The 2015 Program Committee of the Teratology Society, partnering with the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society (NBTS) and Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), has arranged for an outstanding and expansive scientific program. The program for the Teratology Society Annual Meeting includes education courses, workshops, cutting-edge scientific symposia, special lectures, and a student and postdoctoral workshop. There are also platform sessions and two poster sessions providing opportunities for open research communications and updates on the latest cutting-edge research. The sessions address newer concepts in the field and are likely to generate lively interaction.
Separate registration is required for the Education Course and the Sunrise Mini Course, so please register early!
- Education Course
- Session 1
Occupational and Environmental Exposures: Reproductive and Developmental Hazards in the Workplace and Home
The morning session offers a comprehensive review of occupational and environmental reproductive and developmental hazards, spanning pregnancy and early infancy. Course content will include a basic science to epidemiological overview of workplace and home-based exposures that highlights the importance of the timing and relevant levels of exposure, global regulatory guidelines and risk assessment, postnatal exposures, and how data and regulatory requirements are used to manage a pregnancy where an occupational exposure is a likely to, or has already occurred.
Why you should attend: To learn the impact of workplace and home hazards on reproduction and development, from basic science, epidemiological and regulatory perspectives.
- Session 2
Ethics and Ethical Conundrums
The afternoon session is designed to engage participants in the multitude of ethical issues surrounding birth defects research and practice. The course will introduce participants to fundamental ethical questions in research, then delve into emerging ethical conundrums facing researchers, clinicians and society including prenatal screening, preterm and small for gestational age babies, and assisted reproductive technologies and molecular eugenics.
Why you should attend: To learn and appreciate the ethical and patient/societal perspectives of birth defects research and practice.
- Sunrise Mini Course
Life in the Genetic Fast Lane: Gene Manipulation and Genome Editing to Understand Congenital Diseases
The Sunrise session will introduce participants to a variety of new genetic engineering techniques that can be used for genome editing, such as ZFNs, TALENs, and CRISPR, in a variety of model organisms. Participants will learn how these techniques are useful, as well as what their limitations are, and where the field is going in general. The second talk will address current and future applications of genetically manipulated animal models and targeted gene editing to the study of birth defects.
Why you should attend: To learn about exciting new genetic engineering techniques used for genome editing and their future applications to the study of birth defects.
Josef Warkany Lecture
Dr. Warkany was the first person to demonstrate that exposures to environmental chemicals are responsible for production of congenital malformation. His early studies culminated in the formulation of the scientific principles of teratology. This award recognizes a scientist who has significantly contributed to the field of teratology over his/her career. This year’s lecture will be presented by William Slikker Jr., National Center for Toxicological Research, US FDA
, on Sunday, June 28 at 8:15 am
The F. Clarke Fraser Award
This award honors F. Clarke Fraser, one of the founding members of the Teratology Society, for his many contributions to the field of developmental toxicology. The award recipient must be Teratology Society members who are within ten years of the date their last formal training and with evidence of a successful independent research career in birth defects research. The award will be presented on Sunday, June 28 at 1:30 pm after which the awardee will give a presentation serving to demonstration to pre- and postdoctoral students of the development of an independent career in birth defects research.
James G. Wilson Publication Award
This award is presented in recognition of the best paper accepted or published in l Birth Defects Research Part A or Birth Defects Research Part B during the previous calendar year. The award will be presented on Sunday, June 28 at 2:00 pm at which time the awardee will give a presentation related to his/her research.
Robert L. Brent Lecture
This lecture recognizes Robert L. Brent’s contributions to the Teratology Society and particularly to the implementation of the “Teratogen Update.” The purpose of the Robert L. Brent Lecture is to facilitate discussion of current hot topics in teratogen research during the Annual Meeting. The 2015 Robert L. Brent Lecture will be presented on Tuesday, June 30 at 8:30 am by Jan M. Friedman, University of British Columbia.
- Wiley-Blackwell Symposium
Are Human Skeletal Malformations the Result of Embryonic Arterial Dysgenesis?
There is a growing body of evidence from both clinicians and developmental scientists suggesting that a defect in the development of fetal vasculature is an underlying cause of congenital skeletal limb malformations such as deletions, deformities and duplications. A symposium on human skeletal malformations will provide an overview of normal and abnormal development of the arteries of the human limb, followed by presentations from clinicians and basic researchers which support a relationship between arterial dysgenesis and some common skeletal malformations. Basic research will also be presented evaluating these mechanisms in animal models, with an emphasis on common mechanisms of thalidomide and nonthalidomide skeletal teratogenesis. This topic represents a paradigm shift of the understanding of the origin of most human limb birth defects.
