February 2013 President's Message

SCIENCE … That’s what Teratology Society is all about, and that’s what I’d like to talk about in this first President’s Message of 2013.  The science of teratology will be on display in many ways in 2013, showing most prominently at our Annual Meeting and in upcoming issues of our three journals, but also through a variety of recent scientific outreach activities.  Below are some highlights:

Annual Meeting - Elaine Francis and the Program Committee have a fantastic line-up in store for us at the 2013 meeting to be held in Tucson, AZ June 22-26.  We are fortunate to have secured Dr. Leroy Hood, Director of the Institute for Systems Biology, to present a key note lecture on "Systems Medicine and Proactive P4 Medicine: A Revolution in Healthcare."  There will be many other great sessions centered on a theme of “Cutting-Edge Technologies”, as well as joint sessions co-organized with scientific partners including the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the National Children’s Study, NBTS, and OTIS.  The time is NOW to prepare our abstracts for presentation at the 2013 annual meeting as the deadline to submit an abstract is February 15.  If you are like me and looking for ways to extend your travel budget as much as possible, you will want to register for the 53rd Annual Meeting by the Early Bird registration deadline of February 22.  Visit the website for more details about the meeting.

Journals – January marked the start of Dr. Michel Vekemans' tenure as our new Editor of BDR-A.  We welcome Dr. Vekemans and wish him great success at the helm of the journal.  Stay tuned for more information about Dr. Vekemans in an upcoming blog article.  We also appreciate the five years Diana Juriloff dedicated as Editor of BDR-A, as well as the continuing service of George Daston, Editor of BDR-B, and Rocky Tuan, Editor of BDR-C.  Clearly, our three journals are in excellent hands, but they need you to support them and our Society by submitting your work to Birth Defects Research.  

Scientific Outreach - Our voice is being heard via interaction with FASEB, in which we have been quite active this year.  Recent FASEB activities include a campaign to communicate the economic impact of federally funded research on US states and cities, e-action alerts to avert sequestration, and the creation of an online tool to help trainees with scientific career planning.  Stay tuned for more details in an upcoming blog article from our FASEB representatives. In addition to the FASEB activities, we co-signed of a letter prepared by NABR encouraging the air transportation of animals for biomedical research.

Council has also been working with leaders of NBTS and MARTA to explore ways to improve interactions and coordination between our societies, especially with respect to meeting planning.  These have been quite fruitful meetings which will result in codification of some agreements and best practices to be passed down to future leaders of all three organizations.  Council has also been working with our Science Committee to discuss transition from an ad hoc to a standing committee.  As you may recall, the Science Committee was formed around the time of the 2007 Strategic Plan and has been very active in several areas, among them establishing new partnerships with groups such as the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the National Children’s Study, and the Scientific Liaison Coalition.  We look to the Science Committee to play a critical role in the implementation of our new Strategic Plan.  Making Science a standing committee will better enable it to achieve these objectives. 

Lastly, if you haven’t done so already, please be sure to review the manuscript on the new Strategic Plan which was just published in the January issue of BDR-A.  This plan continues to guide much of Council’s efforts and that of our Committees and Work Groups.

With warm regards,

Ed Carney, President


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