Spotlight: 2024 IDCRC Annual Meeting

2024 IDCRC Annual Meeting

From May 1 to May 2, the IDCRC hosted their Annual Meeting at the NIAID Fishers Lane Conference Center in Rockville, Maryland. Over 200 in-person and online attendees from across the Leadership Group (LG), Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU), and NIAID’s Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID), came together for two days with a robust scientific agenda aimed at reviewing progress, hearing updates from NIAID leadership, scientific presentations, and facilitating strategic discussions among IDCRC interest groups on a variety of topics. See below for the final meeting agenda. 


“It was great to gather in person again this year to highlight and celebrate the many scientific contributions and the extraordinary talent, dedication, and collaborative spirit of the IDCRC team,” says Monica Farley, MD, IDCRC LOC co-director and Annual Meeting facilitator.

Annual Meeting Day 1

Meeting attendees on May 1, 2024, heard opening remarks from Emily Erbelding, MD, MPH, DMID director, and David Stephens, MD, IDCRC LG PI, who presented the annual State of the Network address.

Attendees participated in 90-minute special interest breakout sessions, arranged according to the five standing IDCRC Expert Working Groups. The sessions included presentations from the EWG co-chairs on the current state of the concept pipeline, DMID branch representatives on their scientific priorities, and subsequent strategic discussions on potential high-impact IDCRC concepts in each of the focus areas. EWG groups also worked to prioritize ECPs in the current network portfolio. Summaries of these discussions will be presented at upcoming IDCRC monthly calls.

On Day 1, activities also included a poster session for in-person attendees for VTEU investigators to highlight results from active or recently completed research projects. A full list of the poster presenters and their poster titles can be found below.


The afternoon session for the full group focused on presentations of scientific highlights. These included talks from Hana El Sahly, MD, Baylor VTEU PI, presenting results from DMID studies focused on responses to H7N9 vaccines, and presentations from SDSU director and co-director, Elizabeth Brown, ScD, and Clara Dominguez Islas, PhD, showcasing the strength of the IDCRC unit in providing statistical expertise. In the SDSU talk, secondary research projects and novel data approaches for ID research were reviewed, specifically using data from the DMID 2021-0012 Mix and Match study.

The afternoon also allowed for several breakout sessions for IDCRC team members, including current protocol teams, early-stage investigators, IDCRC/VTEU administrators, and coordinators. These smaller group discussions provided team members the opportunity to meet in person (some for the first time!) to network and discuss topics of mutual interest, including special guests, and interact in a more intimate setting.

The day’s activities ended with the annual IDCRC Reception, hosted by Emory University at the Canopy by Hilton North Bethesda/Washington D.C. hotel. The event allowed for additional networking and conversation among in-person attendees, as well as the opportunity to present the second-annual IDCRC Award winners.


Annual Meeting Day 2

Day 2 of the meeting was just as exciting and productive as Day 1, featuring short presentations from each of the ten VTEUs, highlighting their progress over the last year. These presentations were supplemented by individual VTEU infographic reports that were included in the meeting program.


Additionally, the group heard two more presentations highlighting the science being conducted throughout the network, from Andrew Cox, MD, PhD, (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, current MCDC member, and pilot award recipient), on “Natural killer cell restraint of vaccine responses is determined by T cell positioning” and a study update from Wilbur Chen, MD, MS, (University of Maryland, Baltimore and chair of the DMID 20-0024 “Mening Mali” protocol, for which an interim study report submitted to the WHO contributed to the SAGE recommendation that all countries in the African meningitis belt introduce the novel pentavalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine targeting serogroups A, C, Y, W and X (Men5CV) into their routine immunization programs in a single-dose schedule at nine to 18 months of age.  

Stephen Thomas, MS, PhD, Presentation

The day also featured an outstanding and highly compelling presentation from special guest, Stephen Thomas, MS, PhD, titled “Building Bridges, Building Trust, Building Healthy Communities: Transforming Black Barbershops and Salons into Trusted Information Centers for Clinical Trials.” 

Dr. Thomas is a professor of health policy and management and the director for the Center of Health Equity at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. He is one of the nation’s leading scholars in the effort to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. His work focuses on understanding how social context shapes attitudes and behaviors of underserved, poorly served, and never-served segments of our society toward participation in health promotion and disease prevention activities.

His talk highlighted the community-based intervention he developed called “The Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR)," aimed at creating an infrastructure to engage barbershops and beauty salons in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Baltimore City as culturally relevant portals for health education and delivery of public health and medical services in the community. He used this model during the COVID-19 pandemic to lead the “Shots at the Shop” program, which engaged 1,000 Black-owned barbershops and hair salons nationwide to act as health advocates by assisting their clients in making informed COVID-related decisions, dispelling misinformation, and hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics in their shops.

Bringing Health Care to the Barber's Chair

Building community health research starts with trust, partnership

Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead

The annual meeting wrapped up with a presentation from NIAID Director, Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH, who provided updates on the NIAID budget, ongoing work on developing a new strategic plan, as well as her perspectives on the recent H5N1outbreak.

"Our annual IDCRC meeting in 2024 was another success for this group. It is invigorating to meet in person, to hear exciting scientific advances presented by early-stage and senior investigators in our network, and to discuss how to address NIH/NIAID scientific priorities.  We have already heard from many of you that networking opportunities and discussions with IDCRC members and NIH/NIAID were meeting highlights. We fully agree. Thanks to all for making the 2024 IDCRC meeting such a big success!” —Jodie Dionne, MD, MSPH, IDCRC LOC co-director and Annual Meeting facilitator

Dates for the 2025 Annual meeting are currently being finalized, and we look forward to sharing them with you soon. Stay tuned!