Published: 10 June 2020
Category: News

Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

I am pleased to invite you to attend the 60th Annual Meeting of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, taking place VIRTUALLY this June and July! The theme for this year’s meeting is “Honoring Teratology’s Roots, Growing a Healthier Future.” This will be an exciting meeting as we celebrate both our history under the Teratology Society name and the important scientific advances symbolized by our new name and logo.

The Program Committee, chaired by Elise Madison Lewis, has put together an outstanding program around this theme, including a special session on COVID-19’s effects on pregnant women and their babies. Our keynote speaker will be NICHD Director Dr. Diana Bianchi, and recently retired NIEHS Director Dr. Linda Birnbaum will deliver the Warkany Lecture.

The program offers an exciting variety of scientific sessions on topics including:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) and pregnancy (free pre-meeting session on Thursday, June 11th)
  • Investigation of a potential outbreak of birth defects
  • Gene therapy, CRISPR/Cas9 technology, breakthroughs, and ethical challenges
  • Opioid use in pregnancy
  • Embryogenesis at high-resolution
  • Perinatal and postnatal exposures to environmental chemicals
  • Obesity and metabolic disorders
  • Assessing pregnancy risk of immunomodulators

Additionally, the meeting will include 34 platform presentations, including the Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Platform and the Innovator Award Finalists Platform, and attended poster sessions. Once again, the best trainee platform and poster presentations will be recognized with special awards.

Our virtual meeting will also include two special social events for attendees to catch up and network with friends and colleagues. The first will be a special Presidents' Welcome Reception Zoom Social hosted by myself and our Past Presidents who are participating in the virtual meeting. The second will be a special Warkany Tea Zoom Social in honor of our 60th Anniversary.

The Education Committee, chaired by Caren Villano, has developed three exciting Education Courses pertaining to immune system development, juvenile toxicology, and ovarian assessment. The Education Courses will take place on Thursdays throughout the month of July.

Please visit the Annual Meeting website for complete program and registration details:

Thank you to our Annual Meeting Sponsors (below) for their continued support of our meeting in its new virtual format. Their financial support has allowed us to use the best available technology for an enhanced, interactive meeting while keeping registration fees manageable for all participants. Additionally, I would like to thank our Sustaining Members (below) for their continued support of the year-round operations of the Society.

Our Annual Meeting provides us with the opportunity to promote our shared vision and scientific identity as researchers focused on the causes, manifestations, intervention, and prevention of birth defects, both structural and functional. It is also a celebration of our scientific diversity as a Society of clinicians, scientists, and science policy regulators from academic, industrial, and government sectors, and an opportunity to bring a truly multidisciplinary perspective to important and emerging scientific issues. We hope you will join us online for what promises to be an informative and engaging virtual meeting, and please consider inviting those who would have been unable to travel to Charleston due to budget restrictions!


Christine Perdan Curran, PhD,
BDRP President

2020 Annual Meeting Sponsors

Diamond Level
Charles River
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant R13 5R13HD098863-02
Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI)
Wiley Publishing

Silver Level
Middle Atlantic Reproduction and Teratology Association (MARTA)
Sandcastle Toxicology Associates
Sanofi US Services Inc.
Stephen B. Harris Group
Society of Toxicology
Aclairo Pharmaceutical Development Group, Inc.
Experimur Toxicology Testing and Research

2020 Sustaining Members

Platinum Level
Charles River

Gold Level
AbbVie, Inc.
GlaxoSmithKline Pfizer, Inc.
Reproductive Toxicology Center
Scialli Consulting

Silver Level
Experimur Toxicology Testing and Research
Eli Lilly and Company

Last Updated: 11 June 2020
Published: 30 April 2020
Category: News


In November 2018, the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention published a position statement on surveillance and prevalence estimation of neural tube defects. This position statement was co-authored by Vijaya Kancherla, Susan L Carmichael, Marcia L Feldkamp, and Robert J Berry, and was endorsed by the organizations co-sponsoring this webinar.

In the position statement, the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, then known as the Teratology Society, acknowledges the value of accurate measurement of total prevalence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the population to support prevention, and advocates for rigorous surveillance worldwide. Birth defects surveillance is fundamental to understanding NTD prevalence, and an essential aspect of prevention efforts. Active, multi-source, population-based birth defects surveillance with standard data collection protocols is vital to assess baseline NTD prevalence for an effective implementation of folic acid intervention in countries, and to evaluate its global impact. The choice of pregnancy outcomes included in the numerator and denominator of the prevalence formula significantly influences the estimated burden of NTDs in the population. Methodologic approaches in prevalence estimation have differed across countries, with different pregnancy outcomes (i.e., live births, stillbirths, and elective terminations for fetal anomalies) used in the numerator and denominator of the prevalence formula. The Society recommends the following approaches for standardizing and improving NTD prevalence estimation globally: 1) Prevalence estimates should be based on population-based surveillance that utilizes multiple data sources and standard data collection protocols to include all pregnancy outcomes and infant mortality; and 2) Prevalence estimates should capture all NTD phenotypes and include anencephaly and NTDs that co-occur with other major birth defects or syndromes. The Society acknowledges that inaccuracies in surveillance findings have a potential to hinder prevention and should be addressed and corrected as soon as possible. The society will continue to champion for improved NTD prevalence estimation procedures and standardizing them globally.

In this webinar, Dr. Kancherla will discuss the position statement as well as her current relevant research.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Vijaya Kancherla is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She also works as an epidemiologist at the Center for Spina Bifida Prevention at Emory University. Dr. Kancherla has received her doctoral degree in Epidemiology from the University of Iowa, and completed post-doctoral training as Pierre Decouflé Fellow with the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her current work includes neural tube defects surveillance, risk factors and health outcomes research, prevention, and policy. She serves on various research national and international committees examining neural tube defects epidemiology and global prevention strategies for these birth defects. She is an affiliate member of the International Clearinghouse on Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR), member of the Public Affairs Committee of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (BDRP), and a consultant to the to the WHO Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and the Nutrition International’s Folate Task Team.

Webinar recording Link:


Last Updated: 11 June 2020