President's Message December 2010

I hope you enjoyed the 50th Annual Meeting of the Teratology Society as much as I did. It was great to recount and celebrate the wonderful history of the Society while also enjoying cutting edge contemporary science around the meeting theme of “Healthy Lifestyles for Parents and Children”. As we look ahead to the next 50 years, we realize how fast things are advancing, with transformational changes occurring in how we think about, do, and communicate our science. We can all use the Teratology Society community to help us keep up with and take advantage of these changes.

On the science side, great strides have been made in the past few years in the areas of systems biology, computational toxicology, epigenetics, and bioinformatics. We have had excellent symposia presented at our annual meetings, including exciting talks by our members on the forefront of this research in teratology. This is a distinct goal of our strategic plan, and has occurred in part due to the efforts of members of the Science Committee that are keeping abreast of this emerging research.

On the communication side, we are continually working to provide resources and tools to make your work easier and more efficient. At the Teratology Society website, you will find lots of new resources. The website has been updated to make it more attractive and easier to navigate, the Student and Postdoc Corner (SPC) has been revamped under the leadership of Ava Schlisser, the SPC editor, and current news of interest to members is continually being updated. The Birth Defects Research Connection (BDR Connection) is now accessible to members with an exciting array of tools for getting information about our members, accessing working documents from committees or other working groups, establishing and contributing to topical blogs, and much more. If you haven’t already done so, please update your profile and upload your picture and CV. You can decide what information will be displayed when other members access your profile. If your laboratory or organization has a website, you can put a link to that in your MyPage as well. We have instituted this site to improve communication for Society members, so please try it and let us know what you think. We will be calling your attention to announcements, blogs, and other items on the BDR Connection through e-mails in the near future.

Although at times it appears that the wheels of progress turn slowly, that has not been the case of late. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming years, and your council and committees are working hard to make the Society the best that it can be. Another real success this year was the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Course given by the Society, under the excellent direction of Kok Wah Hew, Sue Marty, and Chris Lau. The course was at full capacity and not only provided invaluable training but also a healthy financial return to the Teratology Society. We look forward to more of these mid-year courses and other events. It is up to you as members to suggest ideas for these sessions and to make them happen. It is now easier than ever for all members to participate and contribute, and I hope you will take advantage of it.

I hope you are having a great year and I look forward to seeing you in San Diego at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Teratology Society. It will be a good one, with the theme of “Translational Research in Birth Defects: From Mechanisms to Epidemiology,” with a diverse program put together by John Graham and the members of his Program Committee. Along with the great science, we have a fabulous venue at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort.

In closing I’d like to express my thanks to Officers who completed their terms in 2010, including our Treasurer, Ida Washington, Past-President Christina Chambers, and Council member Dana Shuey. Thanks also to the many active committee members whose terms expired this year. Last but not least, thanks to our Executive Director, Tonia Masson, and to Becca Isakower, Christy Ours and the headquarters staff, for everything they do!

John M. Rogers
Teratology Society

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