The Colorado Alphaherpesvirus Latency Society (CALS) was established in 2011 to provide a venue for open exchange of unpublished data from leading clinical and research scientists, with the goal of eliminating disease in the elderly caused by alphaherpesvirus reactivation. The 2-day CALS meeting format features 30 concise presentations, each followed by extended discussions. A significant innovation that increases the impact of CALS is a plenary presentation by a world- class neuroscientist not involved in virology, whose talk provides unique perspectives that often initiate new areas of study. The 21-member CALS planning committee (all non-paid, highly productive and established researchers) participates in selection of plenary speakers and poster presentations, and guides the Society in all major decisions. CALS is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational organization. The annual symposium does not charge a registration fee and has been financed in part through charitable contributions from corporate sponsors and an R13 conference support award from the NIH. The requested funds will maintain the high caliber of the meeting, which includes student/postdoctoral fellow mentorship and education through in-depth, one-on-one discussions with leaders in the field along with written critiques of their project, and an open forum wherein individuals in academia, industry and government positions address career questions. New to CALS symposia is a session dedicated to mechanics and philosophy of grant writing (F31, F32 and R01 applications) for students/postdoctoral fellows/early-stage investigators by a volunteer team of established investigators with extensive NIH study section experience. CALS is also aware of underrepresented minorities in science and has established two new collaborations to draw this important group into the field through early identification and mentorship. The recognized success of past CALS symposia has made this meeting the premier venue for highly focused discussions of key issues by world experts addressing all aspects of disease in the elderly caused by reactivation of latent alphaherpesviruses, along with the efficient, productive training of future investigators.
More than 95% of the world population harbors latent alphaherpesviruses (varicella zoster and herpes simplex viruses), with >50% showing reactivation by 85 years of age. Elderly individuals >60 years of age are at especially high risk for developing severe, often life-threatening disease produced by virus reactivation. These diseases include zoster, postherpetic neuralgia, multiple ocular disorders and vasculopathies presenting as stroke, aneurysm, giant cell arteritis and granulomatous aortitis. Alphaherpesvirus reactivation also causes burning mouth syndrome, i.e., severe, debilitating intraoral pain that affects up to 18% of postmenopausal women. Alphaherpesvirus reactivation is also associated with Alzheimer's disease and cognitive impairment in the elderly. To facilitate advances towards eliminating disease caused by alphaherpesvirus reactivation, the Colorado Alphaherpesvirus Latency Society (CALS) was formed to: (1) provide highly focused discussions of unpublished data on all aspects of alphaherpesvirus latency and diseases they cause on reactivation; (2) initiate/extend collaborative research, including exchange of unique reagents; and (3) foster the mentorship of student, postdoctoral and early-stage investigators. Since its inception, CALS has been instrumental in accelerating research in the field, including early detection and treatment of disease in the elderly cause by alphaherpesvirus reactivation, molecular pathways of disease as well as the host immune response, and new ideas in therapeutic and vaccine development. During the past funding period, CALS extended its scope to include dedicated time for in-depth student/postdoctoral fellows/early-stage investigator mentorship by providing written critiques of their presentations. CALS is aware of the increasing difficulty to succeed in academic sciences and has initiated a grant- writing clinic hosted by a volunteer team of established investigators experienced with NIH study sections. CALS is also aware of underrepresented minorities in science and has embarked on an effort to draw this important group into the field through early identification and mentorship.
|Baird, Nicholas L; Cohrs, Randall J (2017) 2017 Colorado alphaherpesvirus latency society symposium. J Neurovirol 23:642-655|
|Cohrs, Randall J; Gilden, Don (2016) 2016 Colorado alphaherpesvirus latency society symposium. J Neurovirol 22:703-714|
|Cohrs, Randall J; Gilden, Don (2015) 2015 Colorado Alphaherpesvirus Latency Society Symposium. J Neurovirol 21:706-16|
|Cohrs, Randall J; Gilden, Don (2014) 2014 Colorado alphaherpesvirus latency symposium. J Neurovirol 20:644-56|