October 5-7, 2017

Houston, Texas

Texas Medical Center


Program & Schedule

Download the POSTER (Click HERE for PDF)

Detailed Program (click here for PDF)

Program & Schedule at a Glance:

Thursday, October 5


2:00-4:15 Registration (Duncan HALL)

4:15-4:30 Opening Remarks From the ORGANIZERS:

Swathi Arur, George Eisenhoffer & Anna Marie Sokac

4:30-5:30 Keynote Lecture (Mcmurtry Auditorium):

What I have LEArned about Neurodevelopment Studying HUmans and MODEL organisms

Huda Zoghbi, M.D.                                                                                                                                             Baylor College of Medicine

5:30-7:00 Reception/Mixer/Vendor Show (Martel Main HALL)

Friday, October 6

(Bioscience REsearch Collaborative (BRC) Building)

All platform presentations will take place in the main auditorium.

8:30-10:45 Session 1: Cellular and Molecular Dynamics in Development

                        Chair:            Rachel Miller, UT McGovern Medical School

8:30-9:00 "Eye" get by with a little help from my friends: how neural crest shapes the optic                          cup                                                                                                                                                                        Kristen Kwan, University of Utah,

9:00-9:15 Cofilin mediates an inducible actin stress response that protects embryos                                   Lauren Figard, Baylor College of Medicine

9:15-9:30 Requirement for Bmp signaling in endoderm and jaw development identified                             from a gene-ethanol screen in zebrafish                                                                                                   Charles Lovely, University of Texas at Austin

9:30-10:00 Transcriptional repression in hormone-regulated plant growth                                                               Hong Qiao, University of Texas Austin

10:00-10:15 Transcriptional variability underlies the incomplete penetrance of craniofacial                         anomalies                                                                                                                                                           James Nichols, University of Colorado

10:15-10:45 Flying Wounded: Using Drosophila to uncover the molecular genetics of wound                      healing                                                                                                                                                                 Michael Galko, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break (First Floor ATRIUM)

11:00-12:45 Session 2: Pathogenesis: Developmental Mechanisms Gone Awry

               Chair:               Joshua Wythe, Baylor College of Medicine

11:00-11:30 Stem cells and Schistosome Tegument: Are the Origins of Parasitism in Flatworms                         Only Skin Deep?                                                                                                                                                 James Collins, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

11:30-11:45 Functional characterization of TM2D family member genes in Notch signaling                              and Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis                                                                                                    Jose Salazar, Baylor College of Medicine

11:45-12:00 A role for vitamin A metabolism during enteric nervous system development in                            the pathogenesis of Hirschprung disease                                                                                                Naomi Tjaden, Baylor College of Medicine

12:00-12:15 Detection of Early Amyloid Species in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's                                                Shahab Younesi, Baylor College of Medicine

12:00-12:30 Hippo signaling in heart development and regeneration                                                                       James Martin, Baylor College of Medicine

12:45-2:00 Lunch (FIRST & SECOND FLOOR ATRIUM)

2:00-2:30   Education Session 1:

       Communicating Science and Publishing

                 Marie Bao                                                                                                                                                                             Editor-in-Chief, Developmental Cell

2:30-4:45 Session 3: Regeneration and Development

Chair:           George Eisenhoffer, UTMDACC

2:30-3:00 Corneal development and regeneration in chick and mouse                                                                 Peter Lwigale, Rice University,

3:00-3:30 The evolution of regeneration in reptiles                                                                                                   Kenro Kusumi, Arizona State University

3:30-3:45 Plasticity of C. elegans germ line stem cells under stress                                                                    Kenneth Trimmer, UTMDACC

3:45-4:15 Exploring conserved mechanism(s) of neural-dependent muscle plasticity and                          regeneration in Gymnotiforms                                                                                                                       Graciela Unguez, New Mexico State University

4:15-4:30 Lack of PITX2 during myocardial regeneration leads to ventricular fat deposition                      Lele Li, Baylor College of Medicine

4:30-4:45 Coffee Break (FIRST FLOOR ATRIUM)

4:45-5:30 Education Session 2:

Teaching and Research in a Predominantly Undergraduate Institution

Graciela Unguez                                                                                                                                              New Mexico State University

4:30-6:00 Vendor Show (FIRST FLOOR ATRIUM)

5:30-7:30 POSTER SESSION 1 (First Floor Atrium)

                       -Pathogenesis: Developmental Mechanisms Gone Awry                                                                                             -Cellular Dynamics in Development                                                                                                                                 -Innovations in Developmental Biology

7:30- Dinner (on your own)

Saturday, October 7

(Bioscience REsearch Collaborative (BRC) Building)

All platform presentations will take place in the main auditorium.

