Changes in placental structure and function not only cause serious pregnancy complications but also determine life-long health by programming the fetus for future metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, the mechanisms linking altered placental function to poor short- and long-term outcomes are complex and remain largely unknown. To better understand placental biology and pathophysiology, a multidisciplinary approach utilizing a wide array of cutting edge technologies is required. Progress in this area is hampered by the lack of scientific meetings focused on placental biology. The primary objective of this R13 grant proposal is to meet the urgent need of a multidisciplinary, interactive forum for dissemination of novel concepts and exchange of ideas in placental research. The secondary objective is to provide a low cost, high-quality learning environment in the area of placental biology, which will encourage attendance and stimulate interest by graduate students, residents, and clinical and postdoctoral fellows. In our conference plan we seek support for an annual one-day conference as a satellite meeting the day before the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Reproductive Investigation (SRI). By this design we will maximize the impact of the meeting and will allow for attendance of a diverse group of basic scientists and clinical investigators ranging from graduate students to well established researchers. The meeting will allow ample time for interaction, informal discussion and networking and is anticipated to attract 120-150 attendees each year. The program will have a balanced mix of state of the art lectures presented by the leaders in the field, emerging concept presentations, and shorter talks by trainees. All speakers will be mandated to provide ample time for questions and discussion. This proposal is significant because the meeting is timely and will promote novel scientific inquiry into placental biology, which is expected to pave the way for future innovation to develop approaches to monitor placental function in vivo and to target the placenta for intervention. The proposal includes numerous innovative aspects. For example, we propose to facilitate the utilization and adaptation of emerging concepts from other research fields by inviting one speaker each year that works in a research area other than placental biology. To provide ample opportunities for early career investigators to connect, discuss, and interact with the speakers we propose to organize the conference lunch so that in training investigators will have direct access to speakers in a small group. The proposed meeting is expected to have significant and sustained impact on the field because it is unique in bringing together world-leading investigators representing diverse but complementary expertise in a creative and interactive forum, which is necessary to address the complex scientific questions pertaining to the role of placenta in determining health and disease from fetal life to adulthood.

Public Health Relevance

The function of the placenta determines life-long health because changes in placental function play an important role in the development of many pregnancy complications and increases the risk of developing diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer in adult life. Our understanding of placental function is however limited, in part because there are currently no scientific meetings specificall focused on the placenta that brings together the best researchers from different disciplines to solve the most urgent questions. To meet this need, we propose to organize a unique annual meeting focused on the role of the placenta in causing diseases of profound public health significance.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Conference (R13)
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Study Section
Biobehavioral and Behavioral Sciences Subcommittee (CHHD)
Program Officer
Ilekis, John V
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University of Colorado Denver
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Elston, Marlee; Urschitz, Johann (2017) Transposase-mediated gene modulation in the placenta. Placenta 59 Suppl 1:S32-S36
Jansson, Thomas (2016) Placenta plays a critical role in maternal-fetal resource allocation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:11066-11068