Press Release: Scientists to Be Recognized as They Present Latest Research in Birth Defects

April 30, 2018

Scientists to Be Recognized as They Present Latest Research in Birth Defects

Teratology Society Set to Honor Contributions of Researchers from Around the World

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA—Some of the world’s leading scientists will be recognized for their research in birth defects, including malaria prevention and treatment, prenatal alcohol exposure, as well as cancer risk in birth defects-affected children.  Florida’s response to the potential threat of Zika will also be highlighted. The special lectures and awards will be presented June 23 – 27 in Clearwater, Florida at the Teratology Society’s Annual Meeting.

The Teratology Society is an international and multidisciplinary group of scientists including researchers, clinicians, epidemiologists, and public health professionals from academia, government and industry who study birth defects, reproduction, and disorders of developmental origin. Through its 2018 Teratology Society awards and special lectures, more than a dozen scientists will be recognized for advancing birth defects research. “When birth defects are still affecting 1 in 33 babies born today, you know the research these scientists are doing is critical in order to improve health for future generations,” said Alan Hoberman, PhD, Teratology Society President.  “With these awards from the Teratology Society, we assure that we are bringing together and recognizing scientists from many disciplines allowing them to be exposed to those doing the basic research to present births defects and providing a forum for the clinicians to adapt their research for the clinical situation,” he added.

Among the honorees will be Keynote Lecturer Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, the Florida Department of Health Surgeon General and Secretary. According to Dr. Hoberman, Philip’s presentation, “Zika: Florida’s Experience Responding to an Emerging Public Health Threat,” will be particularly insightful as the state enters another season of potential exposure to Zika. “The research community, as well as the region at large, will want to learn from Florida’s Zika response and look for ways to build off of it in hopes of eradicating the public threat altogether,” said Dr. Hoberman.

Other scientific accomplishments being honored this year include research in prenatal alcohol exposure, as well new data in the epidemiology of rare complex traits for assessing cancer risk in children with birth defects.

The 2018 Teratology Society award recipients and special lecturers include:

Keynote Lecture

Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, FL

Scheduled presentation: “Zika: Florida’s Experience Responding to an Emerging Public Health Threat.”

Robert L. Brent Lecture: Teratogen Update

Robert L. Clark, PhD, Artemis Pharmaceutical Research, Jacksonville, FL

Scheduled presentation: “Progress against Malaria; The Role of Antimalarial Drugs and Their Use in Pregnancy.”

F. Clarke Fraser New Investigator Award

Philip Lupo, PhD, MPH, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Scheduled presentation: “Cancer Risk in Children with Birth Defects: Developing a Research Program in the Epidemiology of Rare Complex Traits.”

Patricia Rodier Mid-Career Award for Research and Mentoring

Helen J.K. Sable, PhD, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

Scheduled presentation: “Assessing Addiction Risk in Rodents Following Perinatal Exposure to PCBs: Behavioral and Neurochemical Indicators.”

James G. Wilson Publication Award for the best paper published in the journal Birth Defects Research

Genetic Vulnerabilities to Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: Limb Defects in Sonic Hedgehog and GLI2 Heterozygous Mice” (Birth Defects Research 109:860-865, 2017) Authors: Eric W. Fish*1, Laura B. Murdaugh1, Kathleen K. Sulik1,2,3, Kevin P. Williams4, and Scott E. Parnell1,2,3

A presentation of the research findings will be made by Eric W. Fish, PhD, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Josef Warkany Lecture

John M. DeSesso, PhD, Exponent, Inc., Alexandria, VA

Agnish Fellowship

Anthony R. Scialli, MD, Scialli Consulting LLC, Washington, DC

Edward W. Carney Distinguished Service Award

Barbara F. Hales, McGill University, Montreal, QC

Edward W. Carney Trainee Awards

Shilpa Mokshagundam, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN

Danielle M. Drake, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Birth Defects Research Distinguished Scholar Awards

Autumn J. Bernal, PhD, Cardno ChemRisk, San Francisco, CA

Randy L. Jirtle, PhD, North Carolina State University, Durham, NC

Jan Willem van der Laan, PhD, Medicines Evaluation Board, Utrecht, Netherlands

Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Travel Awards

Shama Bhatia, University of Toronto

Bevin Blake, National Toxicology Program, NIEHS

Takoua Boukhris, University of Montréal

Chad Byrd, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Songying Cao, PhD, University of Maryland

Hao Chen, PhD, University of California–San Francisco

Xi Chen, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Mona Dai, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education

Maëlle Dandjinou, University of Montréal

Subham Dasgupta, PhD, University of California–Riverside

Maya Deyssenroth, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Danielle Drake, University of Toronto

Omar Daniel Cortés Enríquez, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León

Jessica Gorgui, University of Montréal

Yeonwoo Lebovitz, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Maxim Lemelin, University of Montréal

Elizabeth McCuistion, Emporia State University

Chelsea Jordan Messinger, Harvard Medical School

Constance Mitchell, University of California–Riverside

Shilpa Mokshagundam, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Katherine O'Shaughnessy, PhD, Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education (ORISE)

Kristal Rychlik, PhD, The Johns Hopkins University

Jacopo Troisi, University of Salerno

Sara Vliet, University of California–Riverside

Kenisha Williams Puckett, San Francisco State University

Yuhao Wu, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Penghua Yang, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Todd Zurlinden, PhD, US Environmental Protection Agency

For a full list of Teratology Society awards and recipients, please visit:

About the Teratology Society

The Teratology Society is made up of nearly 700 members worldwide specializing in a variety of disciplines, including developmental biology and toxicology, reproduction and endocrinology, epidemiology, cell and molecular biology, nutritional biochemistry, and genetics as well as the clinical disciplines of prenatal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, neonatology, medical genetics, and teratogen risk counseling. Scientists interested in membership in the Teratology Society are encouraged to visit

More information on the annual meeting program may be found on the 58th Annual Meeting website.

The society’s official journal, Birth Defects Research, is published by John Wiley & Sons in partnership with the Teratology Society.

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Media Contact: Nicole Chavez, 619-368-3259,




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