Gordon Research Conferences
Meeting Details

Fertilization & Activation of Development
Gordon Research Conference

Next Horizons for Gamete Biology


July 17-22, 2011


Holderness School
Holderness, NH


Janice P. Evans

Vice Chair:
Pablo E. Visconti

Meeting Description

The Gordon Research Conference on Fertilization and Activation of Development started in 1974, and has met every other year since 1977, making 2011 the 19th of these conferences. This Gordon Research Conference brings together scientists addressing one of the most transformative moments in cell and developmental biology - the merger of sperm and egg for the creation of a totipotent cell, namely the zygote. At its core, this Gordon Research Conference is about the molecular and cell biology of the gametes. Topics include biological factors and phenomena that render the gametes "fertilization-competent," the central events of fertilization itself, and the transition into early embryonic development. We address both the basic science and the broader implications for reproductive health. Several themes running through the 2011 program are impacts of the male and female reproductive tract environments on gamete function and fertilization; how advanced imaging techniques have lead to new discoveries, particularly of gamete function in a physiological context; and intriguing evolutionarily conserved processes in fertilization. The 2011 program is diverse, including presentations on a wide array of species and by speakers at all career stages, established investigator to graduate student. Several late-breaking stories have been selected for presentations from abstract submissions, and there are two poster sessions, each with nearly 50 poster presentations. Platform sessions are moderated by discussion leaders, to facilitate exchange of ideas and discussion of research findings. In the great Gordon Research Conference tradition, open afternoon and evening time are provided for informal interactions between conferees; this conference has a rich tradition of being the place in the field for meeting colleagues and developing collaborations. Finally, the keynote session by Dr. Greg Kopf will be an opportunity to discuss where the field has been and where it is going, with consideration of how the basic science can mesh with translational science and ever-evolving priorities for advances in reproductive health.


