SSR 2018 Program

Dates, times, titles, speakers, and order of speakers in sessions are subject to change

Monday, July 9, 2018

1:00 – 6:00 pm
Pre- Meeting Ovarian Workshop (Day 1)
The purpose of the workshop is to discuss biology of ovarian aging and the potential role of environmental factors within this context. The workshop will include distinguished speakers presenting cutting-edge methods and technologies. Biomarker discovery, data management and analysis, next generation sequencing, personalized medicine in reproduction, and the use of model organisms and other novel approaches are examples of the hot topics and new technologies that will be covered.

The workshop offers the opportunity to network with attendees from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, from clinical fertility centers, and from academia. We believe that these interactions will help you to find solutions, build collaborations, and develop new ideas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

8:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Pre-Meeting Ovarian Workshop (Day 2)

10:15 – 11:45 AM
Trainee Forum
The Trainee Forum will focus on "transition" and, is entitled "Treading thoughtfully through the career transitional path: Navigating successfully from graduate student to postdoc to academia or industry ". The forum panel will consist of Dr. Francesca Duncan (Northwestern University), Dr. John Bromfield (University of Florida), Dr. Tracy Clement (Texas A&M University) and Dr. Gaurang Daftary (Ferring Pharmaceuticals). This event is for Trainees only (no guest allowed.)

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Volunteer Meeting

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Session Co-Chairs Meeting

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Grant Workshop
This year, we will be conducting a Mock Grant Review study section on July 10, from 1:30pm- 3:00pm to help demystify the grant review process. Drs. Susan Taymans, Stuart Moss, and Mark Mirando will help understand the NIH/USDA grant review process using the K99/R00 grant as a platform. This event will be available for all meeting attendees and registration fees ($10) will cover refreshments. Drs. Taymans and Moss are Program Directors at NICHD, and Dr. Moss formerly served as a Scientific Review Officer at NIH. Dr. Mirando is the National Program Leader of Animal Nutrition, Growth and Reproduction at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture where he provides leadership for competitive grant and capacity programs in animal reproduction.

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
SSR 2018 Annual Meeting Opening Ceremonies: BOR Award

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Keynote Lecture: Ethics and the Future of Reproduction​

I. Glenn Cohen
Professor of Law, Faculty Director
Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics
Harvard Law School

Prof. Cohen is one of the world's leading experts on the intersection of bioethics (sometimes also called "medical ethics") and the law, as well as health law. He also teaches civil procedure. From Seoul to Krakow to Vancouver, Professor Cohen has spoken at legal, medical, and industry conferences around the world and his work has appeared in or been covered on PBS, NPR, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Mother Jones, the New York Times, the New Republic, the Boston Globe, and several other media venues.

6:30 PM 
Second Line Parade | Hilton SSR Registration Lobby

Join a traditional “Second Line Parade” to the opening reception.  The parade steps off promptly at 6:30 PM from the SSR Registration Lobby at the Hilton. Enjoy the music of the Big Easy as you follow the band through the streets of New Orleans to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.   

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM 
Opening Reception | Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Join us at the SSR Opening Reception at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and immerse yourself in an underwater world. The colors of a Caribbean reef come alive in the walk-through tunnel, while penguins and Southern sea otters enchant you with their antics. Marvel at gigantic sharks, tarpon, and rays in the 400,000 gallon Gulf of Mexico Exhibit. Watch for sea turtles throughout the Aquarium, many of which have been rescued and are being prepared for release to the wild. And of course enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as you wander the exhibits and network!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

7:00 AM – 7:45 AM
Committee Meetings

7:00 AM – 7:45 AM
Past President’s Breakfast (Invitation Only)

8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Poster Session A + Breakfast

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Concurrent Focus Sessions

Session 1:  Pathways to Ovarian Cell Differentiation
Chair: Kelly Mayo, Northwestern University 

