This application requests support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled Viral Immunity and Host Gene Influence, organized by Laurence C. Eisenlohr, Connie C. Bergmann, Stephen J. Turner and Andrea Lynn Cox, which will be held in Keystone, Colorado from March 21-26, 2012. This meeting will focus on recent advances in viral immunity and host gene influence that have most excited the scientific community. Systems biology approaches are being increasingly applied to the exploration of host-pathogen interactions, including the impact of viral infection o innate and adaptive immunity. Accordingly, the keynote talk will be on this topic. The first full session on the next day will focus on innate immunity, a field that continues to evolve rapidly and hold great interest in the field. In the evening the audience will hear from others who have successfully applied a systems biology approach to examine virus-host interactions. The second day explores adaptive immunity, a topic that historically has been a centerpiece for this meeting, and an area that continues to move forward rapidly. On the third day, the morning session will focus on immune evasion and subversion and will illustrate how formidable the opposition can be and why vaccine development for a number of important human diseases is so challenging. Talks on persistent and chronic viral infections, a topic with clear relevance to a number of human diseases, will be covered in the evening session. The morning session of the final day will cover immune tailoring in non-lymphoid tissues;talks will illustrate how different host responses can and must be, depending upon anatomical location of the infection. The final session will cover the latest advances in the development of vaccines and therapeutics, the traditional ending for this meeting series and a reminder to attendees of the ultimate objectives. Overall, the objective of the Keystone Symposia meeting on Viral Immunity and Host Gene Influence is to accelerate progress in understanding and manipulating anti-viral immunity to improve human health. Opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions will be significantly enhanced by the concurrent meeting on HIV Vaccines, which will share a keynote address and three plenary sessions with this meeting. We anticipate this pairing will facilitate a wider cross-fertilization of ideas and foster innovative collaborations among scientists working in vaccinology and those studying innate immune mechanisms and other viral diseases.
Tremendous advances have been made in protecting human populations from viral infections;however, numerous critical challenges remain. In addition to the morbidity and mortality that directly result from infection, viruses cause approximately 20% of human cancers and have been implicated in a number of autoimmune diseases and chronic neurologic disorders. The 2012 Keystone Symposia meeting on Viral Immunity and Host Gene Influence aims to integrate knowledge in basic mechanisms with translational and therapeutic approaches to further the development of rational strategies for vaccines and antiviral therapies.