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Scientific Sessions

Addresses

Keynote Address

Saturday 21 July, 5:30–6:30 p.m., Salons E–F, immediately following the Opening Ceremony and Awards Presentations.

Haifan Lin, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Director of Stem Cell Program, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut): Stem Cells, Small RNAs, and Self-Renewal.

Dr. Lin’s research has centered on the identification of genes critical to stem cells of the germ cell line. He has used Drosophila and the mouse for combined genetic, cell biology, and molecular studies to explore the mechanisms underlying stem cell division and self renewal. The piwi genes that he identified in Drosophila define a family of evolutionarily conserved genes that are essential for stem cell division in both animal and plant kingdoms. He has focused more recently on the function of mammalian members of the piwi family genes in germline stem cell divisions in mice and humans and on the evolutionarily conserved mechanisms that regulate stem cell division. A mammalian homolog of piwi has been identified as a master regulator gene of spermiogenesis and that serves as the binding protein for a novel and very large class of small RNAs found only in high numbers spermatids.

President’s Symposium: Gene Networks Critical for Reproduction

Saturday 22 July, 1:00–2:30 p.m., Salons E–F.

Linda C. Giudice, M.D., Ph.D. (Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California): Molecular Phenotyping of the Cycling Human Endometrium and Hormonally Regulated Genes Important for Implantation.

While Dr. Giudice’s research focuses on the human, the questions asked and the approaches used are relevant to understanding and preventing fetal loss in other mammals. Her laboratory has had a long-standing interest in the role of normal and abnormal endometrial development and its relevance to implantation, miscarriage, fetal growth, and endometriosis in humans. This research includes studies of the roles of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system and the Wnt family in human endometrium, the role of the IGF system in human trophoblast invasion and function, and functional genomics of human reproductive tissues. The latter studies include molecular profiling of human placental trophoblasts at different gestational ages and in pregnancy disorders, as well as the human oviduct under different hormonal conditions and disease states.

Michael D. Griswold, Ph.D. (Professor, School of Molecular Biosciences; Dean, College of Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington): Expression Profiling of the Control of Germ Cell Maturation by Sertoli Cells—from Discovery to Hypothesis.

The research in Dr. Griswold’s laboratory is directed towards understanding mammalian spermatogenesis at the molecular level. These efforts have concentrated on delineating the influence of Sertoli cells on the process of germinal cell differentiation and maturation. Some of his ongoing research is on the characterization of the promoter for the FSH receptor gene that is expressed specifically in Sertoli cells, and the use of spermatogonial transplantation to characterize Sertoli-germ cell interactions in vivo. His major efforts recently have been on the use of microarray analysis to identify patterns of gene expression during male germ cell development and genetic networks that regulate this process. Dr. Griswold’s research has been with laboratory animals, but continues to provide insights into basic mechanisms and processes operating in other mammals.

State-of-the-Art Lecture I

Monday 23 July, 1:00–1:45 p.m., Salons E–F.

Marco Conti, M.D. (Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California): Signal Transduction and Gamete Function: A 2007 Perspective.

Dr. Conti’s research has concerned identifying the regulatory module of the cAMP second message within the cell that balances cAMP synthesis by cyclases and degradation by phosphodiesterases (PDEs). Dr. Conti has identified and characterized several genes coding for these enzymes, and has used a wide array of approaches ranging from the enzymology of isolated proteins to genetic inactivation of genes in laboratory animals to understand how cyclases and PDEs are regulated and assembled in macromolecular complexes. Current studies seek to define the role of these signaling modules during activation of inflammatory cells, during differentiation of somatic cells in the male and female gonads, and in the differentiation of germ cells.

State-of-the-Art Lecture II

Tuesday 24 July, 1:00–1:45 p.m., Salons E–F. (supported in part by the USDA-CSREES-NRI.)

Mark E. Westhusin, Ph.D. (Professor, Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas): Cloning of Food Animals and Endangered Species.

Dr. Westhusin’s research program is focused on the development and application of assisted reproductive technologies in mammals, particularly the use of somatic cell nuclear transplantation for cloning different animal species. His research has involved cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, cats, horses, and several wildlife species. These studies have shown that in spite of successes and regardless of the species, animal cloning remains an inefficient process, with less than 5% of cloned embryos resulting in live offspring following transfer into recipient females.

