Research Week keynotes: Translational research, diversity in biotech and abortion access

Leading voices in research will deliver keynotes during Research Week 2023, addressing women in biotechnology, the next 10 years in translational medicine, gut microbiota, AIDS research and abortion access.    

Monday, May 1, noon-1 p.m.

Research Week Keynote: The next 10 years: NCATS’ audacious goals
Joni L. Rutter, Ph.D., director of National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

Rutter was named director at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, or NCATS, in 2022. Since her appointment, she and her teams have established a set of ambitious goals — more treatments to all people more quickly and transforming all aspects of the biomedical research enterprise to reflect the diversity of the U.S.

NCATS was established to improve and transform the translational process, which develops observations made in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public. The Oregon Clinical and Translation Research Center at OHSU is funded by the NIH through the Clinical and Translational Science Award Program, which is run by NCATS.

Tuesday, May 2, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Kathryn Robertson Memorial Lecture in Global Health: Man vs. Helicobacter
Barry James Marshall, AC FRS FAA, Nobel laureate
Location: Robertson Life Sciences Center, Auditorium 3A001

The 2023 OHSU Kathryn Robertson Memorial Lecture in Global Health offers the opportunity to hear the story of a discovery that won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2005 and was heralded as the most significant advance ever made in the field of gastroenterology.

Barry James Marshall and pathologist John Robin Warren discovered in the early 1980s that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) causes peptic ulcers, rather than stress, spicy foods and too much acid. The discovery reversed decades of medical doctrine that gastric disorders had a physiological basis, rather than being infectious diseases.

Marshall went on to identify a drug combination that cures ulcers by killing the bacteria, which is estimated to infect half the global population.

Wednesday, May 3, 7:45 a.m.

Clinical Research Conference Keynote: Diversity in Research 

Keisha Robinson, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., assistant professor of practice, Southern Illinois University, and research specialist, Riverside University Health System

Professor and researcher Keisha Robinson, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., will discuss the role of diversity in higher education and public health industries, healthcare and research. Her teaching and research span behavioral and community health, epidemiology, disease prevention, health disparities and inequities dealing with chronic disease among women and minorities.

Thursday, May 4, 10 a.m.

Innovation and Commercialization Keynote: Imagine our world: Creating impact in biotechnology

Azurii Collier, Ph.D., director of Portfolio Innovation at AbbVie and national president, Women In Bio

The OHSU Innovation Day keynote is “designed to inspire,” said Collier. She sees barriers that reduce access and impact of women as crippling to biotechnology, because they reduce innovation. Eliminating these barriers will make space for women and Black women to transform both research science and the biotechnology industry.

Collier has nearly 20 years research and consulting experience exclusively in the life sciences industry. She has worked in discovery, technology transfer, proof of concept, startup, R&D, product management, supply chain and patient services.

Friday, May 5

2023 Northwest Women’s Health and Sex/Gender Differences Research Conference

9:15 a.m.

Translating science in medicine: The role of sex in the biology of non-AIDS age-related comorbidities

Igho Ofotokun, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Emory BIRCWH, professor of medicine at the Emory School of Medicine, and co-director of the NIH-funded Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Clinical Research Core

A clinician-scientist and author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, books and chapters, Ofotokun is devoted to caring for individuals living with HIV and to combating the long-term sequelae of HIV among vulnerable populations. His research has focused on the threat that age-related co-morbidities pose to healthy aging in persons with HIV and the disproportionate burden in women.

1:15 p.m.

Improving diversity in clinical trials: OHSU Women’s Health Research Unit approach

Marci R. Messerle Forbes, RN, MSN, ND, FNP, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, OHSU School of Medicine

Messerle-Forbes has a special interest in research, contraception and family planning, and colposcopy procedures. Her research focuses on contraception and family planning, menopause, pelvic pain and libido.

1:45 p.m.

Projected health and economic consequences of the end of Roe

Diana Greene Foster, Ph.D., professor in residence, University of California, San Francisco, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH)

Foster will describe who is affected by the Dobbs decision and the likely consequences for people who live in states with an abortion ban. Based on data from the Turnaway Study, she will discuss the long-term consequences for people who are unable to get a wanted abortion and carry a pregnancy to term.

Foster led the U.S. Turnaway Study, a nationwide longitudinal prospective study of the health and well-being of women who seek abortion, including both women who do and do not receive the abortion. She is leading a study of the health, legal and economic consequences of the end of Roe in the United States and a Turnaway Study in Nepal. She is the author of more than 120 scientific papers as well as the 2020 book, The Turnaway Study: Ten years, a thousand women and the consequences of having – or being denied – an abortion.