitigate the damage. He then talked about responsible conduct of research, split into two parts: Conducting research responsibly and being responsible about the conduct of research. It was a rich talk and the recording is available on Webex . Cut and paste the url and use the password Mi4M29Bp.

Kelly Monk, Ph.D., co-director and senior scientist at the Vollum Institute gave the inaugural 2021 Brain Awareness Lecture as part of Research Week. Dr. Monk is a master science communicator and makes complex neuroscience accessible to the broadest of audiences. More than 250 viewers logged on to view her talk about her team’s research with zebrafish, a popular aquarium fish. Dr. Monk’s ground-breaking research has demonstrated that zebrafish, a popular aquarium fish, can reveal the inner workings of the nervous system. She shared insights on her team’s recent discoveries and how they are opening up opportunities to learn more about brain biology and neurological disease. The May 5 lecture is available online at

Science is the social justice issue of our times for Michelle McMurry-Heath, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). Dr. McMurry-Heath was named president and CEO of BIO, the nation’s largest life science advocacy organization, in May 2020. She began her keynote by discussing the organization’s new BIOEquality Agenda, and how it aims to attack the systemic inequality, injustice and unfair treatment of women and communities of color through the positive force of biotechnology. Her goal is to focus on justice through equity in diverse clinical trials, STEM education and expanding entrepreneurship to underserved communities. Her keynote will be posted online soon — we’ll update this post as soon as that happens.

Clinical Day

2021 marks the third year of the Portland Clinical Research Professional Conference during Research Week. It is organized by OHSU, Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, Oregon Chapter of Society of Clinical Research Associates and the Pacific Northwest Chapter of Association of Clinical Research Professionals and has grown each year.

There were four concurrent tracks running at the conference, including speakers in the Main Hall. The first Main Hall speaker, C. Estela Vasquez Guzman currently holds an OHSU Fellowship for Diversity in Research. She delivered the talk “D3: Achieving equity and diversity through dismantling, decolonizing and deconstructing racism in research.”

The conference is designed for clinical research professionals who have the role of ensuring the ongoing integrity of research within their institutions.

Innovation and Commercialization Day

Research Week wrapped up with Innovation and Commercialization Day and showcases of some of the exciting work that OHSU researchers are doing with the help of OHSU Technology Transfer and OHSU Collaboration and Entrepreneurship.

The Research Week planning committee thanks presenters, volunteers, student organizers Kayla Tabari and postdoc organizer Leire Abalde Atristain for making Research Week 2021 a success. We are looking forward to a live and in-person event in 2022!