Organized by the Education Committee,
Chairperson: Terry C. Hrubec, E. Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine
The microbiome is constantly changing, and several variables affect its development and content. Features of the intestinal microbiota can affect the development of the brain, immune system, and lungs, as well as body growth. This course will explore the role of the microbiome in development.
Maternal and offspring demographic characteristics are associated with birth defects prevalence and outcomes, but the causes of these disparities are poorly understood and little discussed. This session will address the epidemiology of congenital anomalies in minoritized populations. How factors such as race, ethnicity, insurance status, neighborhood characteristics, and public health policy relate to the prevalence of birth defects and to survival among affected infants and children will be discussed. Recommendations for leveraging birth defect surveillance data to understand and mitigate birth defect disparities will be provided. The session is intended for researchers, clinicians, and public health professionals interested in birth defects or the health outcomes of people belonging to minoritized populations.
Voluntary Folic Acid Fortification Policy of Corn Masa Flour and Tortillas in the US and Ethnic Disparities in Blood Folate Concentrations Among Women of Reproductive Age and Prevalence of Neural Tube Defects
Vijaya Kancherla, Emory University
9:45 AM–10:15 AM
Ethnic Enclaves and Congenital Anomalies in Texas
Jeremy Schraw, Baylor College of Medicine
10:15 AM–10:30 AM
10:30 AM–11:00 AM
Congenital Anomalies among American Indian and Alaskan Native People in Oklahoma
Amanda Janitz, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
11:00 AM–11:30 AM
Using Birth Defects Surveillance Data to Understand and Address Health Disparities
Wendy Nembhard, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
The Professional Development Workshop on Science Communication is designed for beginning and experienced scientists and will provide advice and techniques on how to effectively communicate complex scientific concepts, research, and the impacts of that research. Attendees will learn key attributes of an “elevator pitch” to simplify complicated science for short and effective communication. Practical exercises will be included to develop key messages and adjust the delivery of a presentation based on the audience and purpose. This workshop is organized by the Student Affairs Committee. Attendees of all career stages are encouraged to participate. Separate registration is required to attend this workshop. Trainees may register at no additional charge, and other attendees pay a nominal fee.
Chairpersons: Christine P. Curran, Northern Kentucky University; and
Rajesh C. Miranda, Texas A&M Health Science Center
Prevention of birth defects begins with understanding the exposures and biochemical pathways that lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. This symposium will include a discussion of widespread exposures and their interaction with signaling molecules that are crucial to normal embryonic and fetal development. Session speakers will discuss the role of common exposures on specific pathways associated with neural development and function as well as other critical organ systems. A variety of model systems will be reviewed with a discussion of their value and how data collected can be used in risk assessment and regulation.
Chairpersons: Seth M. Weinberg, University of Pittsburgh; and
John R. Shaffer, University of Pittsburgh
We have seen incredible progress in our understanding of how genes and environmental factors impact facial variation, from the subtle features that give us our unique appearance to life-altering malformations. This is due in part to groundbreaking advances in imaging, computational modeling, and genome-altering technologies. In this interdisciplinary symposium, we examine the complex forces that give rise to facial morphology and dysmorphology—specifically orofacial clefting.
Spina bifida (SB) is the most frequently encountered neural tube defect (NTD). Up to 70% of NTDs are attributed to genetic factors, while the intrauterine environment tips the balance to neurulation failure in at-risk individuals. Despite aggressive campaigns for folic acid (FA) supplementation and fortification of the food supply in over 85 nations, there are substantial gaps in understanding the risks and mechanisms that underlie SB. These gaps limit efforts to find more effective treatment and prevention going beyond FA. Indicators for a genetic component are many, and while NTDs can be familial after one SB-affected pregnancy, the recurrence risk is 1 in 20 and even after two affected pregnancies, the recurrence risk does not rise above 10%, strongly arguing against a monogenic causation. Pharmaceutical compounds including anti-seizure medications have long been known as risk factors for SB, more recent concerns with anti-retroviral drugs have focused attention on the need for continued vigilance at home and abroad. Finally, the impact of fetal surgery to mitigate some of the comorbidities associated with SB are more widely accessible and the opportunity to optimize outcomes is well within our reach.
The placenta is a critical organ of fetal origin existing only during pregnancy. It serves as the exchange network between the mother and developing fetus, mediating the transfer of nutrients, oxygen, blood, waste, and pharmaceutical and environmental chemicals. Proper development and function of the placenta is critical for fetal growth and the health of the mother. Indeed, many adverse pregnancy outcomes are due to placental insufficiency or dysfunction, a condition during which the placental function is limited or deteriorated, leading to reduced inappropriate transplacental transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. Placental insufficiency can lead to pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth retardation, preterm labor, and other adverse outcomes during pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia is on the rise in industrialized countries and may affect 10% of pregnancies, with an even higher percentage in women of color. Toxicological and epidemiological evidence shows that the placenta is vulnerable to environmental insults, but new approaches are needed to advance our knowledge of the mechanisms and critical pathways leading to adverse outcomes. This symposium brings together experts that have developed advances in the models and techniques for studying environmental impacts on placental, as well as novel advances in the pathways that may lead to placental dysfunction and pregnancy complications or effects on the newborn.
Neuropathology evaluation of the brain, central and peripheral nervous system (CNS/PNS) tissues is a key element of developmental neurotoxicology assessments for studies of chemicals as well as certain pharmaceuticals being developed for pediatric patients. However, the extent of assessments required can vary substantially depending upon the nature of the test material and consequent regulatory requirements. Pharmaceuticals intended for young patients may be administered for brief periods during development or chronically through adulthood. The mechanism of action of these products is often well understood and the dose achieved in the brain and CNS/PNS can often be accurately determined depending on the route of administration, treatment duration, and known total dose. In contrast, industrial, agricultural, and environmental chemical doses can vary significantly, and often little is known about the timing and potential cumulative exposure during development. As such, the requirements for sampling, processing, and neuropathological evaluations for these chemical substances may be substantively different. The workshop introduction will present typical guideline studies that require neuropathology and the requirements for expanded neuropathological evaluations in juvenile animal studies for pharmaceuticals versus developmental neurotoxicology studies for chemicals. The three core presentations will present the development of the mammalian nervous system, methods for standard and specialized neuropathology analyses, common test article-related findings and their interpretation (e.g., Olney lesions), and results that may trigger the need for expanded neurohistopathology evaluations such as special neurohistological stains and/or brain morphometry. The session will be followed by a Panel Discussion, with regulatory representatives from the chemical and pharmaceutical areas to help address audience questions pertaining to neuropathology considerations.
Oligonucleotides: What Are They and What Challenges Do They Bring to DART Assessments?
1:55 PM–2:30 PM
Principles of Dosing Schedule and Dose Level Setting for DART Studies with Oligonucleotides
2:30 PM–2:45 PM
2:45 PM–3:20 PM
Species and Model Selection for DART Studies for Oligonucleotides
3:20 PM–3:55 PM
Novel DART Approaches and Considerations for Newer Classes of Oligonucleotides
3:55 PM–4:15 PM
4:30 PM–5:45 PM
Annual Meeting Awards Presentation and Business Meeting
Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Travel Awards
Wilson Presentation Awards
Marie Taubeneck Award
James C. Bradford Memorial Student Poster Awards
Edward W. Carney Trainee Awards
BDRP Innovator Award
Edward W. Carney Distinguished Service Award
Recognition of Other Awards Presented throughout the Week
Annual Business Meeting