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Organizers: Alexa Burger (CU Anschutz) & Evgeny Kvon (UC Irvine) 

The satellite symposium will occur prior to the opening of the Society for Developmental Biology 82nd Annual Meeting organized by the Society for Developmental Biology (SDB)


Symposium Overview

The symposium aims to connect developmental biologists who are interested in gene regulation by transcriptional enhancers and its role in development, evolution, and congenital disorders. It will be a platform where junior scientists, including graduate students and postdocs, can network and interact with rising leaders in the field. It will foster new collaborations and exciting idea exchanges between SDB meeting attendees.

The program will focus on transcriptional enhancers, abundant non-coding DNA elements regulating gene expression during development and in response to intrinsic and external signals. It will feature four sessions:

1. Mechanism of enhancer function in development

2. Enhancer in evolution

3. Enhancer grammar and regulatory code

4. Enhancers in human biology and disease


Each session will include talks from invited speakers and selected talks chosen from abstracts of early career researchers and trainees, as well as trainee lightning talks.

Meeting hashtag: #2023SDBEnh


Abstract submission – April 10

Registration – June 20

Housing reservation at Hyatt Regency – June 28.

Venue and Housing

The symposium will be held in person on July 20, 2023, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, IL.


Select the symposium at no additional cost when registering for the main conference. For those who can only attend the satellite symposium, there is a Satellite Symposium-Only registration form ($150 for Faculty/Staff/Emeriti and $120 for Students and Postdocs). Please note that there will not be onsite registration for the symposium.

Abstract submission

Submit your abstract through a submission form (separate from the main SDB meeting) to be considered for a short talk. For consideration for a short talk, preference will be given to those who have registered. Abstract submission is open to all career stages, but preference will be given to trainees and early career scientists. There will be no poster session.



 Luisa Cochella

Assistant Professor

John Hopkins University


Yana Kamberov

Assistant Professor

University of Pennsylvania


Emma Farley

Assistant Professor

UC San Diego


Mustafa Mir

Assistant Professor

University of Pennsylvania


Emily Hodges

Assistant Professor

Vanderbilt University

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Alex Nord

Associate Professor

UC Davis

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Alexa Burger

Associate Professor

CU Anschutz


Evgeny Kvon

Assistant Professor

UC Irvine


Symposium Program (preliminary) – Thursday, July 20, 2023

8:30 – 8:40 AM         Welcome by the Organizers

Mechanism of enhancer function in development (8:40 – 9:40 AM) – moderated by Evgeny Kvon

8:40 – 9:10 AM         Luisa Cochella, Johns Hopkins University
                                 Temporal integration of transcriptional inputs as a mechanism for cell diversification

9:10 – 9:40 AM         Mustafa Mir, CHOP/University of Pennsylvania
                                 Molecular kinetics of transcription regulation and nuclear organization during development

Lightning talks (9:40 – 10:10 AM) – moderated by Evgeny Kvon

9:40 - 9:46 AM          Pashalis Kratsios, University of Chicago
ral modularity in transcription factor function controls neuronal cell type identity across                                         
                         different life stages 

9:46 – 9:52 AM         Brooke Jeffery, Michigan State University
                                 Cis-regulatory Evolution in Enteric Nervous System Development 

9:52– 9:58 AM          Carly Sullivan, University of Calgary, Canada
                                 Characterizing the Genetic Contribution of a Highly Conserved Enhancer of the Short Stature                                                                 Homeobox 2 (Shox2) Gene in the Developing Mouse Limb and Hindbrain 

9:58 – 10:04 AM       Esra Erkut, University of Toronto, Canada
     Conserved TBX20 cardiac enhancer activity is altered by CHD patient mutations 

10:04 – 10:10 AM     Jeremy Sandler, Stowers Medical Institute
                                  A Gene Regulatory Landscape and Network That Drives Sensory Hair Cell Regeneration in                                                                    Zebrafish 

10:15 – 10:45 AM     Break 

Enhancers in Evolution (10:45 – 12:00 PM) – moderated by Alexa Burger

10:45 – 11:15 AM     Yana Kamberov, University of Pennsylvania
                                 Mind how you sweat! How enhancer divergence led to the accelerated evolution of the naked and sweaty ape

11:15 – 11:30 AM     Cassie L. Kemmler, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
                                 Conserved distant enhancers regulate notochord expression of vertebrate Brachyury 

11:30 – 11:45 AM     Aki Ushiki, University of California, San Francisco
nal characterization of regulatory elements involved in bat wing development 

11:45 - 12:00 PM     Licia Selleri, University of California, San Francisco
                                 “Why a Long Face?”: Identification of Craniofacial Enhancers Exhibiting Differential Activity in Mammals versus                                     Avians 


12:00 – 1:00 PM      Lunch Break (on your own)

Enhancer Grammar and Regulatory Code (1:00 – 2:15 PM) – moderated by Cassie Kemmler

1:00 – 1:30 PM        Emma Farley, University of California San Diego
                                 Affinity-optimizing enhancer variants disrupt development

1:30 – 1:45 PM        Robert Johnston, Johns Hopkins University
                                Temporally dynamic antagonism between transcription and chromatin compaction controls stochastic                                                      photoreceptor specification in the fly eye 

1:45 – 2:15 PM        Alexander S. Nord, University of California Davis
                                 More than open chromatin: the combinatorial transcription factor logic driving neurodevelopmental enhancer                                           function

2:15 – 2:45 PM        Break 

Enhancers in human biology and disease (2:45 – 4:00 PM) – moderated by Grace Bower

2:45 – 3:15 PM        Emily Hodges, Vanderbilt University
                                 Understanding how DNA methylation mediates enhancer function to drive cellular phenotypes

3:15 – 3:30 PM        Megan Leask, University of Otago, New Zealand
                                 The regulatory landscape of metabolism in Polynesian populations 

3:30 – 3:45 PM        Han Liu, Cincinnati Children's Hospital
                                 Modeling in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells and Mutant Mice Reveal Chromatin Domain Fusion and Enhancer-                                       Promoter Rewiring as the Cause of SIX2-related Frontonasal Dysplasia 

3:45 – 4:00 PM        Robin Harris, Arizona State University
                                 Manipulating damage-responsive enhancers to promote tissue regeneration

4:00 – 4:10 PM         Concluding remarks

4:10 – 5:00 PM         Break 

5:00 PM                    Main SDB program start

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