Epigenetics is rapidly evolving as an important area of inquiry. There are already data that epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in linking metabolism to the functioning of the circadian clock. Currently, however, there is very limited information as to the role of epigenetics in regulation of sleep and in the pathogenesis of sleep disorders. This conference proposal is designed to address this void. The conference title is """"""""Epigenetics: Opportunities for Sleep and Circadian Research"""""""". It is proposed to bring together investigators from sleep and circadian research and from epigenetics. The conference is designed to bring investigators in sleep/circadian research up to date with epigenetic concepts and techniques. Further, it is constructed in such a way that investigators in epigenetics will become familiar with current concepts and questions in sleep/circadian research and study of sleep disorders. The conference is designed to stimulate future research collaborations between these two scientific communities and to excite new investigators in getting involved in this area. The conference has initial overview sessions to familiarize epigenetic investigators about sleep and sleep disorders and then investigators in sleep/circadian research about epigenetics. Thereafter there are multiple sessions each on a specific topic with investigators presenting from the sleep/circadian background and from epigenetics. The specific topic areas are as follows: a) Synaptic Plasticity: Sleep &Epigenomics;b) Aging &Neurodegeneration;c) Metabolism, Sleep &Epigenomics;d) Psychiatric &Neurodevelopmental Disorders;and e) Techniques. Travel awards will also be provided to new investigators and a specific session on the program will be for relevant oral presentations from new investigators. A workshop summary of the conference will be published in the leading sleep research journal, Sleep. This will contain information about the website, which will have slides from all presenters;thus, talks will be available to anybody interested on this website. The topic of the conference is timely since it is one of the new areas of inquiry proposed in the recently announced NIH Strategic Plan for Sleep Disorders Research, as well as research priorities within the National Institute on Aging.
A two and 1/2 day conference to identify research opportunities to further elucidate epigenetic mechanisms in sleep processes and leading to sleep disorders will be held on October 3-5, 2012 in Lafayette Hills, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. This conference grant application to the National Institute on Aging, with support from other Institutes, requests partial support for the conference that will be used primarily to cover the travel and hotel expenses of the invited speakers and student awards.