  • The Hippo/YAP Signaling Pathway in Ovarian Granulosa Cell Proliferation, Differentiation and Malignant Transformation, Cheng Wang, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Androgens, AR and theca cell function and dysfunction, Joanne Richards, Baylor College of Medicine 

Session 2: Signaling in Sperm Guidance
Chair: Michael Eisenbach, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

  • The Heat, Steroids, and Protons are Regulators of Sperm Motility, Polina Lishko, University of California, Berkeley 
  • CatSper – The Many Faces Of A Sperm-Specific Ca2+ Channel, Timo Strünker, University of Munster, Germany

Session 3: The Virendra B. Mahesh Neuroendocrine Session.  Hypothalamic and Pituitary Control of Reproduction 
Chair: Vasantha Padmanabhan, University of Michigan  

  • Hypothalamic and Pituitary Control of Reproduction, Lori Raetzman, University of Illinois, Urbana
  • TGFβ Superfamily Regulation of FSH Synthesis in Mice: Revisiting and Redefining Roles for Activins and Inhibins, Daniel Bernard, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Session 4: Immune Regulation of the Maternal-Fetal Interface

  • The Influence of Maternal Environment on Uterine Natural Killer Cell Function and Placental Development, Alexander Beristain, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • Mapping the Human Immune Response to Pregnancy, One Cell at a Time, Brice Gaudilliere, Stanford University

Session 5: Animal Ag Symposium - Improving Reproductive Performance
Chair: Emre Seli, Yale University

  • The Emerging Role of Progesterone Receptor Membrane Component 1 in Bovine Oogenesis and Early Embryogenesis, Valentina Lodde, University of Milan, Italy
  • SRB-SSR Exchange Lecture: The Effects of Maternal Age and Ovarian Stimulation on Mitochondria and the Follicular Environment in Cloned Cattle, Mark Green, University of Melbourne, Australia 

11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
Lunch Break

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Diversity Lunch Symposium
The Diversity Lunch, organized by the SSR’s Diversity Committee, showcases compelling research by minority researchers and clinicians in academia and industry. This years speaker is Clayton Yates, PhD of Tuskegee University. He will be speaking on: E​pigenetic Drivers of Prostate and Breast Cancer in African Americans.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Concurrent Focus Sessions

Session 6: William Hansel Ovarian Biology Symposium “Mediators of Luteal Function”​
Chair: Bruce Murphy, University of Montreal, Canada

  • Of Cows and Humans: Mir-96 Promotes Luteal Cell Survival and Progesterone Production, Xavier Donadeau, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Thrombospondin-1 at the Crossroads of Corpus Luteum Fate Decisions, Rina Meidan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Session 7: The Cutting Edge of Meiosis
​Chair: Eileen McLaughlan, University of Auckland, New Zealand 

  • Genetics of Meiotic Recombination and Fertility in Mouse and Human, Jeremy Wang, University of Pennsylvania
  • Germline Exposure to our Chemical Landscape: Assessing Effects and Mechanisms of Function in C. elegans, Monica Colaiacovo, Harvard Medical University

Session 8: SSR-SRF Exchange Lecture: Placental Control of Development 
Chair: Ron Magness, University of South Florida

  • Placental Phenotype and Insulin-like Growth Factor-2 Signaling: Resource Allocation to Fetal Growth, Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK 
  • Gassing the Utero-placental Vasculature and Preeclampsia: An Emerging Role of H2S, Dongbao Chen, University of California, Irvine

Session 9: Immune Signaling Associated with Gynecologic Pathologies
Chair: Buck Hales, Southern Illinois University

  • Immune Checkpoint Blockade: A Hopeful Revolution for Gynecologic Cancers, Whitfield Growdon, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • Insights into Immune Dysfunction in Endometriosis, Chandrakant Tayade, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

Session 10: Environmental Impacts on Reproduction
Chair: Aileen Keating, Iowa State University

  • Endocrine Disrupting Activity Associated with Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas and Oil, Susan Nagel, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • An Approach to Responsible Replacements for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Bernard Robaire, McGill University, Canada

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

3:30 PM – 4:15 PM
President’s Symposia I: Nuclear Receptor Signaling in Reproduction and Development 

Kenneth S. Korach, PhD
Chief, Reproductive & Developmental Biology Laboratory
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences



4:15 PM – 4:45 PM
Carl G. Hartman Award

Patricia Hunt, PhD, School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University 
Supported by a grant from Cook Medical, the highest award of the SSR is given in recognition of a career of research and scholarly activities in the field of reproductive biology.



