The Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference (MMPC) is a longstanding scientific event that brings together established and junior investigators from the Midwest to present and discuss cutting-edge research in the field of microbial pathogenesis. The first MMPC convened in 1994 at the University of Iowa;the meeting has been held every year since, alternating venues between different academic institutions within the Midwest. Between 250-350 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, and established investigators participate in this meeting annually, with attendees hailing from Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. The 21st annual MMPC is being held in Chicago, IL from September 12-14, 2014, and will be organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago. This conference is a major scientific venue, supporting the development of the next generation of research scientists including those from underrepresented populations. Apart from providing an interactive and engaging scientific forum for investigators to present their work and establish collaborations, the MMPC fosters and promotes networking between investigators and institutions from around the Midwest. The regional accessibility, relatively low meeting costs, and travel and/or registration support provided for select attendees allows this meeting to attract a diverse group of participants from around the Midwest. Approximately 50% of speakers invited to give oral presentations at the 2014 meeting are junior faculty (Assistant Professors) who are often presenting their first formal seminar since establishing their own laboratory. Five graduate student or postdoctoral fellows chosen from submitted abstracts are also invited to present orally, providing these trainees with an invaluable opportunity to showcase their research in a collegial and interactive environment. We propose to select from abstract submissions 20 additional trainees for registration waivers, focusing on underrepresented minorities. We have also contacted three community colleges in the Chicagoland area that have a predominant minority student enrollment, and we intend to issue registration fee waivers to twelve students selected by the community college faculty in order to provide the students with the opportunity to experience a regional scientific meeting. Importantly, this year's MMPC will have an interactive forum focused on community outreach and how to effectively communicate scientific research to a lay audience. Thus, the MMPC will be supporting a variety of activities that are directly relevant to the scientific missions of the National Institutes of Health and public health
The annual Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference (MMPC) is a major venue that seeks to promote interactions between microbial pathogenesis researchers located within the Midwest region of the United States. It provides a forum for the exchange of cutting-edge information on research in the field of microbial pathogenesis, and provides training, career development, and networking opportunities for both young and established scientists who seek to understand mechanisms influencing interactions between microbes and their human host. The focus of the MMPC is directly applicable to the scientific missions supported by the National Institutes of Health and the field of public health, including the identification, validation, and characterization of new therapeutic targets and strategies for combating human infectious diseases.