This is a request for support for the sixth meeting in a highly successful series of Gordon Research Conferences on Cartilage Biology and Pathology, to be held at the Gordon Conference site at 'Les Diablerets, Switzerland', April 7-12, 2013. Building on the success of the previous conferences, the meeting brings together outstanding senior and junior scientists, with a special emphasis on advanced graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, for a 4.5-day program of formal presentations, poster sessions, and intensive informal discussions. The participants share an interest in cartilage biology and pathology, but represent a broad range of disciplines, including genetics, development and differentiation, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, tissue engineering, degeneration and regeneration, synthetic biology, rheumatology, and orthopaedics. When cartilage fails, the consequences can be severe, ranging from death near the time of birth to reduced growth of the skeleton during childhood, and degenerative joint diseases and physical disability in adults. The prevalence of adult diseases of cartilage is increasing in the aging population of the world. During recent years, great strides have been made in the identification of genes, which control cartilage formation, and the mechanisms by which they act. Similarly, comprehensive investigations have accelerated the identification of loci that predispose to degenerative diseases. At the same time, the rapid development of stem cell and tissue engineering technologies are increasing the options for repair and regeneration of damaged cartilage. However, the transfer of basic knowledge into translational medicine has still to be improved and requires the intensive interaction of scientist with different fields of expertise. This meetin will bring together experts from a wide spectrum of established and emerging scientific disciplines, to address where we stand today with respect to understanding the basic mechanisms and therapeutic potentials of cartilage diseases, and what developments are in the pipeline. This is the ONLY meeting that brings together such a broad spectrum of researchers in an informal setting, where it is possible to interact and discuss extensively. The conference is held every other year, alternating between a site in Europe and a site in the US, maximizing opportunities for interactions with colleagues around the world. The meeting is distinctive in its ability to provide junior scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and advanced graduate students extensive access to senior scientists, enabling mentoring, networking, and establishment of collaborations. The conference has consistently been rated as "outstanding" by the participants. The basic format, providing ample time for informal discussions, remains thus unchanged from our previous highly successful conferences.
This application seeks partial support for the 2013 Gordon Research Conference on Cartilage Biology and Pathology. This is the sixth in a series of highly successful conferences, with the goal of advancing research and fostering interactions among scientists, engineers, and clinicians to improve diagnosis, prevention, and therapeutic treatment of congenital and degenerative diseases of cartilage.