The immune system has enormous impact on human health and well-being. The cells of the immune system patrol nearly every site in the body, acting as sentinels, defending against pathogens and disease. However, abnormal immune functions cause immune deficiency, autoimmunity and allergy and also contribute to other diseases including atherosclerosis and cancer. Thus, immune dysregulation figures prominently in many of the most common human diseases. The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Immunochemistry and Immunobiology has been held regularly since 1966 to foster a broad exchange of knowledge on how the immune system normally functions, how immune reactions may go awry, and how immune modulation may be used for therapeutic advantage. These meetings are typically held every two years, and in this application, we seek support for the 2012 GRC on Immunochemistry and Immunobiology. The 2010 meeting, which was funded by NIH, was very successful and received a high-performance rating in the evaluations submitted by the participants. We have assembled an exciting program for the 2012 meeting (all speakers confirmed). In contrast to many conferences that focus on specialized immunology topics, this 2012 GRC on Immunochemistry and Immunobiology will feature broad coverage of both innate and adaptive immunity, and will span the full spectrum of basic mechanisms to applied research. The meeting description can be found on the GRC website. The philosophy of the GRC governing body has helped shape the unique character of this longstanding meeting series, which is distinguished by several important factors. First, it is a prestigious meeting tha attracts the most accomplished investigators. Moreover, this is not at the expense of junior investigators, who are also well represented in the program as invited speakers. Second, it's a relatively small meeting (maximum 150 attendees), held in an intimate setting (Les Diablarets, Switzerland) with attendees staying on location. GRC invited speakers are expected to stay for the entire meeting and their expense reimbursements depend on abiding by this policy. The location and the ethic of attending the entire meeting allows for close contacts between junior investigators and their more senior colleagues. Third, the nine half day meeting sessions cover the broad field of immunology, focusing on the most intensely investigated issues. Other meetings that broadly cover immunology are very large, while smaller immunology meetings almost always focus on subtopics such as immune development or cytokines. Fourth, a strong emphasis is placed on the presentation of unpublished material. Fifth, the meeting has a democratic organization with input from a great many experts leading to the formation of the program. In particular, participation by women and underrepresented minorities is actively pursued. In this application, we seek support for this important and prestigious conference.
This is an application for NIH support for a meeting to summarize the latest advances in understanding the immune system, particularly to support the travel of junior investigators. The immune system protects us against disease every day, but it can also function improperly resulting in allergies and illnesses such as type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel diseases. The meeting will bring together leading immunology experts from across the globe for an intimate and intense exchange of ideas, techniques and concepts on both basic research, and more applied topics that will help to advance knowledge in the field.