The 2017 Program Committee of the Teratology Society, partnering with the Developmental Neurotoxicology Society (DNTS) and Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), has arranged for an outstanding and expansive scientific program. In addition, this year, the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) Annual Meeting is taking place concurrently just a few blocks away and a joint symposium as well as additional opportunities for exchange have been developed.
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 Lunch and Learn Mini Course, so please register early!
Renal Development: Embryology, Renal Abnormalities and Teratogens, and Clinical Management and Treatment
Congenital anomalies of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, are among some of the most common birth defects, and these abnormalities can present a number of serious health problems for infants and potential chronic concerns into adulthood. This course will begin with an overview of prenatal development of the urinary system. Then developmental abnormalities of the kidneys will be described, and examples will be given of teratogens that can induce renal defects, including what is known of the mechanisms through which they act. Finally, the potential for prenatal screening and interventions and postnatal treatment to address the consequences of renal anomalies will be discussed.
Epigenetics: A Primer
Epigenetic changes have been found to be important in myriad biological processes, and our understanding of epigenetic mechanisms and development of tools to study them have grown and evolved rapidly in recent years. This course will provide attendees with fundamental concepts of epigenetics and knowledge of recent relevant advances. First an overview of the concepts of epigenetics and epigenetic mechanisms will be provided. The second talk will discuss the role of non-coding RNAs in epigenetic mechanisms. The third presenter will discuss what is known about the potential for transgenerational inheritance of epigenetic changes and what questions remain unanswered. The final presentation will cover the functional consequences of epigenetic changes, with an emphasis on potentially beneficial and adverse effects.
Lunch and Learn Mini Course
Epidemiology: Basic Concepts, Study Designs, and Practical Applications
This mini course will cover the basic concepts and study designs used in epidemiology. In addition, practical applications of epidemiology techniques will be described, with a focus on their use in the study of birth defects. While the course will be of interest to teratologists of all types, it will be designed to provide a basic introduction especially for those without direct experience in epidemiology.
Special Lectures, Recognition, and Awards
Josef Warkany Lecture
This award honors Josef Warkany, one of the founding members of the Teratology Society and recognizes a scientist who has significantly contributed to the field of teratology during his/her career. This year’s lecture will be presented by Jose F. Cordero, University of Georgia on Sunday, June 25 at 8:15 AM.
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 2017 Robert L. Brent Lecture will be presented on Tuesday, June 27 at 8:00 am by Jan M. Friedman, University of British Columbia
Thomas H. Shepard Lecture
This lectureship was initiated to honor Tom Shepard, a founding member of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists and a scientist who contributed greatly to the field of teratology.
F. Clarke Fraser New Investigator 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 recipient will give a presentation related to his/her research. It is intended that the presentation will serve as a demonstration to pre- and postdoctoral students of the development of an independent career in birth defects research.
James G. Wilson Publication Award
This annual award is presented in recognition of the best paper published in the journal Birth Defects Research and honors a founding member of the Teratology Society.
Patricia Rodier Mid-Career Award for Research and Mentoring
This award honors the legacy of Dr. Patricia Rodier, a past President of the Developmental Neurotoxicology Society and a Council member of the Teratology Society. The award is presented during the annual joint meeting of the Developmental Neurotoxicology Society and Teratology Society. The awardee will give a presentation related to his/her research at a jointly-sponsored session at the annual meetings. It is intended that the presentation will serve as a demonstration of independent mid-career research in neurobehavioral teratology, birth defects, or other related fields.
This year’s Keynote speaker is Larry Wolk, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Dr. Wolk is executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Since joining the agency in September 2013, he has overseen flood recovery, a federal shutdown, and the promulgation of the nation’s first air quality rules specific to methane reduction for oil and gas operations. His new frontier is addressing the myriad issues surrounding medical and retail marijuana. His lecture, Cannabis in Colorado: The Impact of Legalization on Children and Families, will take place on Monday, June 26 at 9:00 am.
Teratology Society and European Teratology Society Exchange Lecture
Collecting Data on Variation: How Important to Assess Developmental Toxicity?
Wiley-Blackwell Symposium—Developmental Metabolism: Consequences to and from Neural Lineages
During development, not only are anatomical structures being formed but biochemical and metabolic functions transition from maternal to fetal origin. Evidence is accumulating that environmental exposures during critical times of development can result in fetal reprogramming with potentially long term effects. This symposium will address factors affecting developmental metabolism and the potential impact of these changes on the nervous system. It will explore the underlying mechanisms of diabetic embryopathy, a spectrum of structural birth defects including neural tube defects (NTDs) and heart defects; apoptosis, as a mechanism of NTDs resulting from maternal diabetes; the relationship between the hypothalamic circuitry and feeding, insulin secretion and energy homeostasis; and using human neural progenitor cells to study the impact of environmental exposures on the developing CNS.