8:00-9:00Breakfast and Registration

9:00-11:00 Session 4: Evolution and Development

Chair:              Richard Behringer, UTMDACC

9:00-9:30 Sex based genome evolution                                                                                                                   Mellisa Wilson Sayres, Arizona State U,

9:30-9:45 Expression pattern of developmental genes in the American House Dust                               Mite, Dematophagoides farinae                                                                                                           Kody Mansfield, University of Southern Mississippi

9:45-10:00     A conserved role of Kif6 in brain development of vertebrates                                                     Mia Konjikusic, University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School

10:00-10:30 Counting segments one by one: dynamic regulation of arthropod growth                             zone                                                                                                                                                              Lisa Nagy, University of Arizona

10:30-10:45 Morphogen dynamics control patterning in a stem cell model of the human                          embryo                                                                                                                                                          Idse Heemskerk, Rice University

10:45-11:15 Comparisons of head skeleton development across vertebrates highlight                              mechanisms underlying vertebrate head skeleton diversification                                               Daniel Meulemans Medeiros, University of Colorado Boulder

11:15-11:30 Coffee Break (FIRST FLOOR ATRIUM)

11:30-12:30 Keynote Lecture:

The Establishment of Axial polarity and epithelial morphogenesis in Drosophila

Gertrud Schüpbach, PhD                                                                                                                 Princeton University

12:30-2:00 Lunch (FIRST & SECOND FLOOR ATRIUM)

2:00-2:45 Education Session 3: 

Undergraduate Research Colloquium

Chairs:            Amy Sater, University of Houston                                                                                                           Daniel Wagner, Rice University

2:00-2:09 Rap1 affects the cell fate of cone cells in the Drosophila melanogaster eye                           Crystal Hernandez, New Mexico State University

2:09-2:18 Cell crowding during wound closure promotes epithelial cell extrusion to                            facilitate tissue repair                                                                                                                                  Jovany Franco, UTMDACC

2:18-2:27 Mutations in Adamts9 Generates Caudal Spinal Defects                                                              Roberto Gonzalez, University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School                  

2:27-2:36 Targeted CRISPR/Cas9 gene knockout in Xenopus laevis kidneys                                            Hannah L. Hanania, University of Texas McGovern Medical School

2:36-2:45 Obesity and Neural Tube Defects: The Teratogenic Role of Ceramide in                                  Failed Neurlation                                                                                                                                      Tyson S. Burnham, Brigham Young University

2:40-3:00 Coffee Break (FIRST FLOOR ATRIUM)

3:00-4:00 Education Session 5:

Mentor/Mentee Relationship Workshop

Anna Marie Sokac, Baylor College of Medicine

4:00-6:00 Poster Session 2 (FIRST FLooR ATRIUM)

                        -Molecular Dynamics in Development                                                                                                                              -Regeneration in Development                                                                                                                                          -Evolution and Development

4:30-6:00 Vendor Show (First Floor Atrium)

6:30-8:30 Banquet and Awards                                                                                                      (ThirD Coast, 6th Floor, John P. McGovern Commons, Texas Medical                  Center)




Abstract Submission: September 15, 2017

Deadlines for REGISTRATION:

Early Discounted Registration: September 10th, 2017

Standard Registration: October 6, 2017

Registration Fees:

Before September 10, 2017: Undergraduate Student Member: $25.00 | Undergraduate Student Non-Member: $25.00 | Graduate Student Member: $30.00 | Graduate Student Non-Member: $55.00 | Postdoc Member: $75.00 | Postdoc Non-Member: $100.00 | Faculty Member: $125.00 | Faculty/ Staff Non-Member: $150.00

On or After September 10, 2017: Undergraduate Student Member: $25.00 | Undergraduate Student Non-Member: $25.00 | Graduate Student Member: $50.00 | Graduate Student Non-Member: $75.00 | Postdoc Member: $125.00 | Postdoc Non-Member: $160.00 | Faculty Member: $175.00 | Faculty/ Staff Non-Member: $225.00


The best student and postdoc poster presentations will receive a $1,000 travel award to attend the national SDB Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon (July 20-24, 2018).