Historical Perspectives Lectures: Oocyte-Somatic Cell Communication

Wednesday 25 July, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon, Salons E–F.

John J. Eppig, Ph.D. (Senior Staff Scientist, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine): Oocyte Control of Mouse Cumulus Cell Development and Function.

Dr. Eppig’s research program is focused on the development and function of the mammalian oocyte-granulosa cell complex. He achieved the first complete development of mammalian oocytes in vitro. This included in vitro initiation of primordial follicle development, oocyte growth, and acquisition of competence to undergo maturation, fertilization, and, after transfer of preimplantation embryos to foster mothers, the birth of live young. He originated the concept of an oocyte-granulosa cell regulatory loop in which bi-directional communication between the oocyte and companion granulosa cells is essential for both normal oocyte and follicular development. A major goal of his current research is to define the components of this regulatory loop and their mechanism(s) of action. Finally, he is a participant in the ReproGenomics Program Project to develop mouse mutant models of infertility using ENU mutagenesis.

Kenneth P. McNatty, Ph.D. (Professor, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand): Journeys from Inheritance Patterns of Ovulation Rate in Sheep to Factors Influencing Oocyte-Somatic Cell Communication in Mammals.

Research in Dr McNatty’s laboratory has focused on identifying the genes responsible for the unusual inheritance patterns of ovulation rate observed in screened prolific sheep lines. From extensive controlled breeding experiments, genetic linkage mapping and physiological studies, Dr McNatty and his team have identified several point mutations in the BMP15 gene and one each in the GDF9 and ALK6 genes in different breeds/lines of animals. Expression of all of these genes within the ovary was localized to oocytes with ALK6 also being localized to cumulus/granulosa cells. Subsequent in vitro and in vivo experiments in rodents and/or ruminants support the hypothesis that the level of oocyte-somatic cell communication, via the growth factors GDF9 and BMP15 and the receptor ALK6, have profound effects on ovarian follicular development and on the number of follicles that ovulate.

Exchange Lectures: SRF New Investigator, ASRM Distinguished Researcher, SSR New Investigator

Sunday 22 July, 5:00–6:30 p.m., Salons E–F.

Minisymposia

I. Cross-Species and Long-Term Consequences of Endocrine- Disrupting Chemicals

Sunday 22 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons A–B. (supported by an educational grant from CONRAD.)

Chair: Mary Ann Ottinger, Ph.D. (University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland).

Speakers: Vickie S. Wilson, Ph.D. (US EPA, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina): Species Comparisons in Molecular and Functional Attributes of the Androgen and Estrogen Receptor; Michael K. Skinner, Ph.D. (Washington State University, Pullman, Washington): Epigenetic Transgenerational Actions of Endocrine Disruptors on Reproduction and Disease: The Ghosts in Your Genes; Moshe Szyf, Ph.D. (McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada): How Does Early Life Social Environment Sculpt Our Genes?

II. Development and Function of the Male and Female Ducts

Sunday 22 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons C–D.

Chair: Barry T. Hinton, Ph.D. (University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia).

Speakers: Richard R. Behringer, Ph.D. (M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center, Houston, Texas): Development of the Female Reproductive Tract; Humphrey H-C. Yao, Ph.D. (University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois): Interactions Between Androgens and Local Signaling Molecules in Wolffian Duct Morphogenesis; Jean-Louis Dacheux, Ph.D. (Université de Tours INSERM, Nouzilly, France): Comparative Epididymal Proteome of Monotremes and Other Mammals, Including Humans.

III. Genetic Insights into Male Fertility

Sunday 22 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salon E.

Chair: Janice L. Bailey, Ph.D. (Universite Laval, Sainte Foy, Quebec, Canada).

Speakers: Deborah A. O'Brien, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina): Novel Glycolytic Enzymes Are Essential for Sperm Function and Male Fertility; Steven W. L’Hernault, Ph.D. (Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia): Genetics of Spermatogenesis and Fertilization in the Nematode C. elegans; Mary Ann Handel, Ph.D. (The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine): Mutagenesis and Phenotype-Driven Approaches for Identification of Male Fertility Genes.

