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Two Kacena Lab trainees, postdoctoral fellow Amy Creecy, PhD, and PhD student Olatundun “Ola” Awosanya, were awarded for presentations at the 9th International Conference on Osteoimmunology.

Creecy and Awosanya awarded for international conference travel and presentations

Awosanya, second from right, stand with other award-winners holding her award

The IU School of Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was represented by students, researchers, faculty and postdocs at the 9th International Conference on Osteoimmunology: Interactions of the Immune and Skeletal Systems. The conference, held in Loutraki, Greece, features outstanding research on the connections and interactions between the immune and skeletal systems. 

“The first international conference I attended after I arrived at IU was the Osteoimmunology Conference held in Greece in 2008,” said Melissa Kacena, PhD, Vice Chair for Research and Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “The format of the conference provided an outstanding venue to share exciting scientific advances and have plenty of time to network with like-minded colleagues across the world.”  

This year, Kacena presented her research, titled, “Can AI be used to write credible scientific review articles?” She also brought her trainees into the conference mix. “When I saw the line-up of speakers and thought about my current trainees and their research projects, I felt this would be a great opportunity for several of them,” Kacena said. 

Kacena encouraged her trainees to submit abstracts to present their own research at the conference. Two of her trainees were selected for presentations at the conference – and given prestigious awards to do so. 


Creecy receives two international travel awards 

Postdoctoral fellow Amy Creecy, PhD, whose research focuses on bone loss and the effects of illness on bone health, submitted her abstract at Kacena’s suggestion. Fortunately, she was selected to present. “Dr. Creecy was invited for a podium presentation, which happened to be the first time she was selected for an oral presentation,” Kacena explained.  Creecy smiles for her photo in front of a brick wall

Creecy’s talk was titled, “Novel Role of Megakaryocytes in Bone's Anabolic Response to Loading.” Other department authors on this research included Sonali Karnik, PhD, Olatundun “Ola” Awosanya and Kacena. 

Creecy received two competitive travel awards to defray the costs of attending the conference. She received a $1,000 travel grant from the IU School of Medicine Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and a $1,500 grant from the IU Cooperative Center of Excellence in Hematology.  

Kacena was especially impressed by the discussions Creecy’s presentation generated. “One faculty member discussed developing a new research collaboration, which is one of the best outcomes that can come from presenting your research,” Kacena said. “I was very proud of how well Dr. Creecy represented my lab, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Indiana University.” 


Awosanya receives the Aegean Conference Poster Presentation Award  

Awosanya, biology PhD student and Kacena Lab trainee, also presented her research at the conference. Her poster was titled, “Infection with SARS-CoV-2 Differently Impacts Bone Loss and Subsequent Bone Gain based on Site Examined and Sex.”  Ola Awosanya stands aside her award-winning poster

“I was delighted that Ola was also able to attend and present her findings at the Osteoimmunology conference,” Kacena said. This was Awosanya’s first international travel, making the experience especially meaningful.  

Awosanya received the Aegean Conference Poster Presentation Award. Her poster presentation earned ample recognition and a $750 award. Kacena noted how well-received Awosanya’s presentation was. 

“Several faculty members suggested additional research approaches for her to successfully complete her research program, and she is already working to implement some of these ideas,” Kacena said. “I was very excited to learn the organizing committee selected her as a winner for her outstanding poster presentation, a well-deserved honor!” 

To Kacena and other department leaders, the conference and others like it are integral for training the next generation of researchers. “As a trainee, these experiences are crucial to developing presentation skills, networking and learning about advances in the field.” 

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Keeley Higley

Keeley Higley is the communications generalist for the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.