Meeting Program

2:00 pm - 9:00 pmArrival and Check-in (Office Closed 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 7:35 pmWelcome / Introductory Comments by GRC Site Staff
7:35 pm - 7:40 pm Janice Evans (Johns Hopkins University)
"Chair's welcome"
7:40 pm - 9:30 pmReproductive insults affecting the gametes - beyond "fetal origins of health and disease" to "peri-conception" as well
Discussion Leader: Carmen Williams (NIEHS)
7:40 pm - 7:45 pmCarmen Williams (NIEHS)
7:45 pm - 8:10 pmBernard Robaire (McGill University)
"Effects of paternal age and exposure to DNA alkylating agents: from early zygotes to progeny outcome"
8:10 pm - 8:20 pmDiscussion
8:20 pm - 8:45 pmPatrick Allard (Harvard University)
"Germline exposure to environmental toxicants: assessing effects and mechanisms of function in C. elegans"
8:45 pm - 8:55 pmDiscussion
8:55 pm - 9:20 pmPaolo Rinaudo (UCSF)
"Effects of in vitro culture on embryonic gene expression and long-term consequences of IVF"
9:20 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
8:30 amGroup Photo
9:00 am - 12:30 pmSperm motility, migration, guidance, and chemotaxis
Discussion Leader: Laura Giojalas (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina)
9:00 am - 9:10 amLaura Giojalas (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina)
9:10 am - 9:35 amAdán Guerrero (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
"Proof of concept: Mathematical modeling and experimental studies of signaling, morphodynamic flagellar changes, and chemotactic behavior of echinoderm sperm"
9:35 am - 9:45 amDiscussion
9:45 am - 10:10 amTimo Strünker (Center of Advanced European Studies and Research)
"CatSper mediates progesterone-induced Ca2+ influx in human sperm"
10:10 am - 10:20 amDiscussion
10:20 amCoffee Break
10:50 am - 11:05 amNoritake Hirohashi (Ochanomizu University)
"Chemotaxis of squid sperm in response to carbon dioxide"
11:05 am - 11:15 amDiscussion
11:15 am - 11:40 amYukihiko Sugimoto (Kumamoto University)
"Timely interaction between prostaglandin and chemokine signaling is a prerequisite for successful mammalian fertilization"
11:40 am - 11:50 amDiscussion
11:50 am - 12:15 pmMichael Miller (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
"Sperm migratory behavior mediated by Insulin/FOXO-regulated prostaglandins in C. elegans"
12:15 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session 1
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmInteractions with and influences of the egg coat
Discussion Leader: Harvey Florman (Univ. Mass. Med. School)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmHarvey Florman, Discussion Leader (Univ. Mass. Med. School)
7:40 pm - 8:05 pmJurrien Dean (NIH)
"Gamete Recognition in Mice: Changing Paradigms"
8:05 pm - 8:15 pmDiscussion
8:15 pm - 8:40 pmLuca Jovine (Karolinska Institutet)
"Crystallographic studies of ZP3: Insights into egg coat assembly and egg-sperm interaction."
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmDiscussion
8:50 pm - 9:15 pmGary Clark (University of Missouri-Columbia)
"Mass spectrometric analysis of human zona pellucida glycans has revealed the major carbohydrate sequences that mediate the binding of human sperm"
9:15 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmImpacts of the reproductive tract environments on the gametes, Part I: From the epididymis to the oviduct
Discussion Leader: Pablo Visconti (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
9:00 am - 9:10 amPablo Visconti (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
9:10 am - 9:35 amGail Cornwall (Texas Tech University)
"Unexpected functions of two cystatin proteins in sperm function and male fertility"
9:35 am - 9:45 amDiscussion
9:45 am - 10:10 amAlex Travis (Cornell University)
"Lipid regulation of sperm calcium transients involved in acrosomal exocytosis"
10:10 am - 10:20 amDiscussion
10:20 amCoffee Break
10:50 am - 11:15 amCelia Santi (Washington University)
"Functions of the sperm-specific potassium channel SLO3 in male fertility"
11:15 am - 11:25 amDiscussion
11:25 am - 11:50 amJackson Kirkman-Brown (University of Birmingham)
"Human sperm motility: fluid dynamic analyses and effects of exposure to female tract cells"
11:50 am - 12:00 pmDiscussion
12:00 pm - 12:15 pmWoojin Kang (University of Tsukuba)
"Acrosome reaction of mouse epididymal sperm facilitates the entry into the cumulus mass"
12:15 pm - 12:25 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session 1 (continued)
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmRegulation of sperm-egg interactions: Getting one sperm in and keeping the others out
Discussion Leader: Gary Wessel (Brown University)
7:30 pm - 7:35 pmGary Wessel (Brown University)
7:35 pm - 8:00 pmAnna Burkart (NIH)
"A cortical granule protease that cleaves mouse ZP2"
8:00 pm - 8:10 pmDiscussion
8:10 pm - 8:30 pmHitoshi Nishimune (Emory University/Setsunan University)
"Identification of a mouse Izumo1-like gene in C. elegans that is required for fertilization"
