Annual conference to shed light on approaches for boosting child protection

The Penn State Child Maltreatment Solutions Network’s fourth annual conference will showcase recent advances in research on the long-term effects of early-life stress, maltreatment and trauma.

“This year’s conference will look at the biological aspects of child maltreatment, with a highlighted discussion of resilience and reversibility,” said Sandee Kyler, assistant director of the Network. The trauma and stress of child maltreatment has a profound impact on the human body that can carry on throughout one’s life and even impact the next generation, Kyler said, adding that this makes exploring reversibility more crucial than ever.

The “New Frontiers in the Biology of Stress, Maltreatment and Trauma: Opportunities for Translation, Resilience, and Reversibility” conference, scheduled for Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at the Nittany Lion Inn, will bring together 15 top researchers in fields of psychology and neurosciences from Penn State, Harvard, New York University and other institutions around the world. They will share their findings about the ways stress “gets under the skin,” according to the Network’s website.

Four sessions will cover endocrinology and immunology, brain development, genomics and resilience and reversibility. Each session will be followed by an integrative “translation” component where speakers will discuss connections in all the studies presented. The conference will culminate with a panel discussion, allowing for interaction between speakers and participants.

The Network was created to advance Penn State’s academic mission of teaching, research and engagement in the area of child maltreatment. Since the Network was launched in Fall 2012, its conferences have established a concrete frontier of understanding child maltreatment through advanced research.

As part of a partnership between the Network and Penn State’s College of Communications, senior journalism student Taylor Clayton has been blogging about this year’s conference.

Penn State faculty and staff can attend the conference for $15 a day or $25 for both days, and students can attend for free. Online registration is available through 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 24. Space permitting, participants can also register at the conference from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 30. For more information, visit the Network’s website.