This proposal requests partial support for a meeting on the Immunology of Fungal Infections as part of a Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) to be held in Galveston, Texas, January 13-18, 2019. The broad and long-term goal of this conference is to bring together the world?s leading researchers in this rapidly expanding field to foster cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations. The meeting is designed to enhance our understanding of anti-fungal immunity with the aim of developing new insights for controlling these pathogens.. The 2019 conference will include, for the third time, a GRS for trainees held immediately prior to and in conjunction with the GRC.
The specific aims of this meeting will be to convene over 40 leading experts who will present unpublished data and insights covering critical areas within the field of fungal immunology.. The GRC program will be structured into 9 sessions that comprehensively cover the various host and fungal factors that determine innate and adaptive immune responses. Both basic and translational research will be emphasized, with an emphasis on ?big data? and ?omics? approaches. Afternoon poster sessions will permit all participants to contribute to these topics with the most meritorious abstracts chosen by the conference Chairs and Vice-Chairs for oral presentation. Every effort will be made to encourage participation by postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the GRC. In addition, the GRS will be specifically aimed at trainees, allowing them to present their research and interact in a relaxing and extra supportive environment. Every effort will be made to promote gender parity and include racial/ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. The significance of this application is that this GRC and GRS will provide a much-needed forum for brining together and synergizing the members of an international research community working on the immunology of fungal infections, which remains a highly under-studied area. The GRS will have the added value of helping to train and energize the next generation of researchers in the field. The health relatedness of this application is that the discussions generated will help define the important questions relating to basic science as well as those required for the development of novel strategies for immunotherapy. The latter are desperately needed so as to reduce the high levels of mortality and morbidity associated with these devastating illnesses.
Fungi are usually harmless in the context of host responses, but modern medical practices, a variety of surgical interventions, and the AIDS pandemic have led to immune deficiencies and susceptibility to fungal disease in a significant portion of the population. Even so, the study of fungal infections and immunity thereto have lagged far behind those of other pathogens. The discussions of current research at this Gordon Research Conference and Gordon Research Seminar will highlight recent advances and define important questions that need to be addressed for the development of new immunotherapeutic strategies for the control of fungal infections.