This application is to renew NIH support for a FASEB Summer Conference on the Molecular Mechanisms of Immune Cell Development and Function. The conference, established in 2003, was highly successful and chosen to become a continuing series, with meetings every two years. Since the previous award, this conference has been repeatedly re-approved by the FASEB Summer Conference review committee, and the next conference will be held in July 2011 in Snowmass, CO. This proposal is for funds to support a portion of the travel and registration expenses of invited speakers, and to make it possible to defray the costs of selected junior scientists so that they can present their work to an audience of national and international experts. Funds are requested for partial support of meetings in 2011, 2013, and 2015. The conference focuses on molecular mechanisms underlying fundamental aspects of immune cell biology. The immune system is crucial for human health, and its successful manipulation for clinical purposes will depend on a deep and sophisticated understanding of its native modes of regulation. Over the past twenty years, the immune system has also become an increasingly important model system for understanding information processing by signaling pathways, signal-dependent transcriptional regulation, control of genomic integrity and DNA repair, and principles of development from stem cells for vertebrate biology generally. Much leading work in these areas comes from study of the immune system. This conference is distinctive in its focus on the molecular biology underlying immune cell responses, and also for its emphasis on bringing together research on B, T, NK, and innate system immune cells at different stages of development, selection, and mature function. The meeting includes a keynote talk by a noted leader in the field and formal sessions on (1) Early lymphocyte progenitors and lineage commitment, (2) Lymphocyte developmental checkpoints, (3) Regulation of transcription and recombination, (4) Epigenetic control of immune function, (5) Gene regulatory networks, (6) Peripheral differentiation and lymphocyte dynamics, (7) Immune responses, (8) Lymphocyte activation, and (9) Innate immunity. Each meeting also includes three poster sessions and at least two workshops for short presentations chosen from submitted abstracts. The integrative goal of the meeting is based on findings that the same molecules are often used in distinct cell lineages and stages, where interactions with different, context-specific partners result in related but distinct effects. By highlighting common and contrasting uses of similar mechanisms, the meeting reveals unexpected synergies between areas of molecular immunology that are traditionally considered distinct. Such discoveries are enhanced by the program's emphasis on mixing national and international experts with young scientists, including postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, among the presenters in an open atmosphere of scientific exchange.
This proposal is to request a renewal of support for a conference in molecular immunology that has been organized by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) every other year since 2003. The conference, called Molecular Mechanisms of Immune Cell Development &Function, brings together experts on multiple different types of immune system cells to compare and contrast the molecular mechanisms that explain and control immune functions. Continuing support is especially valuable to ensure that younger scientists, women, and under-represented minority scientists can have their discoveries showcased along with work of established national and international experts.