Inaugural Childx Conference to be Held at Stanford in April

Alan Guttmacher, a leading child health expert, will give a keynote address at the TED-style event April 2-3, which will bring together diverse experts in fetal and child health.

For Release: March 18, 2015

STANFORD, Calif.— Alan Guttmacher, MD, head of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, will be among the featured speakers at the inaugural Childx conference April 2-3 at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The TED-style conference, intended to inspire innovation in pediatric and obstetric medicine, will bring together hundreds of maternal and child-health researchers, clinicians, investors and industry experts interested in collaborating to address difficult health problems in pregnancy, infancy and childhood. The event will be held at the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.

“Pediatric medicine faces unique challenges,” said Dennis Wall, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford, who leads the conference's scientific advisory board. “Most children are quite healthy, which can make it difficult to attract adequate research attention to severe pediatric diseases that affect relatively few children. At the same time, every child’s health status is influenced by a complex array of factors, which cause decades-long ripple effects as today’s children mature into tomorrow’s adults.”

The conference, developed and sponsored by Stanford’s Child Health Research Institute, has five themes:

  • The expansion of stem cell and gene therapy for child health.
  • The arc of fetal, developmental/cognitive and adult health.
  • The acceleration of child and maternal health innovation.
  • Precision medicine for rare and historically untreatable childhood diseases.
  • The health ecosystem and the impact of social, economic, political, environmental and cultural issues on children’s health and well-being.

Guttmacher, a pediatrician and medical geneticist who has led the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development since 2010, will deliver a keynote address about several areas of pediatric medicine that he believes deserve much more research, including prevention of premature birth, better use of childhood vaccinations and the developmental origins of health and disease.

Other speakers include Martin Andrews, who leads GlaxoSmithKline’s rare diseases team; Nadia Rosenthal, PhD, the founding director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute; Harvard’s Matthew Gillman, MD, an expert on early life prevention of chronic disease; Sheena Josselyn, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, who studies molecular processes behind learning and memory; and Donald Schwarz, MD, the director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Opening remarks will be given by Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine; Christopher Dawes, president and chief executive officer of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford; and Hugh O’Brodovich, MD, director of Stanford’s Child Health Research Institute and professor and chair of pediatrics at Stanford.

Stanford experts from several disciplines will take part in the conference, including gene therapy expert Maria Grazia Roncarolo, MD, professor of pediatrics and of medicine; Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD, professor of chemical and systems biology; Euan Ashley, MB ChB, DPhil, associate professor of medicine and of genetics; Anne Fernald, PhD, associate professor of psychology; and Thomas Robinson, MD, professor of pediatrics and of medicine.

“Pediatric medicine needs to turn its focus more to creating advanced, technology-enabled solutions that will increase our ability to detect, monitor and treat child health,” Wall said. “No pediatric conference to date has combined these key themes of precision health care with the most pressing challenges and opportunities in child and maternal health. The inaugural Childx will be the first conference to do so.”

Details about conference registration are available at Registration costs range from $200 to $375 for the two-day event. The event is open both to experts and to interested members of the public. In addition, the entire event will be streamed live on the conference website for those who are unable to attend in person.


Robert Dicks
(650) 497-8364

About Stanford Medicine Children's Health

Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. Along with Stanford Health Care and the Stanford School of Medicine, we are part of Stanford Medicine, an ecosystem harnessing the potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education, and clinical care to improve health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at

About Stanford University School of Medicine

The Stanford University School of Medicine consistently ranks among the nation’s top medical schools, integrating research, medical education, patient care and community service. For more news about the school, please visit The medical school is part of Stanford Medicine, which includes Stanford Health Care and Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. For information about all three, please visit