This application requests partial support for a meeting on the Biology of Spirochetes as part of the Gordon Research Conference series to be held in Ventura, CA, January 22-27, 2012. The purpose of this conference is to assemble the most active and productive investigators in all areas of spirochete biology to share research advances at the frontier of the field and provide a forum for cross-fertilization of ideas. An overarching goal of this conference is to improve understanding of these unusual bacteria and the diseases they cause. The introduction and mentoring of new researchers in this technically challenging field remains a tightly associated goal.
The specific aim of this meeting will be to bring together over 50 scientists with expertise encompassing several genera of pathogenic spirochetes, with a total of 175 participants, for a five-day conference in an informal and highly interactive environment that fosters the exchange of ideas. The conference program consists of 9 sessions encompassing a broad array of basic and clinically relevant topics, including mechanisms of immunity, epidemiology and pathogenesis of spirochetal diseases, evolution, ecology and transmission of spirochetal infectious agents, and the structure, metabolism, genetics and molecular biology of these unique bacteria. Afternoon poster sessions will include active participation by all attendees. Invited and confirmed speakers in every session include both leading established scientists and productive new investigators studying spirochetes. In addition, approximately one quarter of the speakers in each session will be selected from submitted abstracts to assure inclusion of pertinent cutting-edge research by more junior scientists. A conscious effort has been made and will be extended to encourage participation by graduate students and early career researchers, to assure gender balance, and to include participation by minorities and persons with disabilities. The significance of this application is that this Gordon Research Conference will provide a unique opportunity for cross-fertilization of ideas by members of the international research community working on these diverse and medically relevant bacteria. The health relatedness of this application is that the ensuing discussions will promote research contributing to the prevention, diagnosis and control of the serious, understudied and emerging spirochetal diseases that afflict a large and growing number of people around the world.
This conference is devoted to discussions of leading edge fundamental, applied and translational research of all medically important and biologically relevant spirochetes, which comprise a unique but diverse group of bacteria. Many spirochetes are pathogens and cause a variety of human and animal diseases, including syphilis, leptospirosis, Lyme borreliosis, relapsing fever, periodontal disease and dysentery. The discussions generated at this Gordon Research Conference will promote research contributing to improved prevention, diagnosis and control of spirochetal infections. The informal, discussion-oriented environment of the conference fosters valuable interactions between all participants.