The cellular proteome is constantly exposed to a wide variety of toxic stresses. These include external stresses, such as elevated temperatures, radiation damage and pharmacological agents as well as physiological stresses encountered during cellular proliferation, differentiation, inflammation and aging. In all organisms, inductionof the stress response is essential for the maintenance of protein homeostasis and modulation of the stress response plays a critical role in life-span regulation and aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. The 2013 Gordon Conference on "Stress Proteins in Growth, Development &Disease" is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and important meetings in this research area. It will highlight the many cutting edge advances in the field, emphasizing a broad range of topics, including exciting developments related to stress sensing, signaling, and gene expression, diseases of protein folding and conformation, roles of stress genes in metabolism, growth and development, stress gene modulation of infection and pathophysiological states, the cell biology of stress, and the roles of stress in aging. This conference, which is the seventh in this series, will be held July 7th-12th at the Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vermont. The chair of this meeting is Dr. Judith Frydman (Stanford University, Stanford, CA) and the co-chair is Dr. Ursula Jakob (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI). Thus far, 34 internationally recognized speakers have committed to attending and speaking at the 2013 meeting, including 9 women and one African- American. Moreover, significant effort will be undertaken to increase the diversity of meeting attendees, to bring more scientists into the stress protein field, and to catalyze the formation of new collaborations. To this end, the schedule has been prepared so that 10 speaking slots will be chosen from abstracts submitted for poster presentations, and preference will be given to younger scientists and to those from under-represented groups. The meeting schedule will also be prepared to ensure that new and emerging themes in stress biology and different model systems are equally represented. In addition, meeting attendance will be "capped" at 200 to facilitate effective interactions and discussions. The formal scientific program together with more informal discussions will enhance the dissemination of new information and the formation of new collaborations, which are invaluable for deeper understanding of the versatile roles of stress proteins in human health, aging and disease.
Major defects in maintaining proteostasis have shown to lead to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's disease and are thought to be one of the underlying causes of aging. To maintain proteostasis and offset potentially dangerous consequences of stress conditions that might affect the proteome, cells produce a group of highly conserved stress proteins. By disseminating cutting-edge research developments, it helps broaden our understanding of the roles of stress proteins in human health, aging, and disease, and will provide us with the realistic possibility to combine our effors and device pharmacological interventions to treat these debilitating diseases.