The Pan-American Society for Pigment Cell Research (PASPCR) is preparing to hold its 18th Annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin on September 8-11, 2013. The theme for the meeting, "Advances in Melanocyte and Melanoma Biology" was chosen by the organizing committee for the following reasons: 1) There is a need for a conference dedicated to bring together melanocyte biologists and clinicians studying melanocytic disorders. While investigation of mammalian melanocyte biology is driven by the need to better understand the pathogenesis of human pigmentary disorders, investigations on pigment cell disorders in turn have helped uncover general and novel aspects of cellular biology. 2) The theme reflects a unique strength of University of Wisconsin-Madison with a long tradition of multidisciplinary departments and training programs that foster research interactions in wide ranging areas biology and medicine, including pigment cell biology and melanoma.
The specific aims of this application for the 2013 conference are to (1) provide opportunity throughout the meeting for basic and clinical scientists to present and interact on wide ranging topics of pathogenesis and treatment of pigmentary diseases, including roles of UV and melanin in pigment disorders, (2) highlight recent advances in the areas of cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, genomics and personalized medicine, and (3) bring together experts from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise to provide high intensity intellectual experience, and opportunities for collaboration. The scientific program is designed to accommodate 125-150 attendees for a 21/2 day conference that includes 5 symposia, 10 oral sessions, 5 poster sessions, 2 workshops for young investigators with senior investigators and an honorary lecture by the recipient of 2013 Aaron B. Lerner Award. The oral sessions are designed to provide opportunity for young investigators to present their research based on submitted abstracts