- Cerebral Palsy: History, Mechanisms, and Prevention Symposium
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive neurological syndrome characterized by impaired motor and posture function with onset in early childhood and with pre- or perinatal etiology. The prevalence in Western countries is ~2-3 per 1,000 live births and is thus a significant societal problem. This symposium will provide an overview of past and ongoing CP research, focusing especially on new developments in etiologic research, including work that takes advantage of new ‘omics technologies and of newborn blood archived after genetic screening, as well as newly discovered avenues to prevention.
- Genetic and Environment Interactions in Common Malformations Symposium
This session will present recent data on several common birth defects, highlighting interactions between genetic and environmental etiological factors. Speakers will provide a review of what's known about the etiology of each selected birth defect, with particular attention to how useful our current knowledge is (or is not) in a clinical setting, and how we can move the field forward toward better understanding of causes and prevention strategies. They will provide a variety of perspectives, including medical genetics, epidemiology, and animal models. Inter-disciplinary collaboration is critical to moving the field forward, toward more complex investigations, and more coherence across the various pieces of evidence that are generated. This session will attempt to foster dialogue that facilitates our understanding across disciplines, with the goal of increasing collaboration.
- March of Dimes Symposium
Perinatal Outcomes Following Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Joint with OTIS)
Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) including in vitro fertilization (IVF) account for 1 to 4% of all births in developed nations. ART involves not only hormonal therapies, but also the manipulation of gametes and the resultant embryo, which may have lasting impacts on the development of the offspring. This symposium will present the latest research on perinatal outcomes following ART, including the birth defect prevalence and neurological development in offspring conceived by ART. Other presentations include the epigenetics concerns in ART in both humans and animal models, an overview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s State Monitoring of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SMART) program, and perinatal outcomes of multiple births often associated with ART. This symposium topic is timely due to increased enrollment in ART programs, more data available on long-term health outcomes on offspring conceived by ART and recent advancements in the understanding of epigenetic effects.
- Public Affairs Committee Symposium
Microbiomes: An Underappreciated Organ for Teratologists (Joint with NBTS and OTIS)
This year’s Public Affairs Committee Symposium will explore microbiomes and emerging research showing how maternal and early infant microbiomes can affect development. This symposium will start with an overview of organ microbiomes (e.g., gut, vagina, mouth), and will then describe fetal microbiomes and how they can be influenced by amniotic fluid composition. Infant microbiomes will also be discussed and how they are affected by the type of delivery (C-section vs. natural) and nutrition of the infant. Other talks will include diet and obesity-induced changes in the microbiome and their relevance to the developing fetus, as well as neurobehavioral changes in offspring related to alterations in the microbiome.
- Paternal Exposures Impact Progeny Outcome by Altering the Sperm Genome and Epigenome Symposium
A wide variety of exposures, from environmental chemicals to drugs to stress or dietary modifications, affect male germ cells. These exposures may alter spermatogenesis, affecting testicular histology and germ cell numbers, or alter germ cell quality, with an impact on the paternal genome or epigenome. This symposium will focus on the impact of paternal exposures on progeny outcome. Speakers will discuss the underlying mechanisms by which paternal aging, everyday lifestyle, environmental factors, or commonly used drugs affect the male germ cell genome and epigenome and the long-term consequences of these modifications on subsequent generations.
- Reactive Oxygen Species, Oxidative Stress and Redox Signaling in Developmental Toxicology Symposium
Normal embryonic development requires a tightly controlled series of coordinated molecular events. Oxidative stress is one factor that can disrupt certain developmental pathways, and several teratogenic agents are known to induce oxidative stress. How oxidative stress causes specific teratogenic outcomes is currently an intense field of study. Emerging data suggest that certain developmental pathways have very specific redox balance requirements, which, if disrupted, can lead to specific changes in development. The Symposium will begin with an overview of reactive oxygen species generation, oxidative stress, and redox signaling in toxicology and will include presentations on how changes in the redox state of the conceptus can produce differential effects on the thiol proteome, activation of the Nrf2 pathway, and other important developmental pathways.
