This proposal requests partial support for the Biology of Spirochetes Gordon Research Conference (BoS GRC) and preceding Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), to be held in Ventura, CA, January 19-24, 2014, as part of the GRC series. The conferences have three specific aims: (1) To convene a meeting of established and new investigators who study diverse aspects of spirochete biology, epidemiology, and disease pathogenesis;(2) to discuss the latest advances in the molecular biology and genetic systems of Treponema, Borrelia, and Leptospira species, which can be used to gain a better understanding of their virulence determinants, infectious strategies and basic biology;and (3) to foster scientific development of students and younger investigators by providing a challenging, supportive forum for them to interact with established investigators, present their research, and discuss ideas. The principal objective of the GRC is to bring together scientists and clinicians with expertise encompassing all genera of pathogenic spirochetes for a two-day GRS and five-day GRC in an informal and interactive environment. Introduction of new researchers into this challenging field has been a longstanding goal of the BoS GRC. To further this objective, the 2014 GRC will be preceded for the first time by a GRS for graduate students and younger researchers. The conference program spans a broad array of basic and clinically relevant topics, including mechanisms of immunity;epidemiology and pathogenesis;evolution, ecology and transmission of spirochetes;and structure, genetics and molecular biology of these unique bacteria. Afternoon poster sessions ensure the active participation of all attendees. Confirmed speakers in every session include leading scientists and promising new investigators studying a range of problems relating to the biology of diverse spirochete species. In addition, approximately one quarter of the speakers in each session will be selected from submitted abstracts to assure inclusion of pertinent, cutting-edge research by junior scientists. A conscious effort has been made and will be extended to encourage participation by students and post-doctoral fellows, to assure gender balance, and to include participation by minorities. The BoS meetings thus provide a unique opportunity for cross-fertilization of ideas by members of the international research community working on these diverse and medically relevant bacteria that afflict millions of persons globally.
The Biology of Spirochetes Gordon Research Conference (BoS GRC) is devoted to discussions of leading edge fundamental and applied research relating to all medically important and biologically relevant spirochetes, a unique but diverse group of bacteria. Many spirochetes are pathogens responsible for a variety of major human and animal diseases, including syphilis, leptospirosis, Lyme borreliosis, relapsing fever, periodontal disease and dysentery. The discussions generated at this GRC will contribute to a better understanding of spirochetal disease pathogenesis as well as novel strategies for their prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.