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Highlights of the 2006 SSR Program

Contents

Overview

Omaha

The 39th SSR Annual meeting will deliver a revised format, while covering the breadth and scope of intriguing topics that reflect the varied interests of SSR scientists and physicians with a focus on research in reproduction. This meeting will be held in Omaha, Nebraska (http://www.visitomaha.com) from July 29th through August 1st. The Qwest Center Omaha is the Midwest’s premier meeting venue. The facility is located 2.5 miles from the airport and within walking distance of downtown hotels and Omaha’s "Old Market Shopping and Entertainment District."

The SSR meeting will be preceded by the The Third International Symposium on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) for the Conservation and Genetic Management of Companion Animals, Non-Domestic and Endangered Species (CANDES). This symposium will be held at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo Wild Kingdom Pavilion and will convene Saturday morning, July 29, prior to the SSR meeting. Brief titles for talks include Preservation of Gonads, Designer Gonadotropins, Sperm Sorting for ART, Metabolism and Embryo Culture, Cloning Technologies, Cloning and Heteroplasmy, Embryonic Stem Cells in CANDES, Disease Risks Transporting Embryos and Semen, Disinfection Procedures for Semen, Sperm Competition and Diversity, Unique Male Reproductive Strategies, and Unique Female Reproductive Strategies. Abstracts for this meeting will be submitted via SSR’s abstract submission site and will be published in the SSR program; participation in both meetings is invited and encouraged. We will share an evening reception with this group on Saturday, July 29th.

Dr. William W. Thatcher, 2006 SSR President, will open the meeting Saturday afternoon. The Opening Ceremony will include an introduction of the SSR Trainee Research Finalists and presentation of the Carl Hartman and Distinguished Service Awards. All Trainee Research Finalists are expected to attend the Opening Ceremony, the SSR Research and New Investigator Awards presentations, and the Closing Ceremony.

Addresses

John Paul Renard
John Paul Renard

The Keynote Address and the President’s Symposium focus on the roles of environment and functional nutrients on critical reproductive windows. Overall fertility, embryo-fetal-placental development, well-being of the newborn and mother, and subsequent reproductive outcome will be considered. Presentations will describe different experimental approaches including lessons from cloning in different species, functional genomics, appropriateness of various animal models related to human health, and impact of functional nutrients on selected reproductive processes that culminate in a pregnancy. The Keynote Address, “Nuclear Reprogramming and the Fetal-Maternal Dialogue,” will be presented by Jean-Paul Renard, Ph.D. (Director, Unite de Biologie du Developpement, INRA, Jouy en Josas, France).

Robert Webb
Robert Webb
Pushpa S. Kalra
Pushpa S. Kalra

The President’s Symposium will focus on Nutritional Regulation of Reproductive Function. Pushpa S. Kalra, Ph.D. (Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida) will give a talk on “Energy Homeostasis and Reproduction: The Neuropeptide Connection.” Robert Webb, Ph.D. (University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, Loughborough, Leics., United Kingdom) will give a talk on “Nutritional Impact on Female Reproductive Function: From Genetics to Metabolomics.”

Olivia P. Judson
Olivia P. Judson
John D. Gearhart
John D. Gearhart

Dr. Olivia P. Judson, Ph.D. (Research Fellow in Evolutionary Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berks., United Kingdom), author of Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation, will deliver the first plenary. She will speak on “The Evolutionary Biology of Pregnancy.” For more information visit: http://www.exn.ca/dailyplanet/view.asp?date=5/15/2005.

Dr. John D. Gearhart, Ph.D. (C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Medicine, Director of Stem Cell Biology and the Division of Developmental Genetics, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland) will give the second plenary talk on “Embryonic Stem Cells”; Dr. Gearhart will also participate in a new expanded plenary session: Taking Your Science to the People: Media 101 for Reproductive Biologists. This special session on interaction with the media was organized by Dr. Patricia Hunt. Amy Kostant (Director, EMS/Science Communication Network) will open the session with a talk on “The Special Role of Scientists in Talking with the Media.” Then, Elizabeth Weise (Science Reporter, USA Today) will discuss “What Reporters Need from You to Report Your Findings Fairly and Accurately.” The session will end with a talk by John D. Gearhart, Ph.D., on “Baptism by Fire: What You Learn When Your Research Suddenly Becomes Newsworthy.” Dr. Hunt plans an open discussion between the speakers and the audience after these talks.

The New Investigator & Exchange Lectures have been expanded to include a speaker from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, in addition to speakers from SSR and the Society for the Study of Fertility.

Jack Gorski
Jack Gorski

The Historical Perspectives Lecture is now a formal component of the SSR program. The lecture is organized by SSR’s Emeritus Committee and will be chaired by Fredrick Stormshak, Ph.D. (Oregon Sate University, Corvallis, Oregon). We are very fortunate to have Jack Gorski, Ph.D. (Professor Emeritus, Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin), giving a talk on the “Discovery of the Nuclear Estrogen Receptor: A History Lesson.”

The Program, Clinical Outreach, and Reproduction and Environment Committees, as well as the general SSR membership, collectively proposed 79 minisymposia. The Program Committee reviewed these suggestions, then scored, ranked, and adjusted them slightly to develop the following 15 minisymposia (listed in order of presentation at the meeting, not in rank order). Each minisymposium was organized by the listed chair for that session, and each contains three 30-minute talks related to the general topic of the session.

Minisymposia

The abstract submission deadline is Feburary 15, 2006. We have planned for 24 platform sessions (six concurrent sessions with six talks per session on the first day and with 8 talks per session on subsequent days, with a total of 180 platform presentation at the meeting) and three poster sessions. All abstracts will be reviewed, prioritized, and organized into sessions—either platform or poster—by the Program Committee. Poster sessions will be held in the morning immediately after a continental breakfast. The Qwest Center is large enough to accomodate all posters for the duration of the meeting. Presenters will be in attendance at their posters and available to discuss their research for a 2-hour period. Posters will be grouped by topic categories, and one-third of the posters will be presented each morning.

Omaha at night

We also have moved most of the committee meetings to the day before (July 28) or the morning before (July 29) the opening session. This was done to allow and encourage more informal interactions during the lunch breaks, rather than having to attend committee meetings during these times. The meeting will end on Tuesday evening, August 1, with a barbeque followed by a Social and Dance at the Qwest Center. Please plan to attend the 2006 SSR Annual Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. The Qwest Center is state-of-the-art and we trust that you will find the enclosed program enticing enough to submit your best research for presentation and discussion at this meeting.