4:45 PM – 5:30 PM
Dr. Kwang Yul Cha Lecture - State of the Art I: Signals For Embryonic Development

Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, PhD
Professor of Mammalian Development and Stem Cell Biology
University of Cambridge, UK

6:45 PM – 9:00 PM
President’s Dinner (Invitation Only)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Committee Meetings

7:00-8:00 AM
WinRS Breakfast/SubCommittee Meeting
Join the Women in Reproductive Sciences (WinRS) Subcommittee to discuss “Job Applications and Salary Negotiations” with a panel of experts, including Dr. Jodi Flaws, (Interim Head, Department of Comparative Biosciences University of Illinois) and Dr. Rebecca Krisher (Research Director, Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine).

8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Poster Session B + Breakfast

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Concurrent Focus Sessions

Session 11: The Earliest Stages of Life  

  • Imaging How Cells Choose their Fate, Shape and Position in the Living Mouse Embryo, Nicholas Plachta, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore
  • In Vivo Imaging of Mouse Reproductive Processes, Irina Larina, Baylor College of Medicine 
  • SSR-ASRM Exchange Lecture: Metabolism and Physiology of the Human Preimplantation Embryo​, David Gardner, University of Melbourne, Australia 

Session 12: New Frontiers in the Genetics of Fertility  
Chair: Don Conrad, Washington University

  • Genomic Evaluation of Fertility Traits in Dairy Cattle: Help Wanted, Christine Baes, University of Guelph, Canada  
  • De Novo Mutations in Severe Male Infertility, Joris Veltman, Newcastle University, UK

Session 13: Understanding the Development of Endometriosis/Leiomyoma.
Chair: Warren Nothnick, University of Kansas

  • SRI-SSR Exchange LectureEpigenetic Role of H19 lncRNA in Fibroids, Yingqun Huang, Yale University
  • Endometriosis-Associated Macrophages: Defining their Functions, Phenotype and Ontogeny, Erin Greaves, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, Scotland

Session 14: The John J. Eppig Session: How to Make a Good Egg
Chair: Claude Robert, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada 

  • Segregating Chromosomes in Oocytes at Maternal Age Extremes, Greg FitzHarris, University of Montreal, Canada
  • Regulation of Mammalian Oocyte Meiosis by Intercellular Communication within the Ovarian Follicle, Laurinda Jaffe, UConn School of Medicine, Farmington

Session 15: Male Fertility and Long Term Health Outcomes
Chair: Beth Snyder, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

  • Sperm as the Canary in the Coal Mine of Health, Michael Eisenberg, Stanford University 
  • A Comprehensive Roadmap of Spermatogenesis and Testis Niche from Single-cell RNA-Seq., Sue Hammoud, University of Michigan

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Lunch Break

12:00-1:30 PM 
Trainee/Mentor Luncheon
Looking for insights and advice about your research, future career path, or work-life balance? Just want to talk science with an expert? Don't miss the opportunity to converse with an established or emerging leader in Reproductive Biology over a catered lunch! From a diverse group of excellent mentors, Trainees will review biosketches and select their top 3 mentor preferences. Assignments will be sent approximately four weeks prior to the meeting.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Competition Talks 1-6

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

3:30 PM – 4:15 PM
President’s Symposia II: The Microbiome and Pregnancy 

David A. Relman, MD
Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Stanford University


4:15 PM – 4:45 PM
SSR Research Award

Wei Yan, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV 
This award recognizes an active, regular member of the Society for outstanding research published over the previous six years. In making its recommendation, the Awards Committee will consider the significance of the problems under investigation, the breadth and depth of the analyses performed, and the level of originality manifested in the publications of this work. 


