PROTECT Trainees Max Aung and Amber Cathey present at the Society for Reproductive Investigation 66th Annual Scientific Meeting in Paris

Between March 12-16th, 2019, PROTECT Project 1 Trainees Max Aung and Amber Cathey attended the 66th Annual Scientific Meeting hosted by the Society for Reproductive Investigation in Paris, France. This year the meeting focused on a “From Innovation to Impact” theme and welcomed over 1,300 attendees, breaking the overall attendance record. [1]

Max Aung presented a poster titled, “Maternal Urinary Trace Metals and Plasma Inflammatory Biomarkers during Pregnancy,” on a study where he investigated the associations between prenatal trace metals exposures and circulating immune biomarkers. In this study, Max’s team observed that maternal urinary manganese was associated with increased plasma concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta. When asked about his experience at the meeting, he said, “I had three primary goals for attending this conference: (1) Bring environmental epidemiology research to the SRI community; (2) Learn about new biological mechanisms that can inform the findings of my research; (3) Build new connections with clinicians and basic scientists to discuss overlapping research interests and brainstorm potential partnerships. Ultimately, the meeting was a great success, and I learned so many insightful ideas that will help to inform my current and future research endeavors. I was also able to connect with a current faculty member at the University of Michigan Medical School, and we have been continuing our discussions in Ann Arbor on developing potential research collaborations in the upcoming year!”

Max Aung – SRI Meeting Poster

Amber Cathey presented a poster titled, “Associations Between Serum Hormones and Birth Outcomes Among Pregnant Women in Puerto Rico,” on work for the second aim of her dissertation looking at associations between hormone concentrations through pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes. When asked about her experience at the meeting, she said, “As most researchers at this conference were either clinicians or basic scientists, presenting there was a wonderful opportunity for me to network with and learn from scientists outside of the environmental epidemiology field. As I’ve progressed in my education I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into my own research niche, so it was very important for me to be able to communicate with scientists doing work outside of my wheelhouse. I was able to have numerous enlightening conversations, with both basic scientists and other public health professionals, which gave me new ideas about directions for my future research. Several of these conversations also lead to potential for future collaborations. The conference was a big success for me and I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for opportunities to attend other conferences that fall a bit outside of my specific area of research.”

Amber Cathey – SRI Meeting Poster

Overall, the meeting was a great success and we are proud that Max and Amber learned so much and represented us at this prominent international meeting.


[1] https://www.sri-online.org/meetings-calendar/2019/program/2019-annual-meeting-summary