IFMRS Update February 2021 Final

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CEO's update

Dear all,

I’m delighted to open this first newsletter of 2021, and of the first year of our new Strategic Plan, by welcoming a new member organization – the Danish Bone Society – and a new affiliate member organization – the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) to our growing community.

Our federation is becoming increasingly global, and increasingly representative of all aspects of musculoskeletal research. The momentum which we gained in the second half of 2020 is continuing, and I dare say even gathering pace.

When people or organizations choose to join a bigger membership body, one of their key considerations is around  “value”. This is often expressed as a quid-pro-quo: what is the value, to me, of being part of this organization? 

This is both normal and reasonable. Any membership body seeking strength in diversity, and wishing to operate to by anything other than diktat – which is rarely advisable - needs to constantly bear this in mind. “Value” can, however, mean different things. In healthcare, for example, the emergence of “value-based healthcare” has led to a far more holistic and sophisticated understanding of healthcare systems than the more traditional view of “value” as value-for-money. The interesting thing about value is that it always pushes us to look at the bigger picture, and to move from the transactional to the relational, and from short-term, specific interests to long-term, collective ones. 

There are many ways that a global alliance like the IFMRS adds value to each of its member organizations: the facilitation of dialogue and shared learning, a stronger collective voice, a truly global reach – all of which are captured in our 3 key pillars of network, knowledge and influence. But there is also a bigger value, which is generated by different people and organizations sitting around the same (virtual) table: the value of common purpose. This can be very powerful, and it is what ultimately makes the difference between a talking shop and a genuine collective force. But it only happens if every participant sees themselves as part of a bigger effort that can only be achieved collectively. 

I’ve seen this work, and achieve great things, at both the national and international level. I think we’ve got that today, in the IFMRS. But it needs constant nurturing, and it needs all of us to be ambassadors for a collegiate, inclusive, big-picture way of working. 

And so to our plans for 2021. We’ve already remarked on the importance of digital communications to everything we do, and I’m delighted to welcome Zachi Brewster to the role of Digital Communications Officer. Zachi will be working with me and many of our members to improve all our communications, and to continue to build HubLE and the MSK Knowledge Portal in particular to be the first-class knowledge hubs they can and aspire to be. 

In March we’ll be hosting three virtual workshops as part of “H. Fleisch Week”, which takes the place of our weekend-long H. Fleisch Workshop, now taking place in Bruges, Belgium, next year. These workshops are free to all members of our member societies, and while they are particularly aimed at early or mid-career researchers, we’re sure that they will also be of interest to a much broader musculoskeletal and research audience. Registration is now open, so please take a moment to visit our website and sign up!

We’ve also got plans for at least one virtual roundtable in the first half of the year, and we’ll be starting to make our voice heard alongside the G-MUSC as we kick off our influencing workstream.

Finally, please check out the range of events from our member organizations, and be sure to keep telling us what you’re planning, so we can help to amplify it either through this newsletter or through social media.

Thank you! 

Federico Moscogiuri



H Fleisch Week: What is it and how can you get involved?

Christa Maes
Associate professor, KU Leuven, Belgium
Co-organizer of the IFMRS Herbert Fleisch Workshops

In the middle of our preparations for the 4th Herbert Fleisch Workshop, planned to be held in Brugge, Belgium, in March 2021, the world was hit by the coronavirus pandemic. With regret, the inevitable decision was taken to postpone the live conference to March 2022, as the current situation does not yet allow us to gather for this cosy and invigorating in-person meeting. However, in keeping with the aim and the spirit of the Herbert Fleisch Workshop tradition to bring together excellent international investigators and young and mid-career scientists working in musculoskeletal research for vigorous exchange of knowledge, expertise and ideas, we decided with the team of organizers and the IFMRS to host three virtual workshops in the week of 15-19 March 2021 – Herbert Fleisch Week

The workshops are designed to offer guidance in practical aspects of mouse genetic models for bone research and the handling and use of big data and multi-omics in the musculoskeletal field. In addition, it will inform by example, by way of the exceptional track of successful drug development in the recent history of our field, covering the journey from rare bone diseases over basic mechanistic investigations in mice and all the way onto the treatment of people suffering from osteoporosis; Needless to say, this is the story of the Wnt signaling pathway in bone and the development of sclerostin inhibiting antibodies.

Please don’t hesitate to sign up for these Virtual Herbert Fleisch Workshops– for free – via the IFMRS website, and please help spread the word.These workshops will be led by experts in the field of musculoskeletal research, and in particular they are designed to be stimulating and engaging as well as informative, with breakout rooms for discussion and debate, questions and answers, following the presentations.

