The International Conference on Gram-Positive Pathogens (ICGPP) brings together scientists at all stages of their careers to exchange ideas and strategies based on their shared interests in Gram- positive pathogens. This conference, initially held in 2006 and then continued in 2008, 2010, and 2012 as a result of participant enthusiasm, grew out of collaborations between investigators at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and other academic institutions in the great plains region of the United States. The overarching benefit of ICGPP is the opportunity for investigators to share the science, approaches, and protocols that are unique to Gram-positive organisms in contrast to Gram- negative bacteria. While Gram-positive pathogens cause a myriad of unique infections, ranging from antibiotic-associated colitis to necrotizing fasciitis, fundamental aspects of activities that include protein secretion across single membranes, cell wall biosynthesis and protein anchoring, and cell-cell communication are shared between this group of medically important pathogens. The impact of Gram-positive infections continues to grow and antibiotic resistance remains a significant threat. As an example, Clostridium difficile enterocolitis, once primarily associated with antibiotic use in hospitals, is now found in young, healthy adults that do not have an epidemiological relationship to a healthcare facility. Recent data suggests that infections caused by C. difficile are the leading cause of mortality among antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the US. In addition, community-acquired methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strain USA300 has reached epidemic levels and is causing skin and soft tissue infections in schools, locker rooms, and hospitals in otherwise healthy individuals. This R13 application is requesting funds to support the ICGPP to be held in Omaha, NE during the dates of October 12-15, 2014. Our current organizing committee is comprised of eight members from various academic institutions, and all are past attendees and have been involved in the planning stages of this conference. Although other meetings exist in the US that present various aspects of bacterial pathogenesis or prokaryotic biology, this is the only meeting focusing specifically on Gram-positive pathogenesis and biology, and which provides a collegial and supporting environment that fosters interactions between established investigators and junior scientists. Young scientists have the option of presenting their research in either poster or oral format and importantly, in 2012, 40 trainees gave oral research presentations. Five internationally known scientists have already agreed to give keynote presentations at the 2014 ICGPP: Drs. Andrew Camilli (Tufts University), Jean Lee (Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital), Bruno Dupuy (Institut Pasteur in Paris, France), Darren Higgins (Harvard University), and Kelly Doran (San Diego State University). To keep registration fees low for participants and to encourage the engagement of young investigators, we request funds to support travel of our five keynote speakers and for 17 travel grants that will be awarded to pre and post-doctoral trainees.
The International Conference on Gram-Positive Pathogens (ICGPP) provides a forum where investigators studying multiple aspects of gram-positive pathogenesis and biology can interact and share ideas to enhance the general understanding of these important pathogens. These interactions will foster new ideas and collaborations to ultimately develop novel therapeutic regimens to treat these sometimes devastating infections.