Progress 06/15/14 to 06/14/15
Target Audience:The 2014 Annual Meeting attracted 767 registrants: regular and associate SSR members numbered 299, trainee members - 260, nonmember students - 74, emeritus SSR members - 9, and nonmembers - 125. Ethnicity as indicated by each attendee was as follows: White - 53%; Black - 2%; Hispanic - 6%; Asian/Pacific Islander - 29%; Native American or Alaskan Native - 0%; did not identify ethnicity - 10%. The attendees included 393 males, 338 females, and 36 whose gender was not identified. Registrants represented 27 countries; of those, 522 registrants were from the USA, 23 from Japan, 58 from Canada, 32 from Europe, 40 from Korea, 36 from Central and South America, 23 from Australia and New Zealand, 11 from Near and Middle Eastern countries, and 22 from Far Eastern countries. Changes/Problems:
What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?The SSR 2014 Annual Meeting provided an intensive schedule of educational oral and poster sessions over a 3.5-day period. Specifically: twenty-four concurrent module sessions provided a breadth of information regarding research in major topic areas; twenty-two platform sessions afforded Trainees and Junior Researchers the opportunity to present their findings to established scientists, mentors, and peers; and three poster sessions, with a total of 380 research posters, encouraged participants to exchange questions and answers with colleagues regarding their research. Participants heard from renowned speakers in major sessions, including a Keynote Address that emphasized the critical need for contraceptive education and services intervention worldwide; a President's Symposium featuring experts in male and female contraception, followed by a Roundtable Discussion by five leading experts in the field; an AgResearch Plenary Lecture focussed on bovine reproductive physiology and reproductive technologies that will contribute to feeding a growing world population; a Historical Perspectives Lecture presented an overview of lessons learned from the historic cloning of Dolly the sheep that provide new opportunities for the study of degenerative diseases; and a State-of-the-Art Lecture described how sequencing technology is powering genome analyses of humans and animal species. Meeting participants were invited to attend a Diversity Symposium Lecture that described an association between phthalates (semi-volatile organic compounds used to increase the flexibility of plastics, which are present in water supplies) and instances of preterm births, as well as early, abnormal breast development in prepubertal females, for at-risk populations. A Trainee Forum, open to all interested Trainees and early-career scientists, was composed of a diverse panel of speakers who discussed the challenges scientists face in maintaining a work-life balance. A Trainee-Mentor Luncheon matched small groups of Trainees with well-known scientists, providing an opportunity to engage in direct, informal conversation and to discuss careers and research. Continuing Medical Education credits were available to all participants. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Prior to and during the SSR Annual Meeting, organizers disseminated press releases that featured the scientific research being presented at the meeting. Extensive media coverage was arranged through the the Communications Office at Michigan State University, in collaboration with Richett Media, in Grand Rapids. Television interviews between local media representatives and SSR speakers provided information regarding reproductive research that would be of interest to the general public. Video recordings of major sessions have been posted on the Biology of Reproduction Website (SSR's scientific journal), accessible to all members of SSR. A scientific program was published in both a print and digital version, distributed to all meeting registrants. The digital version was posted on the SSR 2014 Annual Meeting Website: http://www.ssr.org/sites/ssr.org/files/uploads/attachments/node/10/14program.pdf. A meeting app was created and available for download, prior to and during the 2014 Annual Meeting, with links to the schedule, session information, abstracts, and much more. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?The theme for the subsequent SSR Annual Meeting is Evolution of Sex, and will feature major Plenary Sessions, poster sessions, and--for the first time--a series of concurrent Focus Sessions, an evolution of the Module format used in recent years. The President and Program Co-Chairs will work collaboratively to identify a series of thematically coherent sessions that will have broad appeal to researchers outside of the Society, as well as to SSR members. The theme is intended to tightly align the annual meeting's primary goal of bringing together an international group of scientists to learn the most recent advances in the reproductive sciences, while at the same time appealing to other related areas of research. The program organizers, consisting of the President, Program Co-Chairs, and carefully selected Focus Session Chairs, will identify and invite the best scientists in the world to present in the following major topic areas: epigenetics, sex determination, gonadal signaling, gonad development, eiosis, stem cells, oocyte biology, oocyte and embryology technology, fertilization and preimplantation development, the role of ncRNA in fertility, implantation and placenta, pregnancy, nutrition as it relates to reproduction, pituitary, environment, and the ovary. Other major sessions will include an Exchange Lecture, featuring award-winning presenters from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Society for Reproduction and Fertility (SRF), and SSR's own 2015 New Investigator Awardee; a Diversity Symposium, a Trainee Affairs Forum, and three poster sessions, each with approximately 200 poster presentations expected. Talks with a focus on agriculture will be incorporated throughout the program.
What was accomplished under these goals?