SSR Jansen Distinguished Service Award

Mary Ann Handel, The JAX Center For Genetics Of Fertility And Reproduction
This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated unselfish service and leadership in advancing the discipline of reproductive biology.



4:45 PM – 5:30 PM
CHA Health Systems Lecture - State of the Art II: Towards a Better Understanding of Spermatogenic Stem Cells

Shosei Yoshida, PhD
Division of Germ Cell Biology
National Institute for Basic Biology, Japan


Friday, July 13, 2018

6:00 AM – 8:00 AM
5K Fun Run | Hilton New Orleans Riverside
The meeting point for runner and walkers will be in the main entrance of the Hilton at 6:00 AM. At 6:30 AM, participants will begin the 5K circuit. This 5K course will follow a scenic path along the Mississippi River. From 6:00–6:30 AM, runners and walkers will meet at the starting line and at 6:30 AM, participants will begin the 5 km circuit. If you are unable to run but would like to support the run, consider sponsoring a participant. Donations to this fund support the Larry Ewing Memorial Trainee Travel Fund (LEMTTF). 

8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Poster Session C + Breakfast

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Concurrent Focus Sessions

Session 16: Novel Signaling Pathways in Ovarian Tumors
Chair: Tanwar Pradeep, University of Newcastle, Australia

  • microRNAs: Small but Powerful Drivers of Ovarian Cancer Pathogenesis, Analisa DiFeo, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Exposing the Local Factors that Contribute to Fallopian Tube-derived Tumor Cells Ovarian Colonization, Joanna Burdette, University of Illinois, Chicago, USA

Session 17: New Approaches to Male Contraception
Chair: Daniel Johnson, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 

  • Mitochondria, Maternal Inheritance and Male Infertility: Translating Evolutionary Theory into Real World Applications of Pest Control and Male Contraception, Damian Dowling, Monash University, Australia
  • Ouabain Analogs as Potent and Selective Inhibitors of Na,K-ATPase α4 for Male Contraception,  Gustavo Blanco, University of Kansas Medical Center

Session 18: Signals for Uterine Receptivity
Chair: Franco de Mayo, National Institute of Health 

  • Insights into Conceptus-Maternal Interactions via Extracellular Vesicles, Greg Burns, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Glucocorticoid Receptor Signaling in Implantation: A Balance Between Permissive and Inhibitory Signals, Shannon Whirledge, Yale School of Medicine

Session 19: Metabolic Stress and Female Fertility
Chair: Cecily Bishop, Oregon National Primate Research Center

  • Reversing the Impact of Metabolic Disorders on Oocyte Quality and Embryogenesis, Rebecca Robker, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Chronic Inflammation and Gut Microbiome Effects on Gamete Quality, Jennifer Wood, University of Nebraska 

Session 20: Pathways to Sex Determination
Chair: Chris Geyer, East Carolina University

  • Pathways toward Femaleness: Uncovering the Mechanisms of Ovary Organogenesis, Humphrey Yao, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Durham, North Carolina, USA. 
  • A Novel Point of Vulnerability in Male Development, Josephine Bowles, University of Queensland, Australia

11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
Lunch Break 

12:00 – 1:15 PM
Heritage Luncheon​
The SSR Heritage Committee is hosting a luncheon at which Dr. Joy Pate will honor Dr. William Hansel. Dr. Hansel received his Ph.D. in Animal Physiology from Cornell University in 1949, where he was then appointed as Assistant Professor and remained on the faculty until 1990. Upon retirement from Cornell University, Dr. Hansel accepted an appointment as the Gordon D. Cain Professor of Animal Physiology at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. Dr. Hansel’s research had a remarkable influence on our understanding bovine reproductive physiology. He is probably best known for his pioneering work to elucidate the function of the corpus luteum. In his ‘second career’ he made discoveries that have led to clinical trials of novel drugs to treat cancer. Dr. Hansel was a Founding Member and served as President of the SSR, and was honored with the Carl G. Hartman Award in 1980. 

