This proposal is a request for funding to support the travel expenses for young scientists to attend the 2013 International Meeting on the Molecular Biology of Hepatitis B Viruses, scheduled for Oct. 20 - 23 at Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. This meeting, which has been held consecutively since 1985, is the only forum that gathers the international community of researchers focusing on the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the closely associated hepatitis delta virus (HDV). Approximately a quarter of the world's population has been infected by HBV, and 350 million remain chronically infected of which 15 million are co- infected with HDV. As a result, nearly a million people die annually from complications of chronic HBV infection including liver failure, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Current antiviral therapies are costly and ineffective. New HBV infections continue to arise despite the prophylactic vaccine, due to both underutilization of the vaccine and difficulty n interrupting perinatal transmission from infected mothers. It is therefore imperative that basic research on HBV continues and latest progress in the field is discussed and disseminated in a timely manner. A unique feature of the 2013 meeting is that it will be held for the first time in China, home to one-third of chronic hepatitis B carriers worldwide. It is anticipated that the meeting will promote lively scientific exchange between Chinese researchers and experts from the outside world and lead to fruitful collaborations in the near future. Besides the 10 oral sessions and two poster sessions, the workshop for the 2013 meeting will debate how chronic HBV infection causes hepatocellular carcinoma and evaluate the impact of antiviral therapy. The keynote speech by William Mason, a respected leader in the HBV field, will summarize major accomplishments of the field and point out matters requiring further investigation. One such area is the nature of the HBV receptor and early events in HBV lifecycle. In this regard Dr. Charles Rice's keynote speech will highlight the recent progress in identifying receptors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and reconstituting a mouse model of HCV infection. As in the past, great effort has been made to minimize the cost of the meeting. Since 2005, the Hepatitis B Foundation has made a strong commitment to support this meeting by providing a permanent home for the meeting and making its staff available for publicizing the meeting, especially to universities with large numbers of underrepresented minorities. In order to allow the participation of junior and minority investigators, support from the NIH to help defray the meeting costs is requested.
The 2013 International Meeting on the Molecular Biology of Hepatitis B Viruses, scheduled for Oct. 20-23 in Shanghai, China is the next meeting in an annual series that has been held continuously since 1985. This is the only definitive meeting that brings together basic scientists in the field of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV) from throughout the world. HBV continues to be a major global and US public health problem with more than 350 million individuals chronically infected worldwide, one-third of which live in China. With an annual rate of up to one million deaths due to HBV and HBV/HDV-induced liver failure, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma, the meeting is a critical platform for continued exchange of information in basic research on HBV and HDV infections.