THE ASPEN/SNOWMASS PERINATAL BIOLOGY CONFERENCE
The 2016 Aspen/Snowmass Perinatal Biology Symposium will focus on "Interconnecting Animal and Human Systems to Understand Life-Long Disease." There is a strong tradition of perinatal research and supporting conferences. This has been heightened by the explosive growth of interest in and information coming from exploration of the theory of the Developmental Origins of Health and Adult Disease (DOHAD). This theory posits that adverse events or inappropriate developmental cues in utero and in the early perinatal period determine the development of disease in adult life. From a field that was mainly observational DOHAD has now matured with numerous mechanistic studies. Furthermore, this theory has highlighted the important role that perinatal research plays in population and global health.
It is well recognized that perinatal research is truly interdisciplinary both in the scientific sense but also that clinicians, fetal, maternal and placental physiologists together with scientists using animal models need to interact to maximize the impact of their work. The broad nature of perinatal research further means that individuals from many disciplines who might normally attend a variety of separate conferences may attend a perinatal meeting such as the Aspen/Snowmass Perinatal Biology Conference. The following combination of features makes the Aspen/Snowmass Perinatal Biology Conference unique among perinatal research conferences:
It is multidisciplinary bringing together physician-scientists and basic biologists from diverse backgrounds.
While it attracts top scientists, it is not an honor society.
It attracts those performing cutting edge research in a variety of animal models and in humans.
It has a high representation of young investigators and trainees, most of whom present their original research in oral platform presentations and at poster sessions.
The aims of this conference are to bring together multidisciplinary clinical, translational, and basic investigators, including state of the art speakers, to a venue where they can interact with other members of the perinatal research community, exchange ideas and techniques, and make contacts beyond their own “specialist” field. It serves as a powerful venue to attract trainees, young scientists, and established investigators.
HISTORY OF THIS CONFERENCE
The 2 original meetings were held in 2000 and 2004. The theme of the 2000 meeting was “Perinatal Regulation of the Cardiovascular System” and in 2004 it was “Molecular and Cellular Signaling in the Perinatal Cardiovascular System.” It can be seen that both of these meetings were oriented towards study of the cardiovascular system. For a truly multidisciplinary perinatal biology conference, the structure and organization was reorganized. As such, in 2007, the first Aspen Perinatal Biology Conference was held. It had a major focus on broad representation by diverse perinatal biologists and a major focus to encourage attendance and participation by young investigators. The 2010 meeting followed this highly successful conference and continued the tradition of not only inviting established investigators in the field but also including new investigators on the program. As the name implies, the Perinatal Conferences in 2007 and 2010 were held in Aspen Colorado. The venue was the Given Institute in conjunction with the University of Colorado. Unfortunately, the Given Institute was no longer available after 2010. For this reason the 2013 conference moved to the Viceroy Hotel in nearby Snowmass, Colorado and was renamed the Aspen/Snowmass Perinatal Biology Meeting. Although the venue moved to Snowmass, the Aspen moniker remained as part of the title in homage to the previous successful meetings.