Teratology? But wait, I’m a reproductive toxicologist!
I remember when I first joined the Teratology Society like it was yesterday! Fresh out of the University of Arizona, PhD in hand, and ready to grow my career in reproductive toxicology. A career move? Yes. I wanted to network. Being a part of a prestigious group of professionals studying birth defects was important solely for my professional growth, right? Wrong. It became so much more than that….
You might not know this, but the reach of the Teratology Society is not limited to the study of birth defects. They are passionate about all scopes of reproductive- and developmentally-mediated disorders which constitute a major public health concern in the world today. The Teratology Society members specialize in cell and molecular biology, developmental biology and toxicology, reproduction and endocrinology, nutritional biochemistry, genetics, and epidemiology, as well as the clinical disciplines of prenatal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, neonatology, medical genetics, and teratogen risk counseling. Right from the start as a member, I quickly learned that we all had different backgrounds, but one thing in common- we were all striving to better understand and protect against potential hazards to developing gametes, embryos, fetuses, children, and adults. In other words, we were all working together to impact human lives.
Beyond being in awe of the expertise and important mission I was suddenly a part of, I wanted to share a list of the reasons others may want to consider joining this incredible cause. I figure this list is timely since the next membership application deadline is fast approaching on March 1.
Top 5 Reasons To Join The Teratology Society:
5 – To grow your professional network!
Yes, this was originally what I sought out to accomplish. While exceeded, the networking did indeed turn out to be huge perk. The community of peer scientists I have gained has been invaluable to me already; something I benefit from when working through scientific and technical challenges in my current role. Our society attracts smart, innovative scientists who love to talk issues, brainstorm over a beer (or wine or soda), share nerdy science humor on email, and truly enjoy the process of science. There are no barriers in this group, regardless of title, seniority, background, or experience, it has also been easy to approach and build relationships. Career Services are provided to Teratology Society members via a Job Bank, a year-round online service linking job candidates with employers and positions in developmental and reproductive toxicology as well as related biological sciences. In addition, our annual meetings provide numerous formal and informal face-to-face networking opportunities.
4 – To be involved!
You can have the opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded, world-renowned, experts. You can continue the rise to the top of your profession and grow as a leader by taking on various Teratology Society leadership roles. Whether at our annual meetings or through committee service, your curriculum vitae will quickly grow the more involved you become. I’m now Chair of the Membership Committee. Who knows where I will go next in the Society? The point is, the sky is truly the limit!
3 – To stay informed!
Membership includes an electronic subscription to all three parts of our journal, Birth Defects Research, a comprehensive resource of original research and reviews in fields related to embryo-fetal development and reproduction. Members also have access to our robust members-only website and social media platform, BDR Connection, which includes blogs, educational resources, weekly email digests and more. Additionally, the Teratology Society Annual Meeting, which members attend at a reduced registration rate, is the ideal venue to stay current on the latest research and developments.
2 – To share ideas that make an impact!
We don’t all look at birth defects the same way – some of us are involved in diagnosing them, caring for the children affected with them and educating the families in dealing with them; some of us are more interested in trying to find out what caused the developmental impact and how these could be prevented in the future. Discussion of research and techniques that reveal the causes, improve the diagnosis and treatment, and prevent the occurrence of birth defects is essential to ensure propagation of new ideas. Our annual meeting affords me routine interactions with clinicians and those on the frontline counseling women; what a valuable way for me, a nonclinical researcher, to gain a better perspective about what matters and what women need. Our influence makes a direct impact on the birth defect information physicians and the general public use.
1 – And the number 1 reason to join the Teratology Society – To prevent birth defects.
Who wouldn't want to help prevent birth defects? By working together in a multidisciplinary way, we are dedicated to advancing the science of developmental and reproductive toxicology in order to eliminate or ameliorate birth defects. The research the Teratology Society promotes can literally affect the health outcome of babies being born today, tomorrow, and for years to come.
So, now it’s your turn…Become part of something BIG. By applying to become a member of the Teratology Society, you are ensuring the motivation to prevent birth defects continues at an energetic pace. Again, the deadline to apply is March 1.
Learn more about Teratology Society’s membership requirements and how to apply here.