The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Phagocytes has been in existence since 1981. The 17th GRC on Phagocytes will be held June 9-14, 2013 at Waterville Valley Resort, Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. Although the central role of macrophages and neutrophils in innate immunity has long been recognized, the field continues to evolve. Thus, whereas conferences 20 years ago focused on fundamental aspects of phagocyte structure and function, such as elucidation of the composition of neutrophil granules, and discovery of the NADPH oxidase, the 2013 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 the latest advances in our understanding of the phenotypic plasticity o these cells, and their roles in modulation of the adaptive immune response, systemic inflammation and host defense, as well as clinical correlates such as the roles of phagocytes in cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease, including recently identified therapeutic targets, and the use of phagosomes as tools for vaccinology. Featured technological achievements will include advanced imaging techniques for analysis of neutrophil migration in vivo and reverse engineering intracellular information flow to understand cell polarity. 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 150 scientists attended this GRC, and in 2011, ~39% of whom were graduate students or postdoctoral fellows. The program planned for the 2013 GRC includes nine sessions wherein 26 invited speakers will present their latest and most exciting unpublished findings.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 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 2013 Conference will incorporate a Gordon Graduate Research Seminar (GRS) on June 8-9, immediately prior to the start of the GRC, that is organized by trainees. The first two such GRSs were held in association with the 2009 and 2011 Phagocytes GRCs and have been well attended and very well received. We anticipate even greater attendance in 2013.
Phagocytes are white blood cells that are essential for defense against infection, yet also play previously unappreciated roles in many other diseases including cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. The Gordon Research Conference on Phagocytes, together with the preceding Gordon Research Seminar, will bring together leading scientists, as well as junior investigators that are the future of the field of phagocyte biology, or a conference wherein they can discuss their latest and most important research findings. Public health will be advanced as the collegial atmosphere that is emblematic of this conference fosters collaboration and helps drive future research, and will provide an ideal setting for the conception of ideas that may lead to new therapies or treatment regimens that are desperately needed to combat a wide range of infectious and inflammatory diseases and disorders.