Southern Ontario Reproductive Biology (SORB) Annual Meeting - Olivia Johns

Thanks to the OVC CORE Program I had the opportunity to attend the Southern Ontario Reproductive Biology Annual Meeting in Toronto this year. I was really excited for this opportunity because I am very interested in the field of reproduction.

The day was full of interesting presentations and posters. A large portion of the presenters focused on the uterus in a variety of topics. Topics ranged from uterine pathology to trying to figure out the complete natural microbiome, all are important research topics since the uterus is a vital and crucial organ for pregnancy. A really interesting study that stood out to me was on the uterine microbiome. At various locations throughout the human body there are microbiomes that can differ from one another based on the function and needs of that specific area, and in the case of the uterus, much less is known about it than other microbiomes. This particular study compared the uterine microbiome of women with endometriosis (abnormal external growth of the uterine tissue) to healthy women to see if there is a difference and a potential factor that causes the unfortunate disease/ condition. The preliminary results revealed that there is a difference, and therefore more research is needed to understand the causes of the differences.

Another really interesting presentation dealt with the effect -tetrahydrocannabinol exposure on female endocrine pancreatic development in utero leads to impaired glucose tolerance in adulthood in mice as a model for humans. The study tried to mimic the minimum inhalation exposure levels of cannabis in humans in mice through an injected serum of cannabis concentration. I think this is a very important topic to explore because of recent legalization of cannabis in Canada and cannabis use is expanding more and more into the medical world. Although the studies sample was small and it was a small preliminary investigation, it revealed some promising results that could have major implications on fetus health when exposed to cannabis, which has major implications in pregnant females consuming/ inhaling cannabis directly or via second hand smoke.

The whole day was an amazing learning opportunity, full of topics that can change the face of medicine and the usage of everyday products, like certain plastics! Thank you CORE for this experience.