The Collaborative Program in Developmental Biology (CPDB) celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Originally established in 1995, the program’s mandate was to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaborations between different departments at the University of Toronto and to promote and foster research in the field of developmental biology. Currently, the program spans six departments, including Molecular Genetics, and comprises of over 40 professors and nearly 60 graduate students.

To celebrate this milestone, CPDB held a symposium on April 9-10, 2015 at the PGCRL Auditorium with invited speakers including outstanding past graduates of the program who are now successfully running their own labs in Canada, the US and Europe. True to its purpose of connecting different research disciplines, the talks spanned all areas of developmental biology, from stem cell therapies to chromosome segregation, cilia biology, retinal development and much more. Dr. Cliff Tabin from Harvard Medical School gave a terrific keynote address on the discovery of how, during evolution, the development of limbs and genital organs could share a common primordium. This revelation of course had everyone in the audience chuckling.

The CPDB students also showcased their work at a jam-packed poster session. Ten prizes were awarded for outstanding poster presentations and six of the winners were MoGen graduate students: Curtis Boswell (Ciruna lab), Evan Wallace (Derry lab), Xuefei Yuan (Scott lab), Wendy Cao (Lipshitz lab), Chris Wedeles (Claycomb lab) and Monica Wu (Claycomb lab).

The first ever CPDB symposium was a rousing success and truly connected past and current members of the developmental biology community together. Special acknowledgement goes out to Dr. Julie Brill (Program Director), Cindy Todoroff (Program Administrator), and members of the CPDB Steering Committee, as well as generous sponsors whose contributions made the event possible.