Symposium “Sex and Gender in Biomedical and Translational research”

Faculty of Science Gender and Diversity
Bright minds, better future

Utrecht University will organize a one-day symposium on the importance of sex and gender in biomedical and translational research. The symposium is organised by the Diversity Committee of the Faculty of Science in collaboration with Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Animal Welfare Body Utrecht and Central Laboratory Animal Research Facility of Utrecht University. The aim of the symposium is to create awareness and to stimulate excellence in science and technology by integrating sex and gender analysis into research.

Importance of sex and gender considerations

In the last 10 years, there has been a growing recognition that the sex of cells, tissues, animals, and humans matter in biomedical and translational science. Every cell has a sex, with sex differences beginning at conception and varying along the lifecycle. When sex or gender is not taken into account, important effects may be missed. Failure to consider sex in biomedical or translational research has come at the cost of human lives. For example, between 1997 and 2000, 10 drugs were withdrawn from the market because of life-threatening health effects. Eight of these posed "greater health risks for women than for men" (U.S. GAO, 2001). Taking sex or gender into account improves the reproducibility and translational value of research findings.
Despite the importance of sex and gender considerations in biomedical research, many biomedical researchers have not yet fully explored the potential for discovery by taking sex and gender into account.

Londa Schiebinger

Key lecture

Prof. Londa Schiebinger from Stanford University, the leading scholar on this subject, is the key lecturer at the symposium. In 2009, the European Commission launched the project Gendered Innovations at Stanford University to investigate how science can innovate and improve by emphasing what goes wrong when sex and gender differences are ignored in the design and execution of biomedical and translational research. In January 2011 the European Commission set up an expert group, “Innovation through Gender,” aimed at developing the gender dimension in EU research and innovation. The US National Science Foundation joined the project in January 2012. Prof. Londa Schiebinger is involved in this European Commission project.

Integration of sex and gender in biomedical research is also a new criterion for obtaining European research funding as well as for EU guidelines on Animal Experiments.



10:00 - 10:15
Dr Ineke Klinge, Visiting professor at Institute of Gender in Medicine (GiM)/Charité, Universitätsmedizin, Berlin; Chair H2020 Advisory Group on Gender

10:15 - 10:45       
Sex differences in TLR7-mediated immunity: from infection to autoimmunity
Dr Michiel van der Vlist, Postdoc, Division Laboratory and Pharmacy, Laboratory of Translational Immunology, Department of Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht

10:45 - 11:00
Coffee break

11:00 - 11:30       
Sex dependent behavioral responses in mouse models for psychiatric disorders
Dr Martien Kas, Associate Professor of Translational Behavioural Genetics, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht

11:30 - 12:00
Sex & Gender in translational migraine research: the role of female sex hormones
Dr Antoinette Maassen van de Brink, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology/Internal Medicine, Erasmus University Rotterdam

12:00 - 12:30
Sex & Gender human research
Prof. Bart Fauser, Department Chair of Reproductive Medicine & Gynaecology, University Medical Center Utrecht

12:30 - 13:00
Lunch break

13:00 - 14:00
Gendered Innovation
Prof. Londa Schiebinger, John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science, Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment, Stanford University

14:00 - 14:15
Closing remarks
Dr Ineke Klinge

Master Class (full)

14:45 - 16:00
Methods and techniques in sex and gender research: Creating excellence in science
Prof. Londa Schiebinger


Dr Aletta Kraneveld, Diversity Committee Faculty of Sciences, Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science

Start date and time
End date and time
David de Wied building, room M2.01
Entrance fee
free of charge

Please complete the registration form.

More information
Dr Aletta Kraneveld