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Concurrent Focus Sessions

Session 21: Protecting the Ovarian Reserve from Cancer Treatment 
​Chair: Melissa Pepling, Syracuse University

  • Mechanisms of Female Fertility Preservation by AMH/MIS During Chemotherapy, David Pepin, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • Targeting mTOR Signaling to Preserve Fertility, Kara Goldman, NYU Fertility Center

Session 22: Insights into Sperm Function and Selection
Chairs: Jean-Ju Chung, Yale University

  • Action of Zona Pellucida Glycoprotein on Mammalian Sperm Function, Dagmar Wachten, University of Bonn, Germany
  • The Clinical Value of Assessing Ion Channels In Human Sperm Function, Chris Barratt, University of Dundee, UK

Session 23: The Milton Leong Session on New Frontiers in Translational Research of the Uterus
Chair: Julie Kim, Northwestern University

  • Development of the Artificial Womb - Challenges, Progress and Clinical Applications, Emily Partridge, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Translating Murine Reproductive Toxicology Studies to the Human Condition using Organ-on-a-Chip Models, Kevin Osteen, Vanderbilt University

Session 24: Models for Understanding PCOS 
Chair: Ben Tsang, University of Ottawa, Canada

  • Effects of The Ovarian Microenvironment on Folliculogenesis, Andrea Cupp, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Androgen Signaling in the Ovary: Everything in Moderation, Aritro Sen, Michigan State University

Session 25: Janice M Bahr Focus Session: Lessons in Reproduction from the Unusual: "Nontraditional Species" 
Chair: Pierre Comizzoli, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute 

  • Sex Chromosome Evolution and Organization in Mammals: Lessons from the Duck-billed Platypus, Frank Grutzner, University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Sex on the Beach: Reproduction in Macrostomum Flatworms, Steven Ramm, Bielefeld University, Germany

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

3:30 PM – 4:15 PM
President’s Symposia III: Germline Inheritance and Prevention of Mitochondrial DNA Disease

Mary Herbert, PhD.
Professor of Reproductive Biology
Newcastle Fertility Centre, UK


4:15 PM – 4:45 PM
SSR Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator Award

Karen Schindler, Department of Genetics, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences
This award recognizes an active, regular member of SSR for outstanding research completed and published within 12 years after receiving the Ph.D. or other equivalent professional degree. Nominees will be evaluated on the originality of the research, the significance and impact of the research in reproductive sciences or allied fields, and the degree to which the nominee’s research was independent of that of a mentor.

SSR Trainee Mentoring Award

Teresa Woodruff, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern Medicine
This award recognizes an SSR member who as a mentor has had significant impact on Trainees within the SSR. The Trainee Mentoring Award will be presented each year at the SSR Annual Meeting to an SSR member who has consistently demonstrated a measure of support and guidance to Trainees that far exceeds the basic responsibilities required of an academic advisor.

4:45 PM – 5:30 PM
President’s Symposium IV: Understanding And Modeling Aging

Anne Brunet, PhD.
Michele and Timothy Barakett Endowed Professor
Stanford University, USA


5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Closing Ceremonies: SSR Trainee and Best International Poster Awards and SSR Business Meeting

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Mardi Gras Closing Party: Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez
Join us at our Mardi Gras themed closing reception to celebrate the traditions and influences of New Orleans. A buffet dinner will be served and attendees will receive two drink tickets for wine, beer, or soda; cash bars will be available for additional/other drink purchases. Enjoy a great band, put on your dancing shoes, and let the good times roll!