IV. Cutting-Edge Areas and New Technologies

Sunday 22 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salon F. (supported in part by the USDA-CSREES-NRI.)

Chair: Derek J. McLean, Ph.D. (Washington State University, Pullman, Washington).

Speakers: Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada): Cloning and Expression Profiling of Testis-Expressed Small RNAs; James N. Petitte, Ph.D. (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina): Avian Embryonic Stem Cells, Primordial Germ Cells and Transgenic Chickens; George Coukos, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), MicroRNAs Exhibit High-frequency Genomic Alterations in Human Cancer.

V. Effect of Stress on Oocytes and Embryos

Sunday 22 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons J–K.

Chair: Richard M. Schultz, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

Speakers: Jay M. Baltz, Ph.D. (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada): Why Size Matters: Novel Mechanisms Protect Early Embryos from the Stress of Cell Volume Perturbations; Daniel A. Rappolee, Ph.D. (Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan): Impact of Stress and Stress Enzymes on Early Mammalian Development; Melissa Mann, Ph.D. (University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada): Susceptibility of Genomic Imprinting to Embryo Culture.

VI. New Insights into the Neurobiology of the GnRH Neuron

Monday 23 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons A–B.

(Mahesh Neuroendocrine Minisymposium)
Chair: Tony M. Plant, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

Speakers: Nancy L. Wayne, Ph.D. (David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California): Biology of GnRH Neuronal Migration in the Living Zebrafish Embryo; Allan E. Herbison, Ph.D. (School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand): Minimal Requirements for Fertility; How Many GnRH neurons Do You Really Need?; Stephanie B. Seminara, M.D. (Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts): Neurobiological Control of Pulsatile GnRH Release in Man.

VII. Applying Genomic Technologies to Selection of Oocyte and Embryo in Human IVF

Monday 23 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons C–D.

Chair: Stephen S. Palmer, Ph.D. (Serono Research Institute, Rockland, Massachusetts.

Speakers: Aleksandar Rajkovic, M.D., Ph.D. (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas), Oocyte Transcriptional Regulators in Ovarian Health and Disease; Minoru S.H. Ko, M.D., Ph.D. (NIH, NIA, Baltimore, Maryland), Systematic Analysis of Genes Involved in the Oocyte-to-Embryo Transition; Richard T. Scott, Jr., M.D. (Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Morristown, New Jersey), The Embryo Glass Ceiling: Assessment of New Technologies for Embryo Evaluation in IVF Laboratories.

VIII. Fertilization: Cellular & Molecular Events of Gamete Interaction

Monday 23 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salon E.

Chairs: Gary Hunnicutt, Ph.D. (Population Council, New York, New York), and Dirk G. de Rooij, Ph.D. (Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands).

Speakers: Janice P. Evans, Ph.D. (Johns Hopins University, Baltimore, Maryland), Regulation of Sperm-Egg Interactions: New Insights into How Mammalian Eggs Prevent Polyspermy; Marc Spehr, Ph.D. (Ruhr-University of Bochum, Bochum, Germany), Dissecting the Role of Odorant Receptors in Navigating Human Sperm; Gary Hunnicut, Ph.D. (Population Council, New York, New York): The Sperm Annulus is a Septin-Ringed Organelle Critical in Producing Fertilization-Competent Sperm.

IX. Identifying Regulator Pathways Governing Endometrial Function

Monday 23 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salon F.

Chair: Francesco J. DeMayo, Ph.D. (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas).

Speakers: Jeffery W. Pollard, Ph.D. (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York): Progesterone Regulation of Uterine Epithelial Cell Proliferation and Differentiation; Sanjoy Kumar Das, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee): Non-Classical Estrogen Signaling in the Mouse Uterus; Milan K. Bagchi, Ph.D. (University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois): Decidualization: An Emerging Roadmap.

X. Pathophysiology of Placental Development: Basic Biology, Clinical Questions

Monday 23 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons J–K.

Chair: Derek Boerboom, Ph.D. (Université de Montreal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada).

