A Birth Defects Insights Blog

By Sonja Rasmussen, MD, MS, Past President of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

So much has changed in the past year — who could have predicted that terms like lockdown, herd immunity, and personal protective equipment (PPE) would become part of the general public’s vocabulary?! The same is true regarding what we know about COVID-19 and pregnancy. Looking back to a year ago, in February of 2020, the news was beginning to be dominated by reports of a novel virus that had emerged in Wuhan, China. By February, I had been following…


A Birth Defects Insights Blog

by Elise M. Lewis, PhD, President of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

Recently I was interviewed by a local news network that was working on a Black History series celebrating living history. This was indeed a surprise and an honor, and I must extend my gratitude to Dr. Maia Green for recommending me for the momentous opportunity. Prior to this interview, if I were asked what Black History Month meant to me, I’d simply reply “it is a time to reflect on my culture and family traditions, remember the legacy of those…


From anti-anxiety gummies to infused “wellness water,” cannabidiol (CBD) popularity has skyrocketed in the personal care, wellness, and food industries. CBD is one of the main cannabinoids found in cannabis plants such as marijuana and hemp. Starting in the late 1990s, paradigm shifts in public viewpoints on cannabis drove the gradual legalization of marijuana for medical use and spurred subsequent interest in the potential for cannabis-derived therapeutics. In my wellness-orientated home state of California, CBD products are ubiquitous in personal care aisle and health stores. …


A Birth Defects Insights Blog

By Alfred N. Romeo, RN, PhD MotherToBaby Utah and Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (BDRP) Communications Coordination Committee Member

As with many jobs, the day in the life of a teratogen information specialist is always interesting. I work with MotherToBaby Utah at the Utah Department of Health in our Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant agency. This means that our sister programs, such as Oral Health, the Office of Home Visiting, Utah Birth Defect Network, and others, are also working to improve the health of women and children. Many MotherToBaby affiliates…


Birth Defects Insights, a Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention Blog

By Lauren M. Walker, PhD

When we examine the role of scientists in their communities historically, we tend to think of them as “neutral” or “impartial” entities. Part of the way of the world, yet somewhat separated from it. Until recently, we researchers — in the spirit of advancing our common goal and fostering a collegial atmosphere — have leaned towards “keeping politics out of” our research labs, conferences, and colleague-to-colleague interactions.

While it is true that we should not allow politics to interfere with conducting robust, ethical…


A Day in the Life of a PhD Student Amidst the Pandemic

A Special Birth Defects Insights Blog Series

By Bevin Blake, PhD, Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention Member Since 2018

Scientists everywhere are adapting to the “new normal” in the age of COVID-19 as the world around us demands rapid answers to complex questions. The current situation has shone light on the importance of exposure-related research and has revealed the critical need for crosstalk between public health experts, the medical community, laboratory-based research scientists, and the general public. Several of the important questions to arise during this…


A Special Birth Defects Insights Blog Series

By Mona Dai, PhD Student Member Since 2018

Running. If I had to choose just one word to describe my experience pursuing my doctorate, I would choose “running”. Almost every day I’m running from classes to meetings to talks; I’ve never had a week exactly like the one before; that’s why one of my favorite things about student life is the variety.

Before becoming a graduate student, I worked as a research fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During my EPA fellowship, I was inspired by the passion and dedication of each…


By Christine Perdan Curran, Northern Kentucky University

President, Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

The Teratology Society is proud to announce a new name and logo to celebrate its long history and dedication to protecting the world’s most vulnerable population through the combined efforts of scientists and clinicians. As the Society approaches its 60th Anniversary, it’s a tribute to the important work we do and clearly communicates the impact and value of our scientific efforts.

When my mother-in-law told me that my research was too complicated to understand, I made it simple. …


The Unacceptable Truth of Maternal Mortality and What We Can Do to Change It through Research

Birth Defects Insights, a Teratology Society Blog

By Suzan Carmichael, PhD, MS, Teratology Society Member

Maternal mortality refers to maternal deaths that are related to pregnancy and occur during pregnancy or soon after giving birth. Did you know that in the U.S., our rate of maternal mortality is higher than any other high-income country? This is not acceptable. This already embarrassingly high rate is on the rise — maternal deaths are actually increasing in the U.S. Severe maternal morbidities — conditions that put women…


A Scientist’s Life-Changing Experience of Visiting Capitol Hill

Birth Defects Insights, a Teratology Society Blog

By Lauren M. Walker, BS

I focused on the soft click-clack sound of people’s shoes on the marble floor to redirect my nervous energy. “We have about 20 minutes before our first meeting,” Sally Schwettmann, our Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) staff guide, said, “Let’s hang out outside until 5 minutes before.” We were standing outside the office of Congressman Mark Takano — U.S. Representative for California’s 41st district, my district — on Capitol Hill. Through a Teratology Society-funded FASEB Howard Garrison…

Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

Est. 1960 as the Teratology Society. www.birthdefectsresearch.org

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