One of AAA’s core missions is to promote research, teaching and education in the anatomical sciences. So when Paul Trainor, Editor-in Chief of Developmental Dynamics and Investigator at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, approached former AAA Executive Director Shawn Boynes with a proposal to start a monthly webinar series to focus on research, it seemed like a good fit.
“I thought AAA was doing a great job and being very supportive of teaching and education, but basic and clinical research was missing out,” Trainor said. “So, during the covid shutdown when I had more time to mull over ideas, I approached Shawn Boynes with a proposal to start a monthly webinar series to focus on research, but also as a way for everyone to stay connected. I’m grateful that Shawn was very receptive to the idea, and thank Kelly Cox who takes care of the seminar hosting logistics for us. We couldn’t do the series without Kelly and AAA’s support”
Thus, the Inspiring Scientific Curiosity and Discovery webinar series was born. The title of the seminar series was drawn from AAA’s strategic plan vision statement, Trainor noted. “We’ve really embraced that principle, which is why we’ve had such a diversity of speakers and topics.”
The webinar series started with Developmental Dynamics and then added the Anatomical Record after Editor-in-Chief Heather Smith was settled into her new role. “The general idea behind the webinar series is to bring research from AAA’s journal pages to life in an interactive, engaging format,” said Smith.
To make sure that the series covers a broad range of topics from both journals, Developmental Dynamics and The Anatomical Record alternate each month inviting the speaker and moderating the session. Next year, after new Anatomical Sciences Education Editor-in-Chief Jason Organ takes the helm of that publication, he’ll also join the seminar series, Trainor said. “The seminar series will therefore be a joint series involving all three journals in partnership with AAA, with something for everyone,” he explained.
The monthly webinar series is usually held on the first Thursday of the month from 12-1 pm EST and has “featured everything from Fibroblast Growth Factor signaling pathways to ecomorphology of the turtle labyrinth to the autonomic nervous system,” Smith said. “Our most recent webinar focused on crocodilian evolution, functional morphology, and paleobiology by Drs. Casey Holliday and Emma Schachner. The presentation discussed recent advances in the biology and paleontology of this fascinating lineage of vertebrates, including the study of fossil crocodile relatives and the functional morphology of crocodilian respiration.”
Trainor also noted the variety of the topics covered in the seminars. “There is always something of anatomical science significance in the webinars, but where else are you going to learn about: (i) the genetics of dogs and their application to developmental disorders or cancer; (ii) Ehlers-Danlos hypermobility syndrome – the most common syndrome you’ve never heard of; (iii) crocodilian evolution; (iv) cardiac physiology and regeneration; (v) ecological transitions in turtles; (vi) regulation of skeletal growth and regeneration; and (vii) how muscle develops evolves and regenerates, all in the one webinar series.”
The seminars are free to attend and open to everyone. “Irrespective of whether you primarily do basic or clinical research, or teach anatomy and undertake education research, or are just a curious member of the public, our hope is that every seminar will inspire you and that you will learn something new about the world round you and how our bodies function,” Trainor said.
Registration is free for members and non-members alike. The webinars are recorded and available via on-demand streaming: https://anatomy.org/AnnualMeeting/AAA/Resources/Inspiring-Scientific-Curiosity-and-Discovery.aspx