8:30 pm - 8:40 pmDiscussion
8:40 pm - 9:05 pmMark Johnson (Brown University)
"Molecular genetic analysis of gamete fusion in Arabidopsis"
9:05 pm - 9:15 pmDiscussion
9:15 pm - 9:25 pmStefanie Sprunck (Univerisity of Regensburg)
"Sperm-egg interaction in flowering plants: A genome-wide transcriptomics approach to identify cell surface proteins necessary for gamete recognition and fusion in Arabidopsis"
9:25 pm - 9:30 pmDiscussion
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmThe Egg-to-Embryo Transition
Discussion Leader: Karl Swann (Cardiff University)
9:00 am - 9:10 amKarl Swann (Cardiff University)
9:10 am - 9:35 amCarmen Williams (NIEHS)
"Outside-in calcium signaling is required for mouse egg activation"
9:35 am - 9:45 amDiscussion
9:45 am - 10:10 amSatomi Takeo (Stowers Institute)
"Calcineurin-mediated completion of meiosis in Drosophila eggs"
10:10 am - 10:20 amDiscussion
10:20 amCoffee Break
10:50 am - 11:15 amAnthony Perry (University of Bath)
"Zn and the Art of Meiotic Cycle Maintenance"
11:15 am - 11:25 amDiscussion
11:25 am - 11:45 amTom O'Halloran (Northwestern University)
"Fluxes in the Inorganic Signature of the Egg: Zinc sparks are triggered by fertilization and facilitate cell cycle resumption in mammalian eggs"
11:45 am - 11:55 am Discussion
11:55 am - 12:15 pm Anna Ajduk (University of Cambridge)
"Actomyosin-driven cytoplasmic movements induced by sperm entry predict mammalian embryo viability"
12:15 pm - 12:25 pm Discussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session 2
6:00 pmDinner
7:00 pm - 7:30 pmBusiness Meeting
Nominations for the next Vice Chair; Fill out Conference Evaluation Forms; Discuss future Site & Scheduling preferences; Election of the next Vice Chair
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmImpacts of the reproductive tract environments on the gametes, Part II: post-copulatory sperm competition
Discussion Leader: Gillian Stanfield (University of Utah)
7:30 pm - 7:40 pmGillian Stanfield (University of Utah)
7:40 pm - 8:05 pmMollie Manier (Syracuse University)
"Resolving mechanisms of post-copulatory pre-zygotic reproductive isolation in Drosophila"
8:05 pm - 8:15 pmDiscussion
8:15 pm - 8:40 pmKeith Sutton (Univ. Mass. Med. School)
"PKDREJ in sperm transport, capacitation, and postcopulatory reproductive selection"
8:40 pm - 8:50 pmDiscussion
8:50 pm - 9:15 pmGillian Stanfield (University of Utah)
"Modulating sperm motility to ensure reproductive success: strategies in C. elegans males"
9:15 am - 9:30 pmDiscussion
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 am - 12:30 pmPriming And Programming Successful Embryogenesis
Discussion Leader: Scott Coonrod (Cornell University)
9:00 am - 9:10 amScott Coonrod (Cornell University)
9:10 am - 9:20 amAmber Krauchunas (Cornell University)
"Phosphorylation changes during egg activation in D. melanogaster"
9:20 am - 9:30 amDiscussion
9:30 am - 9:55 amChristian Sardet (Villefranche Marine Station CNRS; Univ. Paris)
"Translation control of cortical maternal determinants in ascidians"
9:55 am - 10:05 amDiscussion
10:05 amCoffee Break
10:35 am - 10:45 amRobin Lindeman (University of Wisconsin)
"Zebrafish maternal-effect gene futile cycle encodes a homologue of human lrmp/jaw1 with essential roles in nuclear-centrosomal attachment and pronuclear congression"
10:45 am - 10:55 amDiscussion
10:55 am - 11:20 amJay Baltz (Ottawa Health Research Institute)
"Novel mechanisms of cell volume regulation in preimplantation embryos and clues for unexplained developmental arrest"
11:20 am - 11:30 amDiscussion
11:30 am - 11:55 amGreg FitzHarris (University College London Institute for Women's Health)
"Spindle structure and the fidelity of chromsome segregation during preimplantation development"
11:55 am - 12:05 amDiscussion
12:05 pm - 12:20 pmGary Wessel (Brown University)
"Polar bodies: from meiotic by-product to useful product"
12:20 pm - 12:30 pmDiscussion
12:30 pmLunch
1:30 pm - 4:00 pmFree Time
4:00 pm - 6:00 pmPoster Session 2 (continued)
6:00 pmDinner
7:30 pm - 9:30 pmKeynote Lecture
Discussion Leader: Janice Evans (Johns Hopkins University)
7:30 pm - 8:30 pmGreg Kopf (Kansas University Medical Center)
"Where are the Next Horizons for Gamete Biology? - A Blue Print for the Future"
8:30 pm - 9:00 pmDiscussion
7:30 am - 8:30 amBreakfast
9:00 amDeparture

This award is co-funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA). All publications, posters, oral presentations at scientific meetings, seminars, and any other forum in which results of this co-funded research are presented must include a formal acknowledgement of the NICHD/NIA support, citing the NICHD grant number as identified on this award document. The previous terms and conditions of award remain in effect as stated below.

Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by Grant 1R13HD70498-01 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
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