Robert J. Gorlin and the dysmorphology conferences


  • M. Michael Cohen Jr

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    • Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, 5981 University Avenue, Rm. 5132, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 1W2, Canada.
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  • How to cite this article: Cohen MM Jr. 2006. Robert J. Gorlin and the dysmorphology conferences. Am J Med Genet Part A 140A:2511–2512.

The Robert J. Gorlin Conferences on Dysmorphology have been endowed by the generosity of Dr. Guilan Norouzi and her father, the late Hassan Norouzi. The purpose of the conferences has been the mutual “infection” of clinicians and scientists. Each conference began with a warm welcoming introduction by Dr. Norouzi followed by an opening address by Dr. Gorlin (Fig. 1). This year Dr. Gorlin gave a fascinating lecture titled “Ivory: The Worker of the Tooth.”

Figure 1.

Robert J. Gorlin

All of the conferences have been held in Minneapolis. There have been 13 in all and these are listed in Table I. A glance at these conferences shows the wide range of topics covered over the years.

Table I. Robert J. Gorlin Conferences on Dysmorphology
(1) The Extremities, October 14 and 15, 1991
(2) Skin and Mucosa, November 7, 1992
(3) Craniofacies and the Ear, October 16 and 17, 1993
(4) Intermediate Mesoderm: Kidney and Gonads, September 24, 1994
(5) Bone and Its Dysplasias, October 22 and 23, 1995
(6) Angiogenesis and Vascular Anomalies, October 25 and 26, 1996
(7) Overgrowth Syndromes, October 25 and 26, 1997
(8) Skin and Its Disorders, October 24 and 25, 1998
(9) Genetics and the Eye, October 16 and 17, 1999
(10) Asymmetry: Basic Science and Clinical Perspectives, September 30 and October 1, 2000
(11) Limbs: Molecular and Clinical Perspectives, October 9 and 10, 2001
(12) Gastrointestinal System: Development, Derivatives, and Disorders, October 12 and 13, 2002
Meeting to work on the Robert J. Gorlin slide collection, November 1 and 2, 2003
Meeting to finalize the DVD “Robert J. Gorlin Slide Collection: 100 Syndromes, 5000 Slides,” October 23 and 24, 2004
(13) Facial and Oral Structures: Molecular Perspectives, October 22 and 23, 2005

This issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics is devoted to the 13th conference: “Facial and Oral Structures: Molecular Perspectives.” Speakers included Robert J. Gorlin, Jill Helms, Jeffrey C. Murray, Andrew O. M. Wilkie, Irma Thesleff, J. Timothy Wright, Mary MacDougall, Rena D'Souza, Thomas H. Hart, and M. Michael Cohen Jr. Articles on a variety of different subjects appear in this issue. Many of Bob Gorlin's colleagues and friends also made contributions – Raoul C. M. Hennekam, Piranit K. Kantaputra, Lucilene A. Ribeiro, Antonio Richieri-Costa, and Louise Wilson.

It will be observed in Table I that no regular conferences were held in 2003 and 2004. Early in 2003, Bob Gorlin made a decision to make his large slide collection of syndromes available for teaching. Raoul Hennekam played the major role in this enterprise. He had many trips to Minneapolis to work on the pictures with Bob, and he continued to work at home in the Netherlands during the 2-year period. Two meetings in Minneapolis – the first one on November 1 and 2, 2003, the second one on October 23 and 24, 2004 – culminated in a DVD containing a powerpoint presentation of 100 syndromes chosen by their frequency of occurrence or by the special interest that Bob had in certain syndromes.

Following the 2004 meeting, Raoul asked for final input for the DVD. As he himself noted, numerous friends supplemented Bob's 100 syndromes with pictures from their own collections:

“Expert photographic help was provided by Andy Tiss. Contributions were added to Bob's DVD by Judith E. Allanson, Michael Baraitser, J. Bruce Beckwith, Leslie G. Biesecker, Han Brunner Jill Clayton-Smith, M. Michael Cohen Jr., Valérie Cormier-Daire, Anne De Paepe, Koen DeVriendt, Dian Donnai, Jean-Pierre Fryns, Judith Goodship, John M. Graham Jr., Bryan D. Hall, Christine Hall, Judith G. Hall, Raoul C. M. Hennekam, Sophie Hennekam, Ian Krantz, Hermann Luedecke, Ute Moog, John M. Opitz, Nicole Philip, Bwee-Tien Poll-The, Mary Porteous, Willie Reardon, Riita Salonen, Susanne Ullman, and Ian Young”

The DVD was produced for teaching medical specialists, medical students, and nurses. It is titled “Robert J. Gorlin Slide Collection: 100 Syndromes, 5000 Pictures.” The DVD cover from the Museum Vrolik in Amsterdam is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.

DVD cover from the Museum Vrolik.

The Robert J. Gorlin Committee has been instrumental in selecting the subjects for the conferences through the years, and members have taken turns providing the major input for specific meetings. Committee members include Dian Donnai, Jed Gorlin, John M. Graham Jr., Raoul C. M. Hennekam, Kathleen K. Sulik, and Susanne Ullman. I have been the corresponding member of the committee.

None of this would have been possible without the zeal and determination of Guilan Norouzi. Over the years, Carol A. Rose played the major role in organizing the meetings in Minneapolis. For this 13th Annual Robert J. Gorlin Conference, Lynda Young, Director of Continuing Education played the major role in organizing the conference. Bethany Cartwright was also very helpful.

Irwin Shafer, a truly great former Dean of the School of Dentistry, has been a very supportive of Bob's work for many years. The present Dean, Patrick Lloyd, has great respect for Bob's work and has been vocal about Bob's many contributions. Marilyn Gorlin has been very devoted to Bob and has served as an inspiration for his work.

Finally, we are all very grateful to Bob for his kindness to everyone, for his inspiration to all of us, and for his many accomplishments and outstanding contributions to the field.