For the past 40 years, the David W. Smith Workshop on Malformations and Morphogenesis has brought together dysmorphologists, developmental biologists, embryologists, anatomists, geneticists and others who work on developing a better understanding of how human malformations occur and their underlying mechanisms of morphogenesis. The workshops are held annually in celebration of the career of David W. Smith who was the father of human clinical dysmorphology and first to initiate these meetings. Meetings are held over 4-5 days in the summer and have an attendance of 120-140 individuals who are selected following submission of abstracts reviewed by the scientific program committee. Attendance is predicated on having an abstract accepted for presentation. The workshop is intended to be an interactive exchange and thus is limited only to those presenting that year. Each year three to five central topics are selected by the organizers. The selection of topics takes into account when the topic had last been a focus, and the timeliness of the topic based on new scientific developments and emerging fields. The meetings consist of a workshop format in which short presentations of hypothesis driven findings are then followed by an intense discussion period. There are also typically 3-4 plenary sessions presented by internationally recognized experts in the field. These presentations cover broad topics related to the central topics chosen for the workshop. The meetings have a long history of wide-ranging and stimulating discussion and have provided an especially important focus for the development and recruitment of residents, fellows and junior faculty into the field of morphogenesis, malformation and birth defects research.
Birth defects are a leading cause of death and morbidity in children around the world. The David W. Smith Workshop on Malformations and Morphogenesis has a history of being the primary forum where clinicians and basic scientists exchange information on the pathogenesis of human malformations. This proposal is a request to provide continuing support for the David W. Smith Workshop in the form of travel stipends for residents, fellows, junior faculty and a select number of plenary speakers.