The major objective of the conference is to bring together researchers from the biological and physical sciences that are investigating stress responses in environmental, biotechnology, and medically relevant contexts. These stress responses are central to our understanding and controlling microbial survival in the vast array of environmental niches inhabited by microbes. Whether in aquatic, soil, or host environments, microbes must respond to fluctuations in temperature, the concentrations of ions, nutrients, oxygen or other electron acceptors, toxins, and osmolytes. Survival and subsequent niche specialization by microbes relies upon both individual cellular responses and community interactions in these environments. The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Microbial Stress Response is the premier and unique forum for the exchange of scientific discoveries in the field and the wide range of cutting edge approaches utilized in this research. There is a longstanding commitment of this GRC to offering an open, welcoming meeting that will attract and support junior scientists (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and newly independent researchers) to present their research in talks or at posters. A third of the talks are selected from the posters abstracts and are most often given by junior scientists. In 2014, this goal will be expanded by supporting a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Microbial Stress Response prior to the GRC. The two-day GRS will bring young scientists together in a stimulating environment to discuss their current research, learn about career development, and build informal networks with their peers. A poster blitz, where researchers have the opportunity to orally preview their poster to the community, will be another mechanism introduced at this meeting to facilitate increased and earlier interaction of all participants. With a commitment to diversity in mind that accurately represents our scientific community, 21 out of 36 of the invited or confirmed speakers/discussion leaders for the GRC are female and several are members of under-represented minority groups. Invited speakers also include several international scientists to increase the global scientific interactions in the microbial stress response field. The Gordon Research Conferences historically attracts scientists from undergraduate institutions, as well as research universities and institutes, providing a unique atmosphere for exchange among scientists at all levels. Clearly, the content of the meeting has the potential to inform an amazing range of areas including human health and disease, microbial-based alternative energy sources, geomicrobiology, and climate change. This conference brings together scientists from across the spectrum of microbial stress studies providing the ideal setting for cross-fertilization of ideas that have the potential to lead to significant new advances and the development and application of exciting new methodologies.
The human host presents uniquely stressful environments for microbes, and the most successful pathogens are those that are able to respond and adapt both individual cellular responses and community interactions in these environments. The Gordon Research Conference and Seminar on Microbial Stress Responses will present the latest advances in our understanding of how microbes respond to stress, many of which have direct implications for the development of future strategies for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.