The 2014 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) in Immunochemistry and Immunobiology will assemble 31 invited speakers and 165 participants for four and a half days, to consider and discuss the most recently obtained data across the breadth of immunology but focused on nine topical themes of profound biological and clinical relevance. In particular, the 2014 GRC will consider growing evidence that immune cells and molecules make critical, hitherto unanticipated contributions to areas of fundamental pathophysiology, such as metabolic regulation, that extend well beyond responses to infection. Additionally, the 2014 GRC will coincide with a surging tide of efficacy of new classes of immuno-therapeutics in inflammation, allergy, and cancer, and with new successes in vaccine research. In these contexts, the 2014 GRC aims for nothing less than a community-wide re-assessment of basic research priorities, general scholarship, and translational potentials in immunology.
These aims can be achieved by an intensive conference, drawing on the full spectrum of age, gender, and ethnicity;of large enough size to capture relevant expertise, but small enough to promote interaction and discourse: such is the hallmark of the GRC in Immunochemistry and Immunobiology, soon to enter its 48th year. To give the 2014 GRC every chance of achieving its goals, it will be preceded by the first immunology Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), a one and one half day meeting that aims to prepare 50 young researchers for participation in the GRC, in a collegial, peer-led environment. The GRS will not simply enhance the 2014 GRC, but specifically aims to provide an inspirational training experience for the next generation. The faculty for the 2014 GRC/GRS must reflect aspiration and opportunity for all participants. Thus, all invited speakers are acknowledged or emerging leaders in their fields, with proven capacity to communicate and motivate, and who collectively represent the whole community, including a specific inclusion of African researchers. Session-leads, of whom 75% will be women, will contextualize and promote discussion of each presentation. The conference site is equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual facilities and offers communal dining and relaxation activities. But, it is also sufficiently remote to dissuade participants from leaving th site. The 2014 GRC will continue a tradition of excellence, so widely perceived that invitees, despite being among the busiest in their field, have promptly committed to attending for at least 3 days. The 2014 GRC will also be innovative. As well as being the first in immunology to offer a GRS, other refinements have been made in response to evaluation of preceding conferences. Indeed, the 2014 GRC/GRS will include proven and innovative outcomes analysis. The 2010 and 2012 meetings received NIH funding, and earned the highest possible rating from most of the 95% of participants who submitted evaluations. There are therefore good grounds to believe that investment in the 2014 GRC will be highly productive.
The Gordon Research Conference is widely-recognized as an outstanding, international forum for the presentation and active discussion of unpublished data at the cutting edge of immunology. In combination with the Gordon Research Seminar, it will serve as a landmark training tool for young researchers and faculty, enhancing the collective capabilities of the field. Immunology originated in clinical immunization and has always been inextricably tied into public health issues, ranging from the eradication of diseases by vaccination, through step-changes in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and allergy, to the growing and seismic impact on cancer therapy.