Over 320 Registrants for Inaugural One-Day Symposium Event, Translating Placental Biology into Child Development

On Friday, May 4th, the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, hosted a day-long symposium event featuring 12 experts from different fields of study but with a common focus; investigating placenta biology and its role in development and complex disorders. The symposium was held in Sommer Hall at the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health, with over 320 registrants from 36 institutions and organizations, and a mostly full house throughout the day.

The event began with a session focused on the biology of placenta, where the topics discussed included epigenetic plasticity and the transcriptional landscape of placenta, and its relevance for pregnancy complications, fetal programming and development. The link between placenta biology and brain development was the focus of the second session, where the role of the placenta in mediating the effect of prenatal stress on brain development were discussed, through processes involving sex-specific epigenetic changes, secretion of neurotransmitters, and inflammatory response.

LIBD CEO & Director, Daniel Weinberger, MD, presents at the Placenta Symposium 2018.


The third session was dedicated to studies showing how genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors may interact in affecting risk for complex disorders, through processes that can involve placenta biology. Finally, the keynote lecture highlighted the role of placenta exosomes in the communication among the maternal, placental and fetal compartments.


Thank you to the expert speakers who helped make the symposium a success this year:

Session 1: Biology of the Placenta
Laura Schulz, PhD, University of Missouri
Susan J. Fisher, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Thomas Jansson, MD, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver
Brian Cox, PhD, University of Toronto

Session 2: Transplacental signals and neurodevelopment
Tracy Bale, PhD, University of Maryland
Alex Bonnin, PhD, University of Southern California
Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Session 3: Placenta health and child development
Janine LaSalle, PhD, University of California, Davis
Dani Fallin, PhD, JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health
Xiaobin Wang, ScD, JHU Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Daniel R. Weinberger, MD, Lieber Institute for Brain Development

Keynote Lecture
Yoel Sadovsky, MD, University of Pittsburgh

Our hope is the symposium served to create a multidirectional bridge across fields, and will continue leading to new conversations and research to better understand the role of the placenta in development and complex disorders.  Finally, thank you to the symposium partners: Lieber Institute for Brain Development, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for making the inaugural event a success.

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Placenta Symposium 2018 Recap