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International conference celebrates science, progress


Anthony Firulli, PhD

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing isn’t the only thing that’s drawing crowds to the Circle City this May. Hundreds of scientists and physicians from around the world have arrived to attend the Weinstein Cardiovascular Development and Regeneration Meeting, an annual three-day conference that focuses on scientific progress in the field of cardiovascular development.

Each year, the international meeting is held at a different location. This year’s event is May 9 through 11 at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Indianapolis. The 2019 meeting is organized and hosted by scientists from Indiana University School of Medicine. The group last hosted the event in May 2007.

“Congenital heart defects are the number one encountered congenital defect in humans, and they cause a significant number of health-related issues,” said Anthony Firulli, PhD, chief organizer of the event. “Our goal is to build a rich community where clinical research and basic research work hand-in-hand to make these issues obsolete.”

Firulli is the director of the Cardiovascular Developmental Biology research group at the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. Together with the Cardiovascular Genetics group—also in the Wells Center—and the Division of Pediatric Cardiology, they focus on understanding the molecular causes of congenital heart disease, working to gain knowledge that will prevent or cure future occurrences among newborns.

“The Wells Center provides a unique opportunity for collaboration. We are fortunate that our research teams are dedicated to a common goal,” Firulli said. “We are also proud to be funded by a P01 program project grant that supports our efforts here on campus.”

United in their commitment toward progress, Firulli said the Weinstein Meeting allows researchers from across the globe to share the exciting and unpublished developments within their field. Whether dissecting genetic and molecular developmental mechanisms of heart formation, building collaborative partnerships, or posing unprecedented questions, Firulli said that the annual Weinstein Meeting has a significant impact on the global progress toward eradicating the threats of congenital heart disease.

Anthony Firulli, PhD, is the Carleton Buehl McCulloch Professor of Pediatrics, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, adjunct professor of medical and molecular genetics, and an adjunct professor of anatomy and cell biology at IU School of Medicine.

 Additional members of the Weinstein Meeting organizing committee are Loren Field, PhD; Stephanie Ware, MD, PhD; R. Mark Payne, PhD; Chenleng Cai, PhD; Lei Yang, PhD; Weinan Shou, PhD and Larry Markham, MD, MS.

 The Weinstein Cardiovascular Development and Regeneration Meeting is supported by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association.