This R13 meetings grant application seeks partial support for three upcoming annual Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group (AIRIG) meetings in conjunction with either the Midwest Autumn Immunology Conference (AIC) in Chicago, IL or the Society for Leukocyte Biology (SLB). Funding is requested to cover travel costs and housing for students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty and minority scientists, as well as some of the cost of invited speakers, for a one day meeting which will cover broad aspects of alcohol and immunology with a sub-theme. The sub-theme for 2011 meeting will be "Alcohol and Epigenetic Changes." The 2011 meeting will be held on the Friday November 18th in the Department of Surgery at Loyola University in Maywood IL, the day before the start of the three-day Chicago-based Midwest AIC. We anticipate having two subsequent AIRIG meetings as one day satellite meetings at the Annual Meeting of the SLB which will be in the fall of 2012 in Hawaii and in the fall of 2013 on the East Coast of the United States. Themes of the latter two meeting will be "Alcohol, Receptors and Signal Transduction" and "Alcohol and Inflammatory Responses," respectively. AIC is a regional meeting with over 450 registrants and an impressive list of invited plenary speakers from around the United States. SLB meetings have between 300 - 500 registrants depending on the venue and if the meeting is solo or joint with other small scientific societies. Holding the AIRIG meeting with AIC or SLB will allow greater visibility of alcohol and immunology research than would be possible at larger meetings like the American Association of Immunologists or Experimental Biology. Additionally, both have multiple opportunities for young developing scientist (student and postdoctoral fellows) to participate on many levels. At AIC and SLB meetings, large number of oral presentations are selected from submitted abstracts. In addition, both meetings have Career Development Programs, including sessions and workshops entitled Careers in Immunology, Meet the Program Officer, Women and Diversity, and Grant Writing, indicating commitment to trainees at all levels. These sessions allow time for career building and collaborative opportunities, which may not be feasible or readily available at larger meetings. Thus, in addition to providing a forum for the discussion of current research in the field, overall goals of the co-organizers are to expand the participation of students, postdoctoral trainees and minority scientists and increase the critical mass of scientists working on alcohol and immunology issues. We believe that these goals will be best achieved by scheduling upcoming AIRIG meetings in conjunction with the AIC and SLB Annual Meetings.
There are a limited number of laboratories working in the field of alcohol and immunology all of which benefit from the AIRIG meetings, as the meetings provide a forum for maintaining an open dialog between these research groups. The meetings are intended to be inclusive: 1) bringing research groups together to foster communication and collaboration, 2) allowing junior scientists and those who are new to the field to present their work orally, and 3) introducing alcohol trainees to senior alcohol research faculty who may be able to serve as future mentors to the trainees. The organizers feel that meeting in a friendly non-competitive setting, increases the potential for rapid scientific advancement and may help to keep alcohol and immunology trainees in the field by availing them of the opportunity to meet funded senior faculty and their trainees.