This proposal requests partial support for the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and Seminar (GRS) on autophagy, to be held in Il Ciocco, Italy March 18th-23rd, 2018. Autophagy is a fundamental cellular homeostatic mechanism affecting normal aging and a wide spectrum of major human disease related to aging, such as cancer, neurodegeneration and inflammation. The broad and long term goal of this GRC series is to promote an integrated approach in defining the rapidly expanding role of autophagy in physiological and pathological processes that underlie human aging and diseases.
The specific aims of the 2018 GRC and GRS will be to convene 30 speakers and discussion leaders that represent critical areas of autophagy research with a total of over 160 international participants for a five-day conference. The program will have a keynote address from a world leader of lysosomal biology and eight sessions that broadly address current issues in lysosomal biology, the final destination of the autophagosome as well as basic biology, selective autophagy, inflammation and immunity, drug discovery, age-related diseases and autophagy in aging. In addition, 17 short talks will be selected from abstracts, and two evening poster sessions will permit all participants to contribute to these topics. The significance of this application is that the autophagy GRC has become the centerpiece of the yearly series of conferences that critically influence, direct and propel research in the international community of autophagy scholars (the 2016 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Ohsumi, who discovered the molecular mechanisms of autophagy, has been a regular invited speaker at past GRC meetings on autophagy). These conferences bring together investigators who are at the forefront of the autophagy field, and provide opportunities for junior scientists and graduate students to present their work in poster format and exchange ideas with leaders in the field thus nurturing the next generation of autophagy research leaders. The health relatedness of this application is that autophagy directly impacts a wide spectrum of human health and disease related to ageing, neurodegeneration, cancer, metabolic disorders, myodegeneration, immune functions and chronic inflammation. The research spurred by GRC meetings on autophagy will lead to a greater understanding of the normal ageing processes, help to develop new approaches in treatments of age-related diseases and improve healthy lifespan.

Public Health Relevance

Autophagy is a fundamental biological process that impacts nearly all facets of human health, including a number of age-related diseases, such as neurodegeneration, cancer, infection and immunity, inflammation and allergy, metabolic diseases and diabetes, muscle atrophy, as well as the aging process itself. The growing realization of the broad impact of autophagy in human health is in part the result of vigorous scientific exchange facilitated by previous Gordon Research Conferences on autophagy. The 2018 GRC and GRS on autophagy will be instrumental in communicating the newest molecular insights of the role and regulation of autophagy in aging and age-related disorders, with the goal of facilitating translation of the presently acquired knowledge into drugs and novel treatments for such diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Conference (R13)
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Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee (NIA)
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Velazquez, Jose M
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Gordon Research Conferences
West Kingston
United States
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