April 8, 2017

ralph marcucioDear Members and Friends of SCGDB,

I am very happy to write this newsletter as the new President of the Society of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology (SCGDB). The mission of the SCGDB is to promote education, research, and communication about normal and abnormal development of the tissues and organs of the head. We achieve this as a group at our annual meeting. In this letter I will summarize our activities over the past year, share plans for the annual meeting, and provide a vision for the future of the society.

2016 Annual Meeting

The 39th Annual Meeting of the SCGDB was held immediately prior to the annual meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology on August 3rd at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and August 4th at the Folkman Auditorium, Boston Children’s Hospital.  We are indebted to the local organizing committee, Drs. Jennifer Fish, (University of Massachusetts, Lowell), Craig Albertson  (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), and Matthew Harris (Boston Children’s Hospital) for remarkable efforts to make the meeting a success!

The meeting began with an exciting workshop on evolutionary and developmental biology which was sponsored by Developmental Dynamics. Speakers included Drs. James Hanken, Joan Richtsmeier, and Thomas Schilling. This outstanding session was followed by a historic reception in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.  A very special thanks to Dr. Hanken is required for helping us host this event in such an outstanding and inspiring venue!!

The following day was comprised of a series of plenary sessions focused on development, evolution, and disease of the craniofacial complex. Featured member speakers included: Drs. Richard Schneider, Bonnie Padwa, and Eric Liao, as well as speakers chosen from submitted abstracts. In addition Mr. Thomas Harmel hosted a patient advocacy section that featured highly moving talks by patients. The day ended with an engaging poster session and reception featuring our trainees. Funds for the poster reception and post-doc poster awards were generously provided by the American Association of Anatomists, while the student poster awards were sponsored by genesis; Journal for Genetics and Development. We would like to again congratulate the post-doctoral (Drs. Lindsey Barske, William Munoz, Deepti Anand) and the student (Karla Terrazas, Kevin Flaherty, Katie Dolan – the font is different for the names) award winners. You can find the 2016 student and post-doctoral award winners as well as former winners listed on the Past Annual Meetings page of the SCGDB website (craniofacialgenetics.org) and also on our Facebook (www.facebook.com/SCGDB) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/SCGDB1) pages.

Congratulations to the winners for their outstanding presentations and thank you to everyone who attended our exciting annual meeting.

The complete proceedings of the 2016 meeting were published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics (Fish et al., 2017).

2017 Annual Meeting

I would like to extend an official invitation to attend the 40th annual meeting of the Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology. Like last year, this meeting will be held immediately prior to the meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology in Minneapolis, MN this summer.  Dr. Laura Gammill (University of Minnesota) is graciously and tirelessly acting as our local organizer to help plan an outstanding meeting.

Meeting Details:

The meeting will be held over 2 days on July 12 and 13.  On July 12th we will gather at the Weisman Art Museum on the campus of the University of Minnesota. A general session will begin at 3:30 and feature a keynote address from this year’s SDB Edwin G. Conklin Medal Winner, Dr. Philippe Soriano from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, as well as talks selected from submitted abstracts. This will be followed by a poster reception. The evening will end at 8PM.

On July 13th, we will reconvene at 8:00 at the Hyatt Regency in conjunction with the SDB meeting. Featured speakers for day 2 of this exciting meeting will include: Drs. Craig Albertson (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Clare Baker (University of Cambridge), Brian Schutte (Michigan State University), and Licia Selleri (University of California, San Francisco), as well as talks from selected abstracts.

Details about meeting registration and abstract submission can be found at (www.craniofacialgenetics.org/2017-annual-meeting/). This site as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages will also be updated to contain program information as it becomes available.

Welcoming our New Officers

Last year we elected 3 new officers, and they have been instrumental in running the society over the past year. Dr. Sally Moody (The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences) has joined the Executive Committee as the Vice President. Additionally, at last years meeting we voted and agreed to divide the Office of the Secretary/Treasurer into individual roles. Dr. Timothy Cox  (Seattle Children’s Hospital) was chosen as the Treasurer, and Dr. Lisa Taneyhill (University of Maryland, College Park) as the Secretary.

Communication and News

The Future

The Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology is a long-standing, yet somewhat fledgling society. Thanks to the efforts of Drs. Richtsmeier, Trainor and Lozanoff, the society is on solid financial ground, and we are excited to continue this tradition of growth. As the society moves forward, Drs. Richtsmeier, Trainor and Lozanoff are working on plans to develop an award to honor the outstanding achievements of our members in craniofacial biology.

We will continue to support junior scientists in the craniofacial community, and we encourage all of you to take active roles in the function of our society. We try to balance selected talks among junior and senior members of the society to provide opportunities for our colleagues at all career stages to present their research. I encourage all of you to engage in our society by attending the annual meeting, presenting your work, and spreading word about our society to your colleagues, basic scientists, and clinicians.

The 2018 meeting will once again partner with the Society for Human Genetics and we will head to the west coast for our annual meeting in San Diego.

Finally, information and news about SCGDB, its members and upcoming events can be found on our newly updated website and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SCGDB) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/SCGDB1) pages. Importantly, we would like to highlight everyone’s achievements. So, if you publish an exciting paper, issue a press release, receive an award, or are profiled in an article, please let us know so we can share the good news and keep our members up to date.


Ralph Marcucio, PhD
President, Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology
Professor, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA