In this video presentation, NICHD Director Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., describes the role of research in understanding, preventing, and treating birth defects. In his talk, Dr. Guttmacher provides some basic facts about birth defects and recounts how research led to the discovery that the vitamin folic acid could reduce the chances of neural tube defects. He also describes the role of model organisms, such as the zebrafish, in understanding developmental processes as an important step in uncovering the origins of birth defects. Dr. Guttmacher concludes his talk with an introduction to the new technologies of systems biology and chemical genomics, which promise to yield new insights leading to greater understanding of birth defects and their eventual prevention and treatment.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute's Web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.