The Bone Research Society (BRS), formerly the Bone and Tooth Society, was founded in 1950. It is one of the largest national scientific societies in Europe dedicated to clinical and basic research into mineralised tissues, and is the oldest such society in the world. An interesting account of the early history of our Society written by the late Maureen Owen can be found here https://boneresearchsociety.org/about/history/ .
BRS is a registered charity (number 1018837). Current membership is around 100, of which approximately half are research students or other young investigators. The participation of young scientists and clinicians is actively encouraged. In addition, the Society is proud to list several distinguished scientists among its honorary members. Subscription is £50 per annum for full members and £25 for students. Instructions on how to join BRS can be found here https://boneresearchsociety.org/membership/. Membership year runs from 1st April to 31st March, payable via debit/credit card or PayPal online. Queries about membership should be addressed to email@example.com.
The aims of the BRS are;
- To act as the premier forum for research into the calcified tissues, both clinical and basic, in the UK.
- To promote and facilitate the study and research of rare metabolic and hereditary bone diseases.
- To advance the education of the public about the science of calcified tissues and related subjects.
- To act as the main professional body for scientists and physicians researching calcified tissues, and to interact with other organisations on these matters.
- To hold scientific meetings to disseminate and discuss results from studies and research.
BRS has four officers, President, President Elect, Treasurer and Secretary who are elected on a two year rotation. Currently these posts are held by Jim Gallagher (University of Liverpool), Kassim Javaid (University of Oxford), Bronwen Evans (Cardiff University) and Isabel Orriss (RVC London) respectively. There are eight ordinary committee members elected by the membership on a three year rotation including two new investigator representatives, one of whom is a clinician and one a basic scientist.
The main BRS meeting is held annually, attracting a wide audience from throughout the UK and beyond. The presentations are traditionally balanced between clinical and laboratory studies. The meeting takes place over two days and consists of invited lectures from international and national speakers, selected oral presentations from submitted abstracts, a very lively poster pitching session, poster viewing, a debate and the Dent Lecture. The BRS Dent Lecture is awarded to someone who has made a major scientific contribution to field of bone research, either within the UK or internationally.
The format of our meetings has evolved and expanded over the past few years and we now hold an afternoon and evening of specialist workshops the day before the Annual Meeting. The Young Investigator Workshop and Muscle and Bone Workshops take place in the afternoon while the Rare Bone Disease Worksop is usually held over dinner and includes invited lecturers and presentations selected from submitted abstracts. We also hold public engagement events associated with our Annual Meeting, which can include public lectures on topics relevant to bone health and school events on aspects of bone biology. We have a special award dedicated to the memory of one of our former new investigator representatives, the Neil Mackenzie Award, to support members to develop public engagement initiatives around bone research.
Our Annual Meeting usually attracts around 200 attendees and over 100 submitted abstracts. Our recent meetings were held in Liverpool (2016), Bristol (2017) and Winchester (2018) and were all very successful. Sometimes, we hold our annual meetings in collaboration with other scientific societies and our next meeting will be joint with the British Orthopaedic Research Society and will take place in Cardiff from 4-6 September 2019 (https://boneresearchsociety.org/meeting/cardiff2019/). The meeting Co-Chairs, Bronwen Evans (Cardiff University) and Richie Gill (University of Bath), are working with fellow members of the meeting committee to put together an exciting programme. In 2020, we are planning to hold the Annual Meeting in Manchester, with Alex Ireland (Manchester Metropolitan University) as the meeting Chair.
BRS provides new investigator awards for the highest scored abstracts at the Annual Meeting and we also give awards for the best oral and poster presentations in clinical and basic research. Young investigators can also apply for travel grants to support attendance at UK and oversees meetings. Each year, we award up to four Barbara Mawer Travelling Fellowships to allow young scientists to spend time in another research group to benefit from specific expertise that is not currently available in their host institution.
In addition to our Annual Meeting, BRS organises a series of other events. The best established of these is the “BRS Clinical Training Course in Osteoporosis and Other Metabolic Diseases” (https://boneresearchsociety.org/meeting/brsosteo2019/), organised by Jon Tobias (University of Bristol) and Tash Masud (University of Nottingham). This three-day residential training course aims to provide clinicians working in medical specialties such as rheumatology, endocrinology, care of the elderly, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, respiratory medicine and clinical chemistry with the knowledge and understanding to manage patients with osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases. The course focuses on practical issues relating to patient management and is strongly recommended for anyone who treats patients with these disorders. A stimulating interactive format is employed combining lectures, panel discussions, debates and workshops. The course is suitable for clinicians of different levels of expertise, including doctors in specialist training, consultants, GPs and specialist nurses. The training course is endorsed by the British Geriatrics Society, International Osteoporosis Foundation, Orthopaedic Research UK, Paget’s Association, British Society for Rheumatology and National Osteoporosis Society.
In 2018, BRS provided support for the first time for a regional meeting, the Winter Research Symposium of the Edinburgh Musculoskeletal Group (https://edinburghmg.co.uk/winter2018/). We plan to support more regional initiatives in future years and we would be pleased to hear proposals.
In November 2017, we held a very successful 2 day training course in collaboration with the British Orthopaedic Research Society entitled “Basic course in bone and cartilage biology and disease” organised by Shelley Lawson (University of Sheffield) and Katherine Staines (University of Edinburgh). The course was designed for basic and clinical postgraduate students, postdocs and research fellows who were new to the field. We are hoping to hold another course in November 2019 and details will be posted on the BRS website soon.
If you are interested in musculoskeletal science research, you will find a home in BRS. We hope to see you in 2019 at our Annual Meeting in Cardiff, or at one of our training courses in Oxford or Sheffield.