That was TANDEM 2023 – the ESNM Young Investigator Meeting

As with past TANDEM meetings, the goal of the 4th nEUROgastro TANDEM meeting in 2023 was to create a platform for building successful collaborations and to strengthen the exchange between clinical and basic research. Again, the team was very successful in creating a European network of young researchers and bringing together a new set of valuable expertise to gain new insights in the scientific field of Neurogastroenterology. Announced by the respective National Neurogastro Societies, GENIEUR network and ESNM, the nEUROgastro TANDEM meeting 2023 was held at Sir Royal Hotel in Bucharest, from August 28 to 30.

The organizing committee, headed by Chloé Melchior (MD, PhD, University Rouen Normandie, Gastroenterology Department and CIC CRB 1404, Rouen France) and Kristin Elfers (VMD, PhD, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Foundation, Germany), supported by a local team (Ion Bancila, MD PhD and Anca Dimitriu, MD, PhD from Fundeni Clinical Institute, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Bucharest; Oana-Bogdana Bărboi, MD PhD and Radu Alexandru Vulpoi MD from the Department of Gastroenterology, Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Iasi, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Grigore T. Popa Iasi) and under the adversative umbrella of Prof. Dr. Vasile Drug (ESNM steering committee member) has selected twenty participants originating from 10 European countries and being at different career stage and levels of education. The selection process was based on the applicants’ presented grade of motivation to engage themselves in a brainstorming project, their track records and reference letters. Thus, ten MDs were matched with ten PhD students according to their indicated main field of scientific/clinical interest, three months prior to the meeting. Each team was mentored by one member of the organizing committee, who advised them on how to design a translational research project based on common interests and available methods and the budget of 5,000€ and gave feedback on risen project ideas and preliminary presentations.
Finally, each team came up with a 20-minute presentation of their study at the nEUROgastro TANDEM meeting 2023. All presented projects were scored by the participants and the organizing committee, according to the following criteria: (1) innovativeness, (2) feasibility, (3) methodology, (4) budget planning, (5) presentation and (6) teamwork. The maximum budget to spent for each project was 5,000 €, which corresponded to the amount awarded, by ENMS, to the highest-evaluated winner project. This price money is intended as a start-up budget to be used by the winning team to generate the preliminary data necessary to apply for further grants.

In addition, the winning team had the opportunity to present their study its impact, novelty and potential during during the TANDEM session taking place at the main Meeting of the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility - NeuroGASTRO 2023 - at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Bucharest, Romania, from August 31 to September 2.

On behalf of the entire organizing committee, we would like to congratulate Mr. Lukas Balsiger (MD, PhD) and Ms. Ariadna Aguilar Cayuelas (MD, PhD), for convincingly combining their knowledge and ideas towards the creation of an innovative investigation study entitled: “Wheat effect on rectal mucosa of IBS patients: immune activation and clinical correlation”.
The scientific questions raised in the study outline, will be addressed in Lukas and Ariadna’s working countries, which are Belgium and Spain, respectively, including mutual visits. We are convinced that Lukas and Ariadna will present first promising results of their joined project at the next European NeuroGASTRO Meeting - organized in London, UK, in 2025. The nEUROgastro TANDEM organizing committee would like to particularly acknowledge the participation of Dr. Florencia Carbone and Prof. Qasim Aziz as invited senior speaker to the meeting, thanking them for their inspiring talks, which showed us how a successful career in the field of Neurogastroenterology can be developed and how to outstanding achievements can be reached.

Feedback given by all TANDEM participants by an anonymous survey, which results are partly presented in the figure below, clearly showed that all of them greatly appreciated and enjoyed the time spent together, highlighted the importance of this event for their scientific and personal development and indicated that they would recommend this event to other people.

Scores on the y-axis range from 0 (very bad) to 5 (very good)

Finally, in order to maintain the connections made during the TANDEM meeting and to establish further fruitful collaborations beyond it, the organizing committee will establish a group on “DocMatter”. This is an internet-enabled and human-supported collaboration platform for medical specialists to bring the structure of in-person learning online and the nEUROgastro TANDEM group will be under the umbrella of the already existing ESNM DocMatter group, enabling set up of collaborations, lively exchange, online educational events and engagement of young, promising (clinical) scientists within the field of Neurogastroenterology, particularly the ESNM in a long run.

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