SRI 2019 Annual Meeting Summary
The 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for Reproductive Investigation (SRI), with the theme “From Innovation to Impact”, took place in Paris, France March 12 – 16, 2019 and welcomed over 1,300 attendees, breaking the overall attendance record.
The meeting was preceded on Tuesday afternoon by the second annual Bayer Sponsored Career Development Workshops with an attendance of 122, surpassing the 100 attendees at the Career Development Workshops in 2018. The Career Development Workshops covered topics such as “Alternative Careers: What are Biotech and Pharmaceutical Companies Looking For?”, presented by Bayer; “From Postdoc to Independence: The Secret Sauce”; “From Innovation to Impact: How to Have More Great Scientific Ideas”; “Grant Writing 101: How to Write an Irresistible Grant Proposal”; and concluded with “How to Handle Failure and Rejection in Science”. This year, there were eight in-training and early career attendees awarded with travel grants supported by the NIH, and recognized during the Career Development Workshops.
Directly following the workshops, the Mentor-in-a-Cloud Speed Dating and Networking event took place. Mentee attendees were asked to select up to four mentors to meet with over the course of the event. Mentors and mentees who had previously been paired were invited to meet during the event. There were 11 new mentor/mentee pairings that emerged from the Speed Dating and Networking event.
Wednesday kicked off with the Mid-Career Session titled, “Taking your Research to the Next Level”. Additionally on Wednesday, six satellite meetings were held covering the topics of Fetal Physiology, Placenta, Preterm Birth, Myometrium/Parturition, Endometrium, and Ovarian Biology. The Satellite Meetings broke the previously held attendance record of 545 from the 62nd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, reaching just over 600 participants in Paris. Over lunch, Dr. Usha Pillai discussed “Gender Diversity: The Business Case and Other Key Drivers” with attendees during the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum. After the satellite meetings, the New Investigator Forum took place, where the panel focused on “Negotiations and Other Difficult Conversations”. Attendees ended Wednesday evening at the Welcome Reception where Drs. Murray Mitchell and Les Myatt officially launched the SRI Foundation with a toast to its current and future success. Participants continued the evening networking amongst peers over appetizers and French wine.
The meeting officially started on Thursday with a Welcome by SRI President, Dr. Murray Mitchell. The first Presidential Distinguished Lecture ensued as Dennis Lo, FRS, Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Medicine, the Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and Chairman of the Department of Chemical Pathology of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, presented on “Plasma Nucleic Acids in Health and Disease.” Dr. Lo’s lecture was followed by the President’s New Investigator Plenary, supported by the Past Presidents’ Fund, and was co-moderated by SRI Past President, Dr. John Challis and Dr. Murray Mitchell. Directly following the President’s New Investigator Plenary, the 25 SRI President’s Presenter Awardees were recognized for their meritorious oral abstracts submitted to the 66th Annual Meeting.
The first Poster Session followed, as attendees viewed over 270 posters and visited with exhibitors. This year, two concurrent Lunch and Learn Symposia were held on Thursday. The first titled, “Insights into Drug Discovery and Development in Women’s Health: From Target Ideas to Molecules, to Medicine” and the second titled, “Genome Editing and the Future of Reproduction”. Concurrent Oral Presentations and six Mini Symposia were held Thursday afternoon. Thursday evening, in-training attendees had the opportunity to meet with mid-career and senior mentors, including the Distinguished Lecturers, Drs. Dennis Lo and Robin Lovell-Badge, to discuss topics of interest at the seventh annual Connection Corners event. Connection Corners is an event hosted by the In Training Member Committee dedicated to the development of In Training Members. The theme of this year’s Connection Corners was “Impact Unpacked” with table topics such as Diversity in the Scientific Workplace and From Innovation to Impact and Beyond.
Friday morning started off with the SRI Business Meeting and ended with Dr. Mitchell officially handing over the leadership of the SRI to Dr. Jim Segars, 2019 – 2020 SRI President. Friday morning continued with the second President’s Distinguished Lecture, presented by Robin Lovell-Badge, CBE, FRS FMedSci, senior group leader and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute. Dr. Lovell-Badge’s lecture was titled, “Sex, Desert Islands, and A Question of Balance”. The Distinguished Lecture was followed by the second Poster Session of 270 posters and Concurrent Oral Presentations II. Over lunch, there were two additional concurrent Lunch and Learn Symposia. The first was titled, “Sharing Data, Ideas and Resources to Have an Impact on Perinatal Research”. The second Lunch and Learn Symposium session was titled, “The Impact of Clinical Trials on Improving Reproductive Health”. Mini Symposia II and Concurrent Oral Presentations III rounded out the afternoon on Friday.
On Friday evening, Dr. Mitchell presented the President’s Achievement Award to Dr. Sarah England of Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Jane Norman from the University of Edinburgh was selected to receive the Frederick Naftolin Award for Mentorship. Dr. Norman Gant of UT Southwestern, was honored with the DeCherney Society Lifetime Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Scientist Award was presented to Dr. Roger Smith of the University of Newcastle. Directly following the presentation of the awards, Dr. Mitchell gave his President's Address. To close the evening, attendees celebrated with a French Wine and Cheese Reception that flowed right into the second and highly anticipated performance of the SRI Band, “The Featles”. Participants danced the night away as your very own SRI Members put on a wonderful show covering a variety of musical genres. A very special thanks to the members of The Featles: Bill Pearce, Dave Wright, Phil Bennett, Sam Mesiano, Yingqun Huang, Jasmin Plows, Jessica Hebert, and Jeff Keelan who got to show off their talents as they performed.
The third and final Poster Session, which consisted of 270 posters and close to 80 Late Breaking Abstract posters was held on Saturday morning followed by Concurrent Oral Presentations IV. The afternoon brought the “Hot Topics” session, which was comprised of two Late Breaking Abstracts selected for oral presentations. Finally, the Awards Ceremony completed the meeting. At this ceremony, the New SRI Early Career Investigator Awards, Laxmi Baxi Awards, Rogerio A. Lobo Award, Giorgio Pardi Awards, Thomas McDonald Award, the SRI Travel Awards and the 20 Best Poster Awards were given out by Dr. England.
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SRI would like to thank our Annual Meeting Supporters, as well as Exhibitors:
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Fondazione Giorgio Pardi
Krishnamurthy Tandon Foundation
Supported in part by March of Dimes Grant No. 4-FY19-354
IQ Products BV
Metabolomic Diagnostics Ltd
Reproductive Scientists Development Program (RSDP)
Save the Date for 2020!