President's Message June 2011

Dear Friends,

We are rapidly approaching the 51st Annual Meeting of the Teratology Society, to be held June 25-29 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado, California. We have an excellent program, assembled by John Graham and the program committee from the many excellent session and speaker nominations received from our members. The theme for the meeting, “Translational Research in Birth Defects: From Mechanism to Epidemiology” is reflected throughout the program, including the Continuing Education and Sunrise courses, the scientific symposia, and special lectures. The program highlights and daily agendas are available on our website. I look forward to days of scientific learning, discourse, and camaraderie, as well as an amazing venue. I hope that you have made your travel arrangements and are looking forward to a great meeting.

I’d like to take this opportunity to mention a few of the activities that the Teratology Society has engaged in over the past year, and some that are on the horizon. These include continued development of BDR Connection, the successful completion of our first ever mid-year course, endorsement of other courses and training, and beginning of preparations for our next Strategic Planning session, to be held in 2012.

Our BDR Connection collaborative web platform has been further developed and is seeing increased usage. All committees are encouraged to use BDR Connection to communicate with their members and to post agendas, committee reports and other materials, as they are being drafted and in final form. BDR Connection is where you can find contact information, profiles, Society activities, CVs and pictures of your fellow Teratology Society members (be sure to keep your profile complete and up-to-date). The search capabilities of BDR Connection allow for simple acquisition of Society demographics. There is also an area that allows the initiation of and participation in blogs on topics of interest to our members. I hope that by now you are familiar with BDR Connection and will visit often to take full advantage of this cutting-edge communication and collaboration tool.

With the excellent direction of Kok-Wah Hew, Sue Marty, and Chris Lau, the Teratology Society sponsored a four-day course entitled “Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology for Industrial and Regulatory Scientists.” The course, held last October 25-28, was a rousing success, from the outstanding presentations and interactions at the course, to the excellent venue and meals supported by Noblis at their facility in Falls Church, VA, to the financial gains achieved by the Society. I think this course provides an exciting precedent and framework for future courses on this and other topics to be sponsored by the Teratology Society throughout the year. The Council and I encourage members of the Society to propose ideas for such courses or symposia. Proposals should be submitted by April 1 each year. A template for submitting proposals has been developed and is located on BDR Connection. You can also promote your training courses on BDR Connection by placing your training program affiliations in your profile and by adding a widget on your MyPage to display information about the course. If you are affiliated with a training course that you feel should be endorsed by the Teratology Society, send the program details to the business office at tshq@teratology.org. Council will review these requests based upon the programmatic significance to the Society and the quality of the program. The Teratology Society recently approved the endorsement of the educational symposium entitled “Current Trends in Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology: Biomarkers, Animal Models, Alternative Testing, Risk Assessment, and Regulatory Aspects”, which is sponsored by MPI Research and will be held August 21-23. Ali S. Faqi, of MPI Research and a Teratology Society member, is the Symposium Facilitator. Many of the presentations in the program will be by members of the Teratology Society.

On March 4, a letter signed by eight scientific societies was published in Science (Vol 331, p. 1136), proposing that the expertise of the members of those societies could aid toxicologists in furthering methods for and knowledge about chemical risk. Some reading the letter thought it portrayed toxicologists as part of the problem, and a letter of response (Science Vol. 332, p. 536, April 29) was signed by the Society of Toxicology, the Environmental Mutagen Society, and the Teratology Society. The response signed by our Society welcomed scientists from all fields to join toxicologists in improving chemical risk assessment, and pointed out that there is already a Scientific Liaison Coalition, comprising 15 national scientific societies, that was formed in 2010 in order to increase the impact of toxicology on improving public health. Those of us working in this field are well aware of the rapid advances in technology and biology that are pushing our science forward at a rapid rate.

The Teratology Society is due for another Strategic Planning session in 2012. Council and the business office have begun to lay the groundwork for the session and you will hear more about that at the annual business meeting. We have contacted the facilitator who did a great job at the last session in 2007, and we soon will be asking a broad representative cross-section of our membership to join a Strategic Planning Committee and take part in this important face-to-face meeting, to help guide the Society through the next five years and beyond. A final report from the last Strategic Planning Committee is being drafted and will soon be available to all members through BDR Connection. I think you will see that these sessions are vital to our continued growth as a Society, and that much was accomplished through the efforts of the 2007 committee.

Finally, I want to encourage all of our members to continue to be engaged in the success of the Teratology Society. Opportunities to join committees or to represent the Society in various activities can be found on BDR Connection. There is no better place to keep up with the activities and opportunities abounding in our Society and to make your voice heard by fellow members.

See you all in sunny San Diego!

John M. Rogers, Ph.D.
President, Teratology Society

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