The 8th Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs) will meet in Il Ciocco (Italy) from May 15-20, 2011. AMPs are endogenous components of innate immunity used by all metazoans including bacteria, fungi, plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, and mammals including humans. They act as natural antibiotics by prohibiting invasion and killing pathogens, and by restricting growth of non-pathogenic microbes. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms underscores the need to study AMPs. Furthermore, additional evidence shows that AMPs mediate host defense in a variety of biological settings and can act in ways distinct from their antimicrobial function, via receptor-mediated inflammation- associated activities such as chemotaxis or induction of cytokine production, supporting the hypothesis that AMPs are multifunctional host defense effector molecules.Recent evidence indicates a role of microbe- and host-derived AMPs in maintaining the composition of the commensal microbiota and protection of the host from infection. Knowledge of the roles of AMPs in immune responses will contribute to improved understanding and treatment of the pathophysiology of human diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, sexually transmitted and opportunistic infections, atopic dermatitis, and others. The program will be divided into 9 sessions of oral presentations and two poster sessions. The conference is co-chaired by Drs Jens Schroeder (SP) and Birgitta Agerberth, together with the co-vice-chairs Drs Nita Salzman (PI) and Gill Diamond, and will open with the keynote addresses presented by Professors Thomas Bosch and Robert Hancock. Special attention will be made to include junior faculty and student participants. Speakers will include those selected in advance based on recent important discoveries, and those selected from submitted abstracts. The daily themes are: Current Concepts in AMP function, Host-Pathogen interactions, Mechanisms and Disease associations, and Applications and Relevance of the AMPs. Ample time for organized discussion and informal interactions between participants has been included. In addition, daily sessions, including """"""""Hot Corner and Late Breaking News"""""""" will be devoted to discussing topics at the cutting edge of current investigation. The organizational philosophy is to encourage diverse participation, and maintain an eye towards gender issues, junior scientists, minorities, and individuals with physical limitations.
This is a multidisciplinary meeting that will bring together a world-leading team of scientists to discuss the biology, chemistry and medical implications of research in antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs are evolutionarily ancient molecules expressed by all living organisms to defend against microbial invasion. Recent progress has implicated these peptides in the pathophysiology of several human diseases and shown applications for AMPs in treatment of drug-resistant infectious disorders.