Speakers: Kurt Benirschke, M.D. (University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California): Questions Raised by Placentas of Laser-Interrupted TTTS; Karen Downs, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin): Emerging Paradigms in the Relation Between the Fetus and its Placenta; S. Lee Adamson, Ph.D. (University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada): Placental Vascular Disease in Mouse Models of Intrauterine Growth Restriction.

XI. Gonadotropins: From Animal Models to the Clinic

Tuesday 24 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons A–B. (supported in part by the USDA-CSREES-NRI.)

Chair: George W. Smith, Ph.D. (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan).

Speakers: T. Rajendra Kumar, Ph.D. (University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas), Genetic Analysis of Gonadotropin Actions in the Mouse; Jim J. Ireland, Ph.D. (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan), Does Variation in Size of the Ovarian Reserve and FSH Secretion Impact Fertility?; Irving Boime, Ph.D. (Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri), Design of a Long-acting Recombinant FSH.

XII. Conservation and Role of Imprinted Genes in the Placenta of Different Mammalian Species

Tuesday 24 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons C–D. (supported in part by the USDA-CSREES-NRI.)

Chair: William L. Miller, Ph.D. (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina).

Speakers: Miguel Constancia, Ph.D. (Babraham Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom): Genomic Imprinting, Nutrient Supply, and Fetal Growth; Benjamin Tycko, M.D., Ph.D. (Columbia University, New York, New York): Profiling DNA Methylation in Human Placenta by MSNP; Jorge A. Piedrahita, Ph.D. (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina): Conservation of Imprinting in Swine and Comparative Aspects of Imprinting.

XIII. Pathobiology of Endometriosis: Molecular to In Vivo Analyses

Tuesday 24 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salon E.

Chair: Robert S. Schenken, M.D. (University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas).

Speakers: Robert Taylor, M.D., Ph.D. (Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia), Transcriptional Regulation of Inflammatory Mediators in Endometriosis; Craig A. Witz, M.D. (University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas), In Vitro Models of Endometriosis; Asgerally T. Fazleabas, Ph.D. (University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois): Altered Endometrial Gene Expression in a Baboon Model of Endometriosis.

XIV. Spotlight on Recent Developments in Reproductive Biology

Tuesday 24 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salon F. (supported provided by an educational grant from CONRAD.)

Chair: Amanda Glazar, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland).

Speakers: Erwin Goldberg, Ph.D. (Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois), Disruption of the Sperm-specific Ldhc Gene is Detrimental to Sperm Function and Male Fertility; Patrick Western, Ph.D. (Murdoch Children’s Research Instititute, Melbourne, Australia), Dynamic Regulation of Cell Cycle and Pluripotency in the Foetal Male Germ Line; James Amatruda , M.D., Ph.D. (UT Southwestern, Dallas, Texas), Germline Development and Germ Cell Tumors in the Zebrafish System.

XV. Rapid Nongenomic Pathways of Steroid Hormone Receptor Signaling in the (Female) Reproductive System

Tuesday 24 July, 10:00–11:30 a.m., Salons J–K.

Chair: Keith L. Parker, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas).

Speakers: Stephen Hammes, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas): Transcription-Independent Steroid Signaling in the Ovary; Peter Thomas, Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas): G Protein Signaling and Functions of the Novel Progesterone Membrane Receptors in Reproductive Tissues; Ellis R. Levin, M.D. (University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California): Extra-nuclear estrogen receptor signaling.

Trainee Affairs Forum

The Trainee Affairs Forum will be held on Monday 23 July from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Salons C–D of the Marriott Rivercenter. The speaker at this year’s forum is Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois), who will describe approaches to setting up a lab as a new scientist. Her talk is titled A Lab of Your Own. The forum is open to all attendees of the Annual Meeting.

Minority Affairs Symposium

The Minority Affairs Symposium will be held on Monday 23 July from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Salons C–D on the third floor of the Marriott Rivercenter. Trevor K. Archer, Ph.D. (NIH/NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina) will present None But Ourselves Can Free Our Minds—Science in a Majority World. The symposium will be preceded by an invitation-only dinner in Rooms 1–2 of the Marriott Rivercenter. The symposium is open for all interested trainees and members. Established scientists are encouraged to meet and speak with trainees. The symposium is supported by a career development grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.