The 2013 Gordon Research Conference on Epithelial Differentiation and Keratinization (GRC-EDK) is the premier international meeting in epithelial and cutaneous biology, evidenced by the regular attendance of international leaders in this field and by the size of the applicant pool. The GRC-EDK has been held bi-annually since 1979 and has both reflected and promoted the evolution of epithelial biology from primarily biochemical analyses, to molecular, cellular, genetic and developmental approaches, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, aging, epigenetics and genomics. This success has been achieved by combining a strong focus on cutaneous and epithelial biology with openness to new concepts and technical approaches. For 2013, we have invited leading investigators in epithelial biology and early career scientists with innovative and exciting research programs. The program covers areas of persistent interest such as stem cells, regeneration and aging, epithelial adhesion and polarity, rare diseases, and epithelial cancers, and explores new topics including microbiota of intestine and skin, advances in live imaging, and genomics approaches to understanding carcinogenesis and evolution. To promote discussion of new ideas, >25% of the invited speakers are from outside the immediate field. An entire session and 2 additional slots are reserved for oral presentations selected from submitted abstracts, to ensure opportunities for young investigators to give oral presentations, and to accommodate late-breaking discoveries. The program has a strong emphasis on translational medicine, with an entire session devoted to novel therapeutics. To promote collaboration between academic medicine and industry, we have invited a speaker from biotech and academic scientists with strong industrial ties. The relatively isolated location and residential nature of the Conference, and the informal afternoon periods, maximize opportunities for scientific discussions. For 2013, we have formalized our commitment to developing the careers of trainees by establishing the first Gordon Research Seminar on Epithelial Differentiation and Keratinization (GRS-EDK) to be held immediately preceding the GRC-EDK. GRS meetings are organized by, and feature, trainee scientists and provide a unique venue for trainees to present their research in a supportive environment, network with peers, and develop life-long collaborations. The main GRC-EDK sessions are: (1) Sensory Epithelia;(2) Stem Cells and Regeneration;(3) Epithelial Cytoskeleton, Adhesion and Polarity;(4) Epithelial Barriers, Inflammation, Immune Functions and the Microbiome;(5) Development and Evo-Devo of Skin, Skin Appendages, and the Pigmentary System;(6) Mechanisms in Epithelial Cancer;(7) Issues Arising;(8) Novel Regulatory Mechanisms and Investigational Approaches;(9) Novel Therapeutic Approaches. The 2013 GRC/GRS-EDK reflect our Aims of presenting, discussing and facilitating cutting edge research in epithelial biology;promoting translation of key research findings to clinical practice;and furthering the careers of trainees. NIH support is requested for registration costs, particularly for trainees and young investigators.
The first bi-annual Gordon Research Conference on Epithelial Differentiation and Keratinization (GRC-EDK) was held in 1979 in a collaborative effort by dermatologists and skin biologists to solve basic problems in epithelial biology and translate these discoveries to treat human disease. Following in this tradition, the 2013 GRC-EDK and its associated, trainee-run Gordon Research Seminar, will focus on New Frontiers and Therapeutics. A major goal of the meeting is to discuss how cutting edge findings in epithelial biology research can be used to develop new treatments, including stem cell based therapies and small molecule therapeutics, for conditions such as psoriasis, blistering diseases, hair loss diseases, chronic wounds, and skin cancers.