Skip to content Skip to navigation

Designing Solutions for Maternal and Infant Health

2015 Conference Topics

Thank you to all who made the inaugural 2015 Childx Conference a success. The conference was held in April 2015 at Stanford Medicine as a chance for thought leaders to address the worlds most important issues relating to child and maternal health. Featuring speakers from around the world and an agenda that covered a wide range of child and maternal health topics, we hope that everyone who attended left Stanford Medicine inspired and enthused.

We invite you to explore videos and photos of the conference keynotes, presentations, one on one interviews, behind the scenes videos and more.


Special Presentations


Life Course from Fetal to Adult


Stem Cell & Gene Therapy


Accelerating Innovation


Precision Medicine


Health Ecosystem

Special Presentations

Internationally recognized leaders have been assembled to share their insights on current and future directions of maternal and child health. Particular attention will be given to answering these crucial questions:

  • What are the most significant challenges and potential innovations in translational research, therapeutic treatments, technology, digital health, and use of big data that are needed or are on the horizon to meet some of those challenges?
  • Innovation is a key to advancing maternal and child health - where has progress been made, what is the impact, what are the most significant challenges, and where do we need to learn more?
  • Can the biological pathways that direct normal organ development be harnessed to create innovative therapies that promote organ healing and regeneration after injury?
  • Can we finally coax the immune system to attack cancer cells, but leave normal cells unharmed?
  • What are the risk factors for impaired bone and muscle development in children with chronic disease, and how we can promote their optimal bone and muscle development?

The arc of fetal, developmental/cognitive, and adult health

Events during early development have a profound impact on one's risk for development of future adult disease. Low birth weight, a surrogate marker of poor fetal growth and nutrition, is linked to coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, and insulin resistance. Understanding developmental origins of adult disease will enable preventive measures and treatment for those at higher risk for chronic diseases. Questions that will be discussed during this session, among many others, include:

  • What are the biological, behavioral, and psychosocial processes that occur in gestation, infancy, adolescence, or early adulthood that subsequently influence health and disease in later life?
  • What are the most promising cases where early intervention could reverse the trajectory of the disease and lead to healthier adolescent and adult lives? How does experience shape brain structure and function? 
  • How does experience shape brain structure and function?

Definitive stem cell and gene therapy for child health

Stem cells and gene therapy enable us to uncover the origin of birth defects and can be used to design new treatment for children with incurable diseases. This sessions brings together world experts focused on building and deploying approaches in gene therapy, stem cells, and regenerative medicine to cure many childhood diseases.  The session will address burning questions including:

  • How do recent breakthroughs in stem cell biology, cell manipulations, and genome engineering usher in a new age of medical therapeutics where we can now think of developing definitive and curative therapies for both rare and common childhood diseases? 
  • What definitive and curative therapies, stemming from advanced technologies for tissue regeneration, stem cell induction and gene correction, are actively being developed by innovative leaders at Stanford?
  • What advances have occurred to enable these therapies to move from science fiction less than a decade ago to the promise of next generation transformative therapeutics?   
  • In coming years, how will these therapies allow children with presently incurable diseases to become children living free of disease and reaching their maximum potential?

Accelerating child and maternal health innovation

Innovation that quickly translates from the lab to the clinical is key to providing new approaches and technologies that improve care and broaden the reach to remote populations. This session will address some of the emerging solutions and future challenges to bringing tools quickly from the lab to the clinic.  Topics that will be addressed include:

  • What are the major challenges and strategies of commercializing solutions to pediatric medical problems?
  • How/When can we adapt medical technologies designed for adults to efficacious use in children?

Precision medicine for rare and historically untreatable childhood disease

We live the era of big data. Genomics, electronic medical records, and personalization of care have become mainstream. Large multimodal data sets that include whole genomes, molecular phenotypes and clinical details are starting to reveal signal that will enable more precision and increased understanding of orphan conditions.

This panel will use concrete examples to focus a variety of central issues in the field of pediatrics precision medicine, focusing on novel methodologies to accelerate the development of targeted therapeutic approaches. Diseases such as cancer, autism, and cardiomyopathies will be discussed. Some of the questions that will be addressed include:

  • What computational tools are currently available and need to be developed to mine the increasing amount of data pertaining to untreatable childhood diseases in order to to improve the diagnosis of genetic disease and to personalize the practice of medicine?
  • Once candidate mediators of a disease have been identified, how can pre-clinical systems such as patient-derived stem cells and animal models help validate these candidates and help translate these discoveries towards the development of pharmacological and genetic approaches to treat the diseases state?
  • How does all of this help patients and their families?  How do families act on genetic variants, even if there is no current therapy?

The health ecosystem and the impact of social, economic, political, environmental, and cultural issues on children’s health and well-being

Health and illness vary much more between populations and population groups than between individuals within a population. Health is tightly coupled with social, economic, political, environmental, and cultural factors. Understanding these influences will lead to solutions to maximize the health and well-being of all children and expectant mothers. ​

  • How do social and environmental factors influence health and well-being?
  • How do they act to widen or narrow inequalities between different populations and population groups?
  • What are key examples of successful social and environmental strategies to improve children’s health and well-being?
  • How can digital health solutions improve interventional therapy and richen the health ecosystem?