Active Voice: Q&A -- Dr. Scott Powers on 2010 Integrative Physiology of Exercise (IPE) Conference
By Scott K. Powers, Ed.D., Ph.D., FACSM

Active Voice is a column by experts in science, medicine and allied health. The viewpoints expressed do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Scott K. Powers, Ed.D., Ph.D., FACSM, is a UAA Endowed Professor and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida. He investigates effects of muscular exercise and inactivity on both cardiac and skeletal muscle. His research is focused on exercise-mediated changes in cardiac and skeletal muscle antioxidant systems and the role of these changes in protecting against ischemia-reperfusion injury. Dr. Powers has provided significant leadership in ACSM for many years, including a term as vice president in 1997-99. Dr. Powers is the program committee chair for ACSM’s Integrative Physiology of Exercise Conference.

It’s not too late to register for the 2010 ACSM Specialty Conference on Integrative Physiology of Exercise (IPE) to be held at the Eden Roc Resort in Miami Beach, Florida from Sept. 22-25.

In the last several years, Scott Powers, Ed.D., Ph.D., FACSM; George Brooks, Ph.D., FACSM; Ronald Terjung, Ph.D., FACSM and other ACSM leaders have developed a forum where scientists in molecular, cellular, and integrative exercise physiology can come together to exchange on the latest research in the field. What began as a proposal from the ACSM Research Advisory Committee in 2000 became the highly successful ACSM Integrative Physiology of Exercise (IPE) Conference in 2006. The inaugural meeting in 2006 topped 450 attendees, and the 2010 IPE Conference, to be held later this month, hopes to be even larger.

Dr. Powers is the chair of the 2010 IPE Conference. William Herbert, Ph.D., FACSM, ACSM Web Content Editor, had a chance to interview him for Sports Medicine Bulletin so he might share some of the origins, content and features of this unique ACSM conference.

Questions include:
  • Are there other special features that readers should know about?
  • Will the content focus at the IPE conference generally remain the same or differ each time the meeting is held?
  • Will members in other ACSM interest areas benefit by attending?
  • Can you share with us how this specialty conference originated and its development as an ACSM specialty meeting over the last several years?
This year’s IPE program includes impressive lectures by internationally eminent scientists and concurrent symposia on integrative physiology topics such as exercise metabolism, oxidative stress, and cardiovascular control. Are there other special features that readers should know about? In addition, will the content focus at the IPE conference generally remain the same or differ each time the meeting is held?

Dr. Powers:
I’ve tried to summarize the several highlights of the upcoming IPE conference elsewhere, due to space limitations in this commentary. Please visit the ACSM website for a full description.

Let me point out just a few features here: First, we have scientific poster sessions every day, which are unopposed to promote high participation, and one-on-one information exchanges by scientists, post-doc trainees, and graduate students. This is a key component of the conference, as experience tells us that the outstanding abstracts presented at this meeting will help shape new concepts that move us forward scientifically and prompt further research efforts to unravel the acute and chronic effects of exercise on molecular, cellular, and integrative systems. Second, another feature is that all of our symposia will include specific sessions devoted to applications of the newest basic and applied science to understandings of disease pathophysiology, as affected by physical activity, and how these advances should guide changes in clinical practice.

In terms of how content is planned and may change – for each of these IPE conferences, we gather a committee of approximately 15 of the most active and accomplished investigators in this specialty from around the world to decide content and extend invitations to speakers. In 2008, Dr. George Brooks, Dr. Michael Joyner (co-chairs), and I (chair) organized the planning committee. That group determined what content themes were most contemporary. While this process generally results in some recurring themes, it also leads to changes in scope from time to time to assure that we are addressing the hottest new topics.

This conference will be valuable for members working in basic and applied exercise physiology. Will members in other ACSM interest areas benefit by attending?

Dr. Powers:
Despite this being a specialty conference designed for basic and applied scientists, we purposely have incorporated features that add considerable value for members with broader interests. For example, the program should be most helpful to university professors wanting to update their instructional content for exercise physiology courses that they teach. In addition, we’ve designed certain sessions that will appeal to academic physicians interested in clinical practice implications, e.g., exercise-induced angiogenesis or mitochondria in health, aging, and disease. Finally, graduate and post-doctoral students training for research careers in exercise physiology will greatly benefit from this meeting, as they’ll have exposure to the most current science, unparalleled chances to interact with senior investigators in their field, and networking opportunities for purposes of career advancement.

Consistent with the ACSM mission, this IPE specialty conference represents an initiative that advances the science of exercise physiology and contributes to the scientific and educational needs of our members. You can still pre-register online for this conference; members wanting to register must first log in at the ACSM website.

Can you share with us how this specialty conference originated and its development as an ACSM specialty meeting over the last several years?

Dr. Powers:
The idea for the IPE Conference began as a topic of discussion within the ACSM Research Advisory Committee (RAC), which I chaired, back in 2000. At that time, several prominent basic and applied exercise physiology researchers, including quite a number who are ACSM members, were seeking a way for ACSM to take a leadership role in hosting a periodic meeting that would bring scientists together for in-depth lectures, debate and data-sharing on leading-edge research topics. A parallel line of planning had been advancing within the American Physiological Society (APS) and they offered a few Integrative Biology of Exercise (IBE) meetings beginning in the late 1990s. Not surprisingly, those IBE meetings were an inter-association development, with significant leadership from ACSM, as well as the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP). So, our thinking on the RAC was that it was the right time for ACSM to take the lead, at least for certain years alternating with the IBE conferences. This enabled us to offer an ACSM-perspective on content planning, increased our leadership in selecting eminent scientists from across the globe to speak in keynote and symposium lectures, and facilitated our efforts to bring outside scientists to an ACSM forum for dialogue. The result has become a high degree of cross-fertilization of research ideas in a specialty area – not unlike what ACSM has so successfully developed by partnering with other stakeholder associations in the sports medicine area, e.g., for the Advanced Team Physician Course.