Swine in Biomedical Research Conference

The annual Swine in Biomedical Research Conference highlights the growing utility of swine models in biomedical research.  The conference is supported with funding from the USDA and NIH.  The goal of the conference is to bring together individuals who are using swine as models, creating new swine models, or studying human health and disease.  It is the only conference that focuses exclusively on swine models and as such, is the premier meeting for investigators who use or develop swine as models for biomedical research.

The conference was organized to provide:

1.  Updates from leading investigators on the required building blocks (bioinformatics, genomics, transgenesis, and cloning) demonstrated to be of utility in other model systems (e.g., mouse)

2.  Updates on existing relevant experimental models

3.  Updates from currently successful porcine models with recognized clinical implications

4.  An assessment of the needs and opportunities for creating new porcine biomedical models

The opportunities for utilizing swine biomedical models are immense, particularly in models that address lifestyle issues (nutrition, stress, alcohol, drugs of abuse, etc.). However, in order to fully capitalize upon the promise, there needs to be a more general recognition of these cofactors, such as nutrition, as key modulators of phenotype via genomic, epigenetic, and postgenomic mechanisms. Furthermore, increased interactions between nutrition scientists and clinical and fundamental researchers in other disciplines, including developmental biology, immunology, neuroscience, oncology, and cardiovascular and gastrointestinal physiology, are required.

2005 - Chicago, IL

The second annual conference was hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and held in Chicago, Illinois from January 27-29, 2005.  The organizing committee was chaired by Dr. Lawrence Schook.  Conference sessions focused on identifying areas of study or methodologies that would enhance the utility of pigs as biomedical models. Over 150 scientists from around the world convened to focus on identifying appropriate human diseases where traditional rodent models have not proven relevant, where the historical use of swine in this regard may be enhanced, or where no useful models exist today and for which the pig may be the appropriate choice.

2008 - San Diego, CA

The third annual conference was hosted by the University of Missouri's National Swine Resource and Research Center and was held in San Diego, California on April 2-3, 2008.  Sessions focused on swine models in human health and disease; genomics, proteomics, and basic tools; physiology and infectious disease; and swine organ transplantation.  In addition, a keynote speaker discussed the bioengineering of organ printing.  Abstracts of the conference presentations are available online.

2011 - Chicago, IL

The fourth annual conference returned to Chicago, IL and was hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Dr. Lawrence Schook served as the chair of the organizing committee.  Participants engaged in discussions focused on new methodologies to enhance the utility of swine as biomedical models, and the regulated use of swine and and regulatory approval pathways associated with the use of swine for biomedical research.  The conference stimulated numerous interactions between researchers working within both the swine and human disciplines.

2014 - Raleigh, NC

The Swine in Biomedical Research Conference 2014 highlighted the growing utility of swine models in biomedical research.  Hosted by North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, the fifth annual conference built upon the considerable energy within the biomedical community with respect to the utilization of swine in research.  Topic areas included gene-editing technologies based on meganucleases (ZFN, TALENs, CRISP/Cas), induced pluripotent stem cells, and next generation sequencing. This annual conference was organized to directly address the challenges limiting the acceptance of swine models by the biomedical community, as well as to increase the interactions between clinical and non-clinical scientists.  The organizing committee selected individuals whose research has successfully transcended both health and animal science cultures, and clinical non-clinical barriers. Invited speakers showcased investigations using the pig that demonstrate successful applications as well as promising areas that require engagement across the proposed cultural divide. USDA and NIH representatives led discussions on integrating respective strengths into addressing critical biomedical research issues.