Creating a community feeling and maximum interactions in a non-intimidating, friendly and collaborative atmosphere has been one of the key ingredients of the successful previous Herbert Fleisch workshops, held in 2014, 2016, and 2019. This warm sense of collegiality has been helpful in facilitating new collaborations, as well as nurturing friendships among attendees, and in some cases, it even brought new job opportunities to young scientists! The major second hallmark of the meetings has in fact been to support the young scientists in the field, as also echoed in the naming of this event in honour of the late Herbert Fleisch. He used to organise the legendary Davos workshops that were notably supportive and encouraging of early-stage researchers in bone biology and pathology - something that I remember very well from my own days as a student, and will always think fondly of.

In keeping with this legacy, the main goal of the Brugge meetings was to address the needs of early- and mid-career researchers – PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and early faculty members. How? by giving them a forum to present their in-progress work and help establish themselves, to network through inspirational data discussions and social gatherings, participate in interactive methodological sessions, and receive feedback and constructive advice from their peers and from a small group of senior, experienced investigators, who served to encourage, inform and mentor them. 

The ancient and enchanting city of Brugge has of course been a most wonderful place to hold such a meeting, and to establish an interactive, small and attractive Gordon Conference-style workshop, right in the center of Europe. We hope to be able to welcome you back in this lovely place in 2022 for the real, face-to-face, meeting experience. And perhaps, afterwards, elsewhere in the world too. 

Until then, please stay safe and healthy, and enjoy connecting to each other online during one or more of the Herbert Fleisch Week Virtual Workshops! 


Registration now open

The Herbert Fleisch Workshops are designed to bring together excellent international investigators and young and mid-career scientists working in bone and cartilage research, for vigorous data discussion and networking.

During the week of 15 March 2021, the IFMRS will be hosting three virtual workshops of 90 minutes, led by experts in the field of musculoskeletal research.

These free workshops will include one or more presentations followed by a facilitated discussion, and are certain to be informative, stimulating and engaging.

Register here

Workshop 1 - Monday 15 March, 14:00 (UTC)

From Rare Bone Diseases to the Development of Drugs for Common Diseases: The Story of Sclerostin Inhibition:

  • Sclerosteosis and Van Buchem disease - Dr Natasha Appleman-Dijkstra
  • Animal models which helped understand the Wnt signaling pathway, with focus on sclerostin - Prof Martina Rauner
  • Sclerostin inhibition in the treatment of osteoporosis - Prof Kenneth Saag

Workshop 2 - Wednesday 17 March, 21:00 (UTC)

Multi-OMICs in Musculoskeletal Research: Ways to Access and Learn from Big Data

Dr Jennifer Westendorf

Workshop 3 - Friday 19 March, 13:00 (UTC)

Genetically Altered Mouse Models

Dr Florent Elefteriou

Updates to the IFMRS Musculoskeletal Knowledge Portal

The Musculoskeletal Knowledge Portal (MSK-KP; continues to grow, now including 117 genetic association datasets for musculoskeletal traits and diseases as well as for other relevant traits.

The MSK-KP allows you to explore association results, epigenomic data, and the results of computational methods for any gene, variant, or genomic region of interest. The developers welcome comments and suggestions; please give the MSK-KP a try and use the "Contact" menu to leave feedback.


ASBMR Invites Students to Enroll in New Cohort Program:

ASBMR is pleased to announce a new cohort program designed for undergraduate, graduate, and medical professional students involved in the bone, mineral, and musculoskeletal field. This cohort program provides accepted applicants with select ASBMR membership benefits and monthly educational and networking activities. Click here for further details about the ASBMR Student Cohort Program.

Don’t Miss February ASBMR Webinars on Children with Metabolic Bone Disease, the Skeletal Muscle Clock

Join ASBMR on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST for the webinar “Dilemmas in Clinical Practice: Approach to the Child with a Metabolic Bone Disease,” presented by Alison Boyce, M.D. This webinar will provide an overview of the clinical approach to pediatric metabolic bone disorders. Topics will include presenting signs, risk factors, and indications and methods for assessing bone density. Dr. Boyce will discuss when and why to consider osteoporosis therapy in children, including benefits, risks, and knowledge gaps. Click here to register for the webinar, and for more information about the speaker.

Another webinar, “Emerging Areas in Basic Science: The Skeletal Muscle Clock,” presented by Karyn Esser, Ph.D. will occur on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 11:00 AM EST. This webinar will provide an overview of the circadian clock with a specific focus on its role in skeletal muscle. Dr. Esser will discuss the clock, the muscle clock transcriptional output, changes with age and the influence of exercise. Click here to register for the webinar, and for more information about the speaker.

