This proposal requests funds to be used to support travel and registration fees for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to attend the 38th International Herpesvirus Workshop (IHW) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, in 2013. The IHW is the major annual meeting for scientists studying all the herpesviruses and is very well-established in its 38th year. This meeting has been very successful, in part, because of the enthusiastic participation of the world's leading herpesvirus researchers. The strength of the Workshop rests on the cross-fertilization that results from comparison of different herpesviruses, different approaches to key questions and on the support and participation of leading researchers in the field, most significantly including promising young investigators and students in training. Moreover, the forum is truly international, with broad- based world-wide attendance. The medical importance of this meeting is clearly indicated from the wide variety of diseases caused by the now-recognized eight human herpesviruses. These include skin and eye ulcerations (HSV-1), genital lesions (HSV-2), meningitis and encephalitis (HSV-1 and HSV-2), infectious mononucleosis (EBV), chicken pox and shingles (VZV). CMV is a major cause of birth defects including mental retardation, blindness and deafness due to congenital transmission but also a significant opportunistic pathogen in AIDS patients and organ transplant recipients. More recently, CMV has been implicated as a pathogenic contributor in the development of atherosclerosis. Cancer has also been associated with herpesvirus infections. EBV is associated with Burkitt's lymphoma, other B cell neoplasias and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The most recent human herpesvirus discovered (HHV-8 or KSHV) is associated with Kaposi's sarcoma in AIDS patients and other immunosuppressed persons and in other groups. All of the herpesviruses persist for life and therefore pose significant problems in the treatment of immune-compromised individuals. Diseases caused by reactivation of most human herpesviruses are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in various immune patient populations. Workshop sessions will take an interdisciplinary approach to the following topics: virus structure, mechanism of virus entry and cell-cell spread, membrane proteins, pathogenesis and latency, DNA replication, vaccination and the immune response, transcriptional control, regulation of gene expression, chemotherapeutic targets, and virus gene therapy.
The International Herpesvirus Workshop is the premier scientific meeting for herpesvirus researchers and the only meeting with an interdisciplinary focus on all the major subfamilies of herpesviruses and all aspects of research from molecular biology to clinical studies.