The meeting's program, Fertility: A Global Challenge, provided meeting participants with a forum in which they reflected on the many global and diverse backgrounds represented in the reproductive biology research community. Discussions in plenary, module, and platform sessions educated participants on the real-world issues in which reproductive science plays a major role, including the effects of the environment on reproduction in wildlife species, domesticated animals, and humans; the pressing need to regulate population growth; and the development and future of contraception. Participants learned about state-of-the-art approaches for research across the Phyla through round table discussions, and through spirited dialogue between the audiences and presenters. Concurrent sessions at the 2014 SSR Annual Meeting, each with three to four invited speakers, distributed information among the four major topic areas of reproductive biology: gametes, gonads, hormones, and reproductive tracts. Twenty-four platform sessions provided Trainee presenters the opportunity to discuss their research with senior scientists. Together with the Trainee Platform Competition, and daily poster sessions, these emerging scientists practiced and further developed their skills in communication and presentation, which will help them advance on their career paths. The Ag-Research Lecture, featuring USDA-NIFA-sponsored speaker, Dr. Milo Wiltbank (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin), revealed the genomics of early hominids and provided insights into the evolution of Homo sapiens. Additionally, Sir Ian Wilmut (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) provided a background into the historic relevance of cloning and presented recent progress in nuclear transfer and its global implications. Together, invited speakers, presenters, and meeting participants stimulated new research ideas for globally critical topics of contraception, population control, and how to improve reproductive efficiencies in agricultural species.
Progress 06/15/13 to 06/14/14
Target Audience: The 2013 Annual Meeting attracted 1,239 registrants; Regular and Associate SSR Members numbered--421, Trainee Members--443, Nonmember Students--153, Emeritus SSR Members--10, and Nonmembers--212. Ethnicity as indicated by each attendee was as follows: White--48%, Black--2%, Hispanic--6%, Asian/Pacific Islander--27%, Native American or Alaskan Native--0%, did not identify ethnicity--17%. The attendees included 561 males, 496 females, and 182 who did not reveal gender on the registration form. Registrants represented 37 countries; of those, 581 were from the USA, 82 from Japan, 281 from Canada, 80 from Europe, 56 from Korea, 81 from Central and South America, 34 from Australia and New Zealand, 8 from Near and Middle Eastern countries, and 36 from Far Eastern countries. Changes/Problems:
What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? The SSR 2013 Annual Meeting provided an intensive schedule of educational oral and poster sessions over a 3.5-day period. Participants heard from renowned speakers in major sessions, including a Keynote Address covering the topic of therapeutics, RNAs, and reproductive global health; a President's Symposium featuring a physicist, engineer, and mathematician, who assessed factors related to follicle microenvironment, fertilization, and identifying factors that lead to embryonic loss; and a State-of-the-Art Lecture presenting research on the outcomes of immune responses to infection and vaccination. Twenty concurrent module sessions covering major topic areas, twenty-five platform sessions, and three poster sessions with a total of 682 research posters were presented. Meeting participants were able to participate in a Diversity Symposium Lecture that discussed the affects of environmental contaminants on endocrine disruption. A Trainee Forum, open to all interested Trainees and early-career scientists, was composed of a panel of speakers who discussed transitioning from postdoctoral positions into independent careers. A Trainee-Mentor Luncheon matched small groups of Trainees with well-known scientists, providing an opportunity to engage in direct, informal conversation and to discuss careers, research, and maintaining balance between their professional and personal lives. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Before and during the SSR Annual Meeting, meeting organizers disseminated press releases that highlighted key research being presented. A pressroom was established at the Palais de Congres in Montreal, where reporters interviewed scientists and broadcast reports of interest to the scientific community and the public. Agriculture Today, Canadian Newswire, and Reuters, among many other media outlets, generated views and online dialogue of news releases from the meeting. Video recordings of the major plenary sessions have been posted on the Biology of Reproduction Website (SSR's scientific journal), accessible to all members of SSR. A scientific program including meeting abstracts was published, a print version was distributed to meeting participants, and a digital version was posted on the SSR 2013 Annual Meeting Website: http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/bor/SSR-46th-meeting/index.php. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? The theme for the subsequent SSR Annual Meeting is Fertility: A Global Challenge, which will seek to address the global issues of fertility in human beings, domesticated and agricultural animals, and wildlife species--how environmental changes and world-wide population growth affect fertility. A diverse group of speakers will address multiple challenges in their research, such as improving pregnancy rates in dairy cattle, using human cells to study the molecular mechanisms that cause disease, identifying drugs that reduce debilitating symptoms, treating infertility, and understanding the effects of lifestyle on reproductive outcomes. One module will be designated an NIH-USDA Agricultural/Large Animal Species session, to highlight recipients of NIH-USDA collaborative research grants.
What was accomplished under these goals?
Monitoring and managing global population, fostering human and animal reproductive wellbeing and function, protecting the health of offspring, and understanding the effects of human interaction with the environment on all species are the topics that concern members of the Society for the Study of Reproduction (SSR). The SSR Annual Meeting provided a forum where an international community of reproductive biologists, veterinarians, medical doctors, veterinarians, and industry professionals, together with doctoral and postdoctoral trainees, addressed the relevancy of their research to these important topics. Collaboratively, meeting participants assessed the challenges faced by all members of this field and by society as a whole, discussed methods and approaches for solving unanswered questions, and shared important discoveries to encourage innovative discussions that will shape future outcomes. The SSR Annual Meeting provided an intensive, 3.5-day conference consisting of scientific sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities designed to encourage the advancement of scientific knowledge; protect and preserve human and animal health; attract researchers, clinicians, and trainees from all over the world; and provided training for doctoral and postdoctoral Trainees in the field - the next generation of researchers. Together and individually, participants left the SSR meeting with (1) new scientific methods and techniques that could be applied to research and medical practice, and be disseminated to the world through publications; (2) a better understanding of new policies that improved their ability to receive federal research funding; (3) improved communication skills; and (4) more effective decision-making ability. These outcomes, in turn, will help forge a path toward better quality productivity in agricultural animals, improved fertility and birth control for humans and animals, and a healthier, safer environment.