2021 ASBMR Rising Star Award Program Launches this Month

Applications for the 2021 ASBMR Rising Star Awards will launch on Thursday, February 4, 2021. The ASBMR Rising Star Awards provides funding to promising young scientists and physician-scientists members in the bone field who have already been recognized by individual U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) “K awards” and other similar international professional development programs. The award provides additional funding to the recipient to successfully implement their programs, to progress beyond the current specific aims in order to renew their project, and stay in the field and transition to independent investigators. Grant submissions can be basic, clinical or translational and the primary focus must be on bone, mineral and musculoskeletal research. Click here for further details on the ASBMR Rising Star Awards.


The International Society for Clinical Densitometry is hosting a fully Virtual Annual Meeting - Global Excellence Through Densitometry in the Digital Era.

The ISCD 27th Annual Meeting provides a forum for the exchange of the most current and new clinically relevant and evidence-based information and research regarding skeletal health assessment. 

Additionally, prevention, diagnosis and treatment (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) of osteoporosis and fracture risk is a major focus.  As technology continues to evolve and advance, this educational program will delve into the use of artificial intelligence tools that have the potential to capture underlying trends and patterns, while also covering machine and deep learning used to model the risk of fracture.  This educational program is designed to enhance learner competence by providing targeted learning opportunities to enhance knowledge which learners may begin to use in their professional practice.  

The meeting will be held March 3-6. Registration is now open!


ECTS Digital Congress

The ECTS 2021 Annual Meeting will go ahead as a Digital Congress. Join us for this virtual event where we will celebrate science in an extensive and rich scientific and educational programme:

  • Live Prime Time: 3 full days of live virtual event from 6-8 May 2021
  • ECTS@Home: a series of educational sessions running on 19-20 May, 10-11 June, 18 June 2021
  • ECTS 2021 On Demand: opportunity to watch sessions from the Live Prime Time and ECTS@Home on demand, after the live session is being held.
Early bird registration fees deadline: 16 March 23:59 CET. Register here

ECTS training, courses and webinars

Bone Muscle & Beyond webinar series: a monthly webinar with presentations of recent studies and findings, case-based presentations, online assessments and live discussions with key opinion leaders and experts in the field. Upcoming webinars include:  View the full 2021 calendar.

ECTS Coffee Shop meetings: ECTS 2021 Training courses - Save the date! Registrations for the following courses will open soon:   

Join ECTS in 2021

Become member of a dynamic community in the musculoskeletal field which and take advantage from a wide range of benefits. Learn more about the membership benefits and join today. 


ECTS Digital Congress Joint ISBM Workshop – June 2021

We are pleased to announce that ISBM will be holding a joint workshop as part of the ECTS Digital Congress in June 2021 on Frontiers in Bone Morphometry from 9:00-10:30am CEST on the 10th June 2021. We will hear from esteemed speakers in the field, highlighting new advances in bone biology through emerging imaging modalities and analysis techniques: 

  • Frontiers in human bone morphometry – cellular responses to osteoporotic therapies  Prof. Thomas L. Andersen (ISBM President, Odense)
  • Ultra-deep intravital imaging – cellular cross-talk during fracture repair  Prof. Raluca Neisner (Berlin)
  • Multicolor 3D-mapping – cellular and structural organization of the bone marrow cavity  Prof. Timm Schroeder (Basel) 

The workshop will be interactive with each presentation followed by a live Q&A session chaired by Prof. Ralph Müller (Zurich) from ISBM and a representative from ECTS

We look forward to welcoming you to this session as part of the IFMRS community. For further information visit:

XVth Congress of the International Society of Bone Morphometry - Save the date!

Our next congress will be held in Odense, Denmark from July 10-13, 2022!


The 39th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Bone and Mineral Research

The meeting will take place from October 8-10 2021 in Kobe, Japan. Learn more. 


Kyowa Kirin - Gold Partner

Kyowa Kirin is committed to furthering research and knowledge in the field of FGF23-related hypophosphataemia, for example, by conducting an extensive Real World Data collection programme including running disease registries in over 30 countries, involving over 1,000 patients with FGF23-related diseases, including X-Linked Hypophosphataemia, and Tumour-Induced Osteomalacia. Learn more about this study here.

Kyowa Kirin thanks all its collaborating investigators and patients across the world in this endeavour and welcomes further proposals to join our Real World Data collection programme as well as suggestions for further studies.

We're exploring ways to add value to our members and the wider IFMRS community, and so we'd love to know how useful you found the content of this newsletter. 

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