Tri-Institutional Symposium on Reproductive Biology & Infertility (Tri-Repro)
Principal Investigator: Paula Cohen
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):
Reproductive health is not only critical for fertility and propagation of the species, but also underlies many key parameters of human health and longevity. As such, our understanding of the genetic and molecular basis of key events in reproduction is critical for our ability to improve reproductive health, fertility, and the physiological well-being of our species. Thus, the primary goal of the current R13 Conference Proposal is to provide a small local two-day annual conference focusing on reproductive biology and infertility. This event has emerged out of similar long-standing symposia held by Cornell University’s Center for Reproductive Genomics (CRG) and by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Research in Reproduction and Women’s Health (CRRWH), which make up two of the tripartite group, the third being the Center for Reproductive Genetics and Therapy (CRG&T) at Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) at the University of Pittsburgh. The Cornell and MWRI groups initiated combined symposia in 2018, and over two years, these have been hugely successful. With the inclusion of UPenn, we have renamed this annual two-day symposium Tri-Institutional Symposium on Reproductive Biology & Infertility, or Tri-Repro. The second goal of Tri-Repro is to focus on trainee career development by encouraging participation and leadership from our trainees, and by emphasizing trainee peer-to-peer interactions through the formation of a tri-institutional Trainee Organizing Committee. Trainees will select up to seven invited speakers, including renowned leaders in reproductive science from around the world, but also including new faculty from each of the three institutions. The venue for the symposium will rotate each year, providing a shift in location, but also encouraging changes in emphasis reflecting the varying interests of each Center. Most of the talks, and all of the posters, will feature trainee presenters selected by the committee from submitted abstracts, while a career development lunch forum on day 1 will feature invited speakers who will discuss specific areas of career development for all trainees. The third goal of Tri-Repro is to provide a local environment to promote localized interactions and networking with an aim to forge new collaborations between institutions in the Northeast. This has been the most successful component of our previous symposia: by inviting our neighboring guest institutions to join us at very low cost (the Tri-Repro group provides all registration and food to our guests, leaving them with only modest travel and accommodation costs to cover), we provide a rich environment in which neighboring institutions with interests and expertise in reproductive sciences can come together to discuss collaborative ideas and provide feedback to each other. Such an environment is often more comfortable and intimate than large national conferences, allowing even the most timid of trainees to interact with peers and faculty alike. The fourth goal of Tri-Repro is to champion the inclusion and active participation of women and people from underrepresented groups in our field, a feature that has been a major focus of our previous symposia, and which we will continue to prioritize at future events.