A team from the HPS Network attended the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Annual Meeting, held May 17 – 22 in Dallas. The group was able to interact with more than 14,000 lung physicians, researchers, and representatives from pharmaceutical companies, at the HPS Network booth in the exhibit hall, and by attending some of the thousands of lecture sessions, scientific poster sessions and special events.

Donna Appell, Founder and Executive Director of the HPS Network, serves on the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable. She organized “speed dating” for early career physicians and researchers at ATS. Groups of five at a time came by each patient advocacy table and got a five-minute presentation about the disorder.

The HPS Network also held a reception for our researchers and physicians attending the meeting to give us all a chance to chat, network, discuss things we’d seen at the meeting that might be relevant to HPS and get to know each other better.

Numerous researchers presented scientific posters on their HPS-related research. Scientific poster sessions are much like a science fair for grownups. Giant ballrooms and meeting rooms are filled with rows and rows of bulletin boards. On each is a poster summarizing an experiment of one researcher, or research team. At appointed times, they stand by their posters and answer questions.

“It’s always exciting to me to look around the exhibition center and just take in how much research is being done on all aspects of lung diseases. Our own research might be a pebble in this sea of knowledge, but you never know what scientist, looking at something completely different, might have stumbled upon something that our researchers get excited about,” says Heather Kirkwood, “It makes me feel a little better as a patient to see so many brilliant people working to help us, and working to help everyone with lung disease around the world.”

The HPS Network team included: Donna and Ashley Appell, Carmen Camacho, Heather Kirkwood, Kristen Brantner and Candice and Crystal Sipe. Nancy Lee helped to prepare for the event, but was unable to attend because of the death of her sister.