Keynote Speakers

Eric Chien-Wei Liao, MD, PhD

Director, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Center for Craniofacial Innovation

Vice Chair of Surgery – Academic Affairs and Professor of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania


Keynote Lecture: “Bridging the Craniofacial Translation Gap”


Dr. Eric Liao is the founding Director of the Center for Craniofacial Innovation at the CHOP. Dr. Liao is a pediatric plastic surgeon-scientist who leverages convergent advances in fetal care, human genetics, and developmental biology to initiate first-in-child trials and treatments. As a surgeon, Dr. Liao cares for patients born with orofacial clefts and complex craniofacial conditions. Dr. Liao also leads the Department of Surgery as the vice chair of Academic Affairs, where he is dedicated to nurturing trainees and faculty toward impactful academic careers.

Before joining CHOP, Dr. Liao was a professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, led the Mass General Department of Surgery as vice chair of Research, and led Shriners Children’s Boston as chief of staff.

Dr. Liao pioneered the zebrafish model to investigate the developmental basis of craniofacial anomalies and elucidated the role of transcription factor IRF6 and the downstream regulatory pathway operating in the embryonic epithelium to regulate craniofacial development and orofacial cleft pathogenesis. He also contributed to determining the genetic basis of arhinia (SMCHD1), oblique facial cleft (SPECC1L), frontonasal dysplasia (ALX1), and other complex congenital craniofacial problems. Dr. Liao works to address critical knowledge gaps in human genetics to determine the pathogenicity of gene variants by using the zebrafish model as a high-throughput functional assay. Through this work, Dr. Liao has been leading teams in longstanding NIH and Shriners-funded research programs.

Dr. Liao is a graduate of Stanford University (BS, MS), Harvard Medical School / M.I.T. (MD, PhD), and trained in plastic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Liao’s clinical and academic achievements have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the American Surgical Association Research Fellowship, the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Scholar Award, and the Presidential Endowed Chair at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


Matthew Warman, MD

Director, Orthopedic Research Laboratories, Boston Children’s Hospital

Director, Center for the Study of Genetic Skeletal Disorders, Boston Children’s Hospital

Professor of Genetics and Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School


Keynote Lecture: “Spatial Transcriptomics: Promise and Peril”


Dr. Matthew Warman is the Director of the Orthopedic Research Laboratories and the Director of the Center for the Study of Genetic Skeletal Disorders, both at Boston Children’s Hospital. As the Director of the Center for the Study of Genetic Skeletal Disorders, Dr. Warman leads the center’s efforts to identify genes that contribute to skeletal disease. Dr. Warman also directs the Advanced Integrative Science Course in Human Genetics given to 3rd and 4th year Harvard Medical School students and teaches Human Genetics to the 70 1st year graduate students enrolled in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard Medical School.

Since beginning his clinical and research career, Dr. Warman has focused on studying patients with genetic diseases that principally affect the skeleton. As a postdoctoral trainee, Dr. Warman contributed to the identification of Mendelian disease-causing genes for Stickler syndrome (COL11A1 and COL11A2), MED (COL9A2), SMD (COL10A1), BRBN (TIE2), CS-Boston type (MSX2), and CCD (RUNX2). As an independent investigator, Dr. Warman has identified the genetic bases for BDC (GDF), SYNS1 (NOG), OPPG/HBM (LRP5), CACP (PRG4), PPAC (WISP3), AMDM (NPR2), ADANE (RANBP2), ACG1A (TRIP11), Metachondromatosis (PTPN11), and SEMDJL (KIF22), in addition to the genetic bases for several sporadically occurring non-heritable malformation disorders by developing methods for identifying mosaic mutations in malformed tissue, enabling him to identify somatically arising PIK3CA mutations in patients with CLOVES, KTS, FIL, LM, and FAVA; MAP3K3 mutations in patients with VVM; GNAQ and GNA11 mutations in patients with congenital hemangioma, and MAP2K1 mutations in patients with AVM.

Dr. Warman studied material science at Brown University and medicine at Cornell University Medical College. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., and a fellowship in medical genetics at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. Following the completion of his fellowship in 1989, he remained on staff as a clinical geneticist and joined the laboratory of Dr. Bjorn Olsen at Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow. He subsequently joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Warman is board-certified in Pediatrics and Clinical, Biochemical, and Molecular Genetics and maintains a strong clinical interest in these disciplines.