- Student and Postdoctoral Lunch Workshop:
Building a Successful Career in Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology
A lunchtime workshop will provide career development advice for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers followed by a focused panel discussion to address attendees’ specific questions. Speakers will represent government, academia, and industry to provide perspectives on training and skills needed for different career tracks. Speakers will also represent the diverse disciplines within the field of Teratology from bench science to epidemiology and clinical research. Specific topics include what you need to know no matter what career path you take; building a professional network; good laboratory practices; and career transitions.
- Regulatory Neurodevelopmental Testing: New Guiding Principles for Harmonization of Data Collection and Analysis Workshop (Joint with NBTS)
With increasing concern for the potential of xenobiotics to cause adverse neurobehavioral outcomes after pre-/postnatal exposures, neurodevelopmental findings have greater regulatory significance. The Regulatory Neurodevelopmental Testing Workshop provides an opportunity to develop more harmonized scientific approaches for analyzing, evaluating and reporting neurobehavioral and morphometric data included in the OECD 443 extended one generation reproductive toxicity guideline adopted in 2012 and the OECD 426 and US EPA 870.6300 developmental neurotoxicity test (DNT) guidelines. This workshop is also directly applicable to juvenile and pre-postnatal studies (ICH S5-R2) that are conducted more routinely for pharmaceuticals. Speakers and discussants from industry, academia and government with neurotoxicology and regulatory toxicology expertise will briefly describe neurobehavioral tests and general brain functions evaluated, discuss inherent and controllable variability, and suggest guiding principles for assessment of DNT data and selection of benchmark response levels that take into account the different levels of variability. Speakers and discussants will address shortcomings in data reporting and analysis encountered by regulatory authorities that affect scientific evaluation, and propose approaches to harmonize evaluation of data using different DNT endpoints as examples.
- Mechanisms of Postnatal Reproductive Development/Puberty, and Methods for Evaluation Workshop
Puberty is a period of critical developmental change, resulting in a reproductively competent adult. The signals triggering the neuroendocrine events of puberty onset are still not fully understood, but it is known that external factors can accelerate or delay this developmental clock, potentially causing adverse health effects. This symposium will focus on recent research assessing the effects of xenobiotics on the onset of puberty, including differences in signaling mechanisms between humans and animals, with the aim of understanding which animal models would be best for predicting effects in humans. In vitro, nonclinical, and clinical studies will be presented, highlighting work in males and females, mechanistic ways to evaluate onset of puberty, and the timing of puberty in children.
- ILSI HESI Workshop
Contraception in Clinical Trials
The workshop will address industry approaches to preventing and managing inadvertent pregnancy exposure in clinical trials. The session will focus on how nonclinical animal data are used to make decisions about contraceptive use in clinical trials; the governance processes set up by individual companies to promote consistency and compliance with contraception requirements; and methods used to determine drug-drug interactions between pharmaceutical agents and hormonal contraceptives. Finally, the management of data and evaluation of women who inadvertently become pregnant during a clinical trial will be discussed.
The Teratology Society is pleased to offer a venue for companies who are active in the field of teratology to meet with the Annual Meeting attendees. Exhibitors will be on hand to discuss how their products and services can help you achieve your research and professional goals. Plan to visit the exhibitors and learn more about their products and services during the Welcome Reception and both poster sessions.
Don’t miss the first networking opportunity of the meeting. This is an excellent time establish collaborative opportunities, interact with Exhibitors, and to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
TS/INA/OTIS/NBTS Joint Poster Session 1 and Poster Session 2
Attendees present abstracts during the poster sessions of the meeting. The poster sessions provide a relaxed atmosphere to interact with both trainees and established scientists while viewing the latest birth defects research.
Once the scientific sessions have ended, it is time to honor recipients of awards conferred during the meeting, celebrate the exchange of scientific ideas, and enjoy both new and old friendships formed at the Annual Meeting. The evening concludes as the Society’s President passes on the gavel to new leadership and everyone dances the night away.
Each Teratology Society attendee receives a ticket to the banquet with their meeting registration. The tickets are nontransferable. Additional tickets can be purchased at the registration desk. Badges and banquet tickets are required to attend the banquet.
As you can see, the 2015 program represents the great strengths of our multidisciplinary Society and presents something for everyone. We invite you to experience the excitement in Montréal!