Public Release: 

Keystone Symposia convenes global health series maternal-fetal health conference in Washington, DC

Conference to be held in conjunction with Grand Challenges annual meeting

Keystone Symposia on Molecular & Cellular Biology

SILVERTHORNE, CO - September 15, 2017 - Keystone Symposia will convene its first conference on the important topic of "Maternal-Fetal Crosstalk: Harmony vs. Conflict" at the Westin Washington, DC City Center in the US capital October 4-8, 2017. The four-day open conference is part of the Keystone Symposia Global Health Series, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has also funded travel awards for 18 investigators from 14 different low- and middle-income countries to attend. The sessions begin on Wednesday, October 4; the afternoon session that day will be held jointly with the closing session of the Grand Challenges conference for that program's grantees. Anyone interested in attending the Keystone Symposia conference can still register until the event begins.

Scientific organizers of the Keystone Symposia conference are Drs. Jeffrey Murray of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Louis Muglia of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical and Yoel Sadovsky of Magee-Womens Research Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.

The conference will focus on factors that symbiotically both advance maternal and fetal health - or, more troublingly, put them at odds. It will explore how individual, but interacting physiologic drivers, including maternal and fetal genotypes, immune systems, microbiomes, metabolomes and other factors, either enhance or compromise pregnancy outcomes. Plenary sessions during the four days of the conference will feature presentations by expert speakers from a wide range of research institutes. Supplementing these plenary sessions will be workshops with short talks showcasing the work of early-career investigators and late-breaking research.

A special session on the final day will specifically explore ways to improve maternal and fetal health in low and middle income countries. It will look at how to translate high-tech findings to low-resource settings where the constraints of funding, expertise and training limit the opportunity to use technology to directly and quickly benefit those most in need.

According to Dr. Louis Muglia, "The conference is designed to accelerate our understanding regarding maternal-fetal interactions, and improve interventions to optimize the health of both mother and fetus. As not many conferences focus specifically on this topic from a basic science research standpoint, it fills a unique niche. I am excited about its impact and expect to learn a great deal."

Dr. Jane Peterson, Keystone Symposia's Chief Executive Officer, added: "We are delighted to host our first conference on maternal-fetal health and our first in Washington, DC as well. We are especially delighted to host it back-to-back with the annual Grand Challenges conference, which we hope will bring even great attention to an often overlooked issue."

Beginning in 2006, Keystone Symposia has received grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund conferences in the Keystone Symposia Global Health Series, which consists of meetings on topics of particular importance to low and middle income countries. In 2017-2018, in addition to the maternal-health conference, other Global Health Series conferences are on Vectors, Pathogens and Diseases in Durban, South Africa in September 2017; joint conferences on Vaccine Development and HIV Vaccines in Banff, Alberta, Canada in January 2018; and joint conferences on Tuberculosis and HIV and Co-Infections in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada in April 2018. The current grant also funds pre-meeting workshops for the Global Health Travel Awardees, many of which are filmed for broadcast to a wider global audience.


About Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been conducting internationally renowned, open scientific conferences since its founding as UCLA Symposia in 1972 and has been headquartered in Summit County, Colorado, USA since 1990.

It will convene 60 conferences in the 2017-2018 season, the majority of which will take place between January and April 2018, on topics ranging from cancer, immunology and infectious disease to neuroscience and genomics. Registration fees are supplemented by generous financial support from corporate, foundation and individual donors as well as government grants.

More information on the vaccines conference can be found at and on the organization and its meetings at and, respectively. Details about the conferences in the Global Health Series are available at

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