Plan your trip in 6 steps:

  1. Apply for or renew SDB membership before September 10th to use the early registration prices for SDB members: Apply   Renew

    Members get a registration discount, will be considered for short talks and are eligible for the travel scholarship. Find out more about the benefits of being an SDB member at sdbonline.com

  2. Register for the meeting here: 

    Make sure that your SDB membership application has been processed.

  3. As part of the meeting, we will have an education workshop sponsored by the Graduate Program in Developmental Biology at Baylor College of Medicine and the Graduate School for Biological Sciences at MD Anderson Cancer Center/the University of Texas and the University of Houston.

  4. Submit an abstract (optional) here: 

    The presenting author must be registered for the meeting. Abstracts are limited to 2,000 characters (including spaces). There will NOT be online revisions after submission, so please proofread your abstract carefully prior to submitting it. Please, make sure to copy your abstract into the appropriate field as plain text. Copying straight from Microsoft Word can generate an inappropriate character limit error. Do NOT repeat the abstract title and authors in the body of the abstract. Acknowledge funding sources at the end of the abstract.

  5. Print your poster or create your talk. Poster size: 4 ft (height) by 3.5 ft (width).

  6. Reserve your room with a special SDB group rate at the Texas Medical Center Marriott Hotel.

    Rooms for meeting attendees start at $99 per night and can be reserved by calling the hotel at 1-713-796-0080 or clicking hereMake sure to mention that you are part of the SDB Meeting group. 

  7. Arrange your travel. 

    This one is up to you, but we do provide some helpful information under the Travel & Venue tab on the menu bar. Also, make sure to check the program to plan your arrival and departure times.

Travel & Venue


Houston is located in the Southeast corner of Texas, less than an hour from the Gulf of Mexico. The fourth largest city in the United States (with almost 2.4 million residents), Houston is a vibrant, metropolitan center with over 11,000 restaurants, 12,000 theater seats, more than 40 colleges and universities, and over 90 languages spoken here. The Texas Medical Center (TMC), the largest medical center in the world, employs more than 52,000 people,  and encompasses 21 million square feet with a local economic impact of $10 billion. From professional sports, to James Beard Award winning chefs, take time to enjoy your visit for the meeting: you won't be disappointed!


The meeting will be held at the TMC, with all talks near, or on, the campus of Rice University (click here for a map). The reception will occur nearby, within the TMC, at a location to be determined. Accommodations (see below), are a short walk away at the Medical Center Marriott Hotel.

Getting Here

Two airports service Houston: George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is located approximately 23 miles North of downtown Houston, and several options exist for travel to and from the airport. Click here for more information. A taxi ride to the medical center, on average, is $55-60 (not including tip).

William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) is located approximately 11 miles southeast of Houston and a variety of ground transportation services are available to and from the airport. Click here for more information. A taxi ride to the medical center, on average, is $25 (not including tip).

Uber services both airports. Click here for more information. 


Rooms have been reserved at the Houston Medical Center Marriott for meeting attendees and start at $99 per night. Please reserve your room as soon as possible by calling the hotel at 1-713-796-0080 (be sure to mention the DB meeting for the abstract) or clicking here





Thrillist Houston Restaurants

Hottest Houston Restaurants

Eater Houston 38 Essential Restaurants, Spring 2017

Houston Breweries


The Museum District (19 museums, from the Children's Museum (kid friendly), to the Health Museum, to the Natural History Museum)

Discovery Green (downtown green space for concerts, etc. located by Minute Maid Park)

Space Center (aka NASA)

Culture Map Houston



2017 Southwest Regional SDB Meeting BioArt Competition

SDB SW invites all meeting participants to enter our Scientific Image Competition. Entries will be on display at the SDB SW meeting and will be judged by all meeting attendees.  The winning image will be featured on the cover of Developmental Biology.  

Images, in .JPEG format, should be submitted by OCTOBER 1, 2017, to the following address:




Contact the Organizers


Swathi Arur, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

sarur @ mdanderson.org

George T. Eisenhoffer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

gteisenhoffer @ mdanderson.org

Anna Marie Sokac, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Baylor College of Medicine

sokac @ bcm.edu