General Information


The goal of the Structural Birth Defect meeting is to maintain an interactive special interest working group of investigators focused on multidisciplinary approaches to elucidate the genetic epidemiology, etiology, pathogenesis, developmental biology, and genetics of structural birth defects.

The meeting is designed to provide a forum for established investigators and trainees to discuss the plans for and progress of their research, exchange ideas and information, share resources, and foster synergistic collaborations relevant to birth defects research. 

Previously only open to investigators funded by the NIH-sponsored Birth Defects Initiatives the forum was expanded in 2017 to the broader structural birth defects research community. This meeting is now programmed by a Steering Committee elected by the meeting attendees and managed by the Society for Developmental Biology.

In addition to providing a collaborative space for established investigators, this meeting is designed to foster the development of the next generation of scientists with travel, talk, and poster awards as well as mentoring events including organized trainee dinners and an elevator pitch competition. 

Research areas covered include structural birth defects studied in humans and model organisms. Specific defects include both isolated and syndromic structural birth defects affecting the central nervous system, face, heart, diaphragm, limb, skeleton, genital and urinary tract. Elucidation of the etiology of the disorder involving Mendelian genetics, gene-environment interactions, and environmental teratogens.

Program Highlights

  • Welcome address from Alison Cernich, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Keynote Talks
    • Loydie Jerome-Majewska, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University
    • Licia Selleri, Ph.D., M.D., Professor, Institute for Human Genetics, Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Department of Craniofacial Sciences, University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry
  • Platform Sessions - Talks selected from submitted abstracts
  • Mentoring Sessions
  • Poster Sessions
  • Trainee Awards