TMS Research Scientist goes to The American Initiative on Mast Cell Diseases (AIM) Conference

By Shonna Snyder, Research Scientist


It was an honor to represent TMS and the Research Committee at the American Initiative on Mast Cell Diseases’ (AIM) Conference in Boston, MA this year. It was my first time attending this conference in person and I have to say that it is an impressive conference where established and up-and-coming experts in mast cell diseases and mast cell biology come together to learn from each other and to move the field forward. I met many physicians and scientists who authored the articles I’ve been reading. Over the course of two days, I was able to learn much more from them regarding diagnosis, comorbid conditions, genetics, and many other topics. 

The conference opened with a speech from Dean Metcalf in honor of being selected as the recipient of the K. Frank Austin Lifetime Achievement Award. This retrospective overview of Dr. Metcalf’s esteemed career set the stage for the rest of the conference, where cutting edge findings were presented and discussed. Scientists from around the globe spoke about the latest findings regarding a plethora of topics surrounding mast cell diseases, including diagnosis, testing, impact on brain, and development of novel therapeutics. The presentations as a whole demonstrated the large advances being made in understanding and treating mast cell diseases.

I presented two posters at the conference on behalf of TMS. The first, titled “Mast Cell Disease in the Pediatric Population: A Needs Assessment,” summarized data from the 2020 needs assessment, and told the story of a pediatric population and their needs. The second, titled “Experiences of Patients with Mast Cell Diseases During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Survey,” included data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic that captured the experiences of patients with mast cell diseases. Those data are on their way to publication now, and the posters will be posted on our website soon. It was a great honor to represent TMS at this conference. And I would also like to thank the conference organizing committee for the travel scholarship that I was awarded to attend the conference and present the work of TMS.


My big take-away is that there are many doctors and researchers who are trying to help as many patients as possible with these diseases. They are devoting their life’s work to it, and I am proud of their courage, commitment, and love for their patients. Rare diseases are not only hard on the patient, but time consuming and taxing for the physicians as well. To them I say, keep up the hard work, TMS is in your corner.


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