Pregnancy Registry Updates
RSA/FASD-SG, Teratology Society, OTIS, and DNTS Exchange Symposium—Evaluation of Fetal Risk in the Context of Multiple Co-Exposures
In contrast to carefully controlled models of single agent exposure, human studies are affected by the reality of simultaneous multiple environmental exposures that ultimately pose challenges for researchers interested in fetal development. This joint symposium, organized by members of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group and the Teratology Society, will bring together researchers from diverse backgrounds to examine the complexities of studying the effects of multiple prenatal exposures on development. The human “exposome” will be examined as a construct for this type of research and a primer on modeling the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of multiple exposures will be provided. The combined epigenetic effects of alcohol and nicotine on microRNAs will be discussed as one example. A second set of studies examining the combined effects of nicotine and cocaine will be provided to round out the discussion.
March of Dimes Symposium—The Complexities of Caring for the Pregnant and Lactating Patient with Chronic Inflammatory Disease: Maternal and Fetal Considerations
Chronic diseases in women of reproductive age affect a high proportion of pregnancies. There is an urgent need to develop a systematic and balanced approach to overall clinical care of these patients. The focus of the session would be on the real-life clinical challenges of caring for pregnant and lactating patients with chronic diseases. In many cases the chronic disease itself presents a risk to the fetus, and therefore maternal wellbeing as well as the drugs needed to treat that disease must be considered by both the clinician and the patient. Chronic inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases such as lupus, and asthma are prime examples. Presentations will cover what is known about the diseases including the effects of, and on pregnancy, what is known about the background risk for fetal outcomes, the benefit/risk of commonly used medications to treat the diseases, clinical practice guidance and case presentations. The symposium will include discussion on how this information is reflected in the revised pregnancy and lactation labeling.
Male Breast Health: The Role of Developmental Exposures on Childhood and Adult Outcomes
Male breast health is often overlooked as a public health issue but recent studies, including studies of male breast cancer rates at Camp Lejeune, have increased concern and interest. 2600 males will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and more than 400 men are expected to die from the disease this year. Environmental factors have been shown to play a role in the development of male breast cancer and of pubertal gynecomastia, a reversible high-prevalence condition that is considered clinically benign. This symposium will focus on the role of environmental factors in proper development of the male mammary gland and susceptibility to early and later life changes and disease. Presentations are organized to describe the state of the science regarding normal male mammary gland development and growth, male mammary gland effects after in utero exposure to environmental factors, mechanisms of pubertal gynecomastia, and the role of environmental factors in gynecomastia and male breast cancer as well as the relationship between the two health outcomes. Presentations include perspectives from both the animal toxicology and epidemiology in order to generate discussions on moving the field of environmental factors and male mammary gland effects forward.
Public Affairs Symposium—The Toxicology of Tobacco Smoke and E-Cigarette Use during Pregnancy
Maternal cigarette smoking has long been known to result in effects on offspring including lower birthweight and neurobehavioral effects. Continuing studies have expanded the list of adverse outcomes to include sudden infant death syndrome, impaired lung function, obesity, diabetes and others. Epigenetic analyses have elucidated consistent alterations of DNA methylation of metabolic and developmental genes in cord blood and placentae from smoking mothers. Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy has recently been associated with adverse birth outcomes, and paternal tobacco smoking has also been associated with epigenetic changes and adverse birth outcomes. There is now concern about “third-hand smoke” (residue left on surfaces in areas of smoking).
Electronic cigarette use (“vaping”) is increasing at near exponential rates among the young, with a perception by many that these devices are safe. Electronic cigarettes are best termed “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (“ENDS”) because of the variable concentration of nicotine in the fluid that is heated and vaporized for inhalation. There are also flavorings and multiple contaminants that have been found in ENDS vapor. Given that nicotine is arguably the most active developmental toxicant in cigarette smoke, better understanding of the risks of ENDS use during pregnancy is critical.
This symposium will provide an update on our understanding of the developmental toxicity of tobacco smoke and address the potential health effects
Global Burden of Disease: Mortality and Survival in Infants Born with Birth Defects
(Joint with National Birth Defects Prevention Network)
This session will examine patterns of infant mortality and child survival in infants born with selected birth defects. Trends in mortality among infants born with birth defects in western countries as well as internationally will be explored, with a focus on demographic and reproductive health risk factors. Presenters will make the case that birth defects prevention is a necessary component of international efforts to prevent under five mortality and reduce the global burden of disease.
Marijuana and Pregnancy
With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in several states and the fairly widespread use of medical marijuana, exposure of the unborn child, children and adolescents is increasing. However, most health care providers and consumers are not aware of the detrimental consequences of being exposed to marijuana early in development. This symposium will provide up-to-date information on the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy and during adolescence. A summary of the endocannabinoid system and its role in early brain development and development of neural circuits during adolescence will be presented. Effects of prenatal marijuana exposure and then adolescent exposure will then be discussed. Then, the therapeutic use of cannabinoids in childhood epilepsy will be presented. Lastly, policy issues and future directions will be presented.
An Update on the Zika Virus
In 2016, scientists confirmed that Zika virus was a cause of microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies. Since that time, much work has been done to better understand the level of risk and the full spectrum of effects associated with this new teratogen. This session will provide an update on the Zika epidemic and its effects, including information on the risks associated with Zika infection during pregnancy, neurobehavioral effects of prenatal Zika infection, and efforts to develop treatment strategies.
Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Professional Development Lunch Workshop
Student-Postdoctoral Professional Development Workshop is a brown-bag luncheon where trainees hear from researchers in industry and government about the experience and tips on effective communication. Short presentations are followed by an informal discussion.
- Effective Platform Presentations—Nicole Kleinstreuer will be presenting her experience in giving an effective platform session at a scientific meeting. Nicole Kleinstreuer is the 2016 F. Clarke Fraser award winner and won the 2010 and 2011 Wilson presentation awards.
- Effective Posters—Kary Ellen Thompson will give a talk on what makes for an effective poster presentation based on her experience judging numerous poster sessions.
- Discussion About Professional Settings Interactions—A brief round table discussion on professional interactions will follow led by the presenters and other teratology society members.
ILSI HESI Workshop—Redesigning the Embryofetal Developmental Toxicity Study: Evolution or Revolution?
Developmental toxicity testing of chemicals and drugs relies largely on animal studies implemented in the 1960s. Although test guidelines have been updated, the principal strategy for hazard identification and risk assessment has not changed. This workshop will report out on a two-day session sponsored by HESI to determine whether it is possible to re-design our approach to developmental toxicity testing using molecular and computational tools along with our vastly improved knowledge of normal and abnormal development. The talks will explore both revolutionary and evolutionary approaches to improving developmental assessment.
The Uses of CRISPR/Cas9 Technology Workshop
The American Association for the Advancement of Science's breakthrough of the year in Science for 2015 was "use of CRISPR/Cas9-gRNA complex for genome editing". Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR, pronounced crisper are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short, repetitive base sequences. A simple version of the CRISPR/Cas system, CRISPR/Cas9, has been modified to edit genomes. CRISPR/Cas genome editing techniques have many potential applications. This workshop will focus on how this revolutionary genome editing technique can and will be used to in medicine. Our first speaker Dr. Jacob Corn, Scientific Director at the Innovative Genomics Initiative, University of California, Berkeley, has been committed to pushing the boundaries of next generation genome editing for trans formative insights into fundamental biologies and to laying the groundwork for clinical and commercial applications of the technology. The potential of the technology is so great that bioethical concerns have been raised about the prospect of using CRISPR for germline editing. Therefore, we felt it important to follow Dr. Corn's presentation with a presentation on the ethical implications of a tool as powerful as CRISPR/CAS, Finally, our members and meeting attendees will be able to comment on this exciting new research tool.
From Front Page to the Digital Stage: How to Keep Research Relevant through Modern Media
Communicating scientific information to general audiences is essential to both protection of public health and effective advocacy for funding to support the research enterprise. The emergence of fast-paced, digital technologies poses new challenges in communicating complex science, but also offers new opportunities for researchers beyond traditional media outlets. Short presentations will focus on strategies used by the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) to promote strong science policy and funding for biomedical science, understanding deadlines faced by science and medical reporters, building productive relationships with the news media, and the key elements that make a good science news story. In addition, participants will learn how scientists are playing an increasingly important role in communicating science for industry and learn how to use images, video and animations to promote their scientific messages. The session will end with an extended panel discussion on traditional and digital technologies from op-eds to Twitter and Q&A for attendees to have their specific questions addressed by the expert panel. #talkingteratology
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.
Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Research Showcase
The Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Research Showcase is new and exciting opportunity for students and postdoctoral fellows to showcase their research. The showcase will take place during the Welcome Reception on Sunday, June 25, from 7:00 pm–8:30 pm and is open to all students and postdoctoral fellows assigned to a Poster or Platform Session.
The Spouse/Guest Meet-and-Greet event is a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers, touch base with past friends, and coordinate your plans for exploring everything that Denver has to offer. Please join us at 10:00 am on Sunday, June 25 in the Mt. Wilson A room at the Grand Hyatt Denver. The event will provide an opportunity for you to ask city experts suggestions for must-see attractions in Denver or have them answer any questions you may have about the city and its history. This event is free and open to guests of all registered attendees of the Teratology Society, DNTS and OTIS meetings.
TS/OTIS/DNTS 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 for guests. Badges and banquet tickets are required to attend the banquet.
As you can see, the 2017 program represents the great strengths of our multidisciplinary Society and presents something for everyone. We invite you to experience the excitement in Denver!