The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Phagocytes has been in existence since 1981 and the upcoming 2011 conference therefore marks the 30th anniversary of this highly successful series. The 16th biennial GRC on Phagocytes will be held June 19-24, 2011 at Davidson College, in Davidson, North Carolina. Although the central role of macrophages and neutrophils in innate immunity has long been recognized, the field continues to evolve. As such the 2011 Phagocytes GRC will be a forum for high-quality presentations and in depth discussions of the most recent discoveries in phagocyte biology and will highlight recent advances in our understanding of the roles of ion fluxes and lipids in phagocyte function, studies of the inflammatory response and host defense, and will inlcude clinical correlates such as the roles of phagocytes in diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis. The Conference draws from a world-wide group of scientists with diverse backgrounds in cell biology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, microbiology, immunology and clinical medicine. This meeting has consistently been an important venue for disseminating information and facilitating communication between investigators studying different facets of macrophage and neutrophil function, and also provides a general educational forum for trainees and young investigators. Approximately 140 scientists attend this GRC, and in 2009, 65% of the attendees were faculty-level investigators and 35% were graduate students or postdoctoral fellows. The program planned for the 2011 GRC includes nine sessions wherein 28 invited speakers will present their latest and most exciting unpublished findings. Each session will be chaired by discussion leaders who are experts in the field. In keeping with tradition, we also plan to select 6-8 junior scientists to present short talks based on submitted abstracts. Each lecture will be followed by ample time for vigorous discussion. In addition to oral presentations, we expect 80- 90 posters to be displayed at the meeting. This multifaceted program will provide opportunities for participation of scientists at all levels and is designed to promote the participation of junior investigators, postdoctoral trainees and new investigators to the field. To further promote the participation and professional development of students and postdoctoral fellows, the 2011 Conference will incorporate a Gordon Graduate Research Seminar (GRS) on June 18-19, immediately prior to the start of the GRC, that is organized by trainees. The first such GRS was held in association with the 2009 Phagocytes GRC and was well attended (~40 students and fellows) and very well received. We anticipate even greater attendance in 2011.
Certain types of white blood cells called phagocytes ingest and kill microbes and thus play an essential role in defense against infection. Recent studies show that phagocytes also play a previously unappreciated role in other diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Bringing together scientists that study phagocytes for a conference wherein they can discuss their latest and most important research findings advances public health as the exchange of ideas at the conference fosters collaboration and helps drive future research studies in the field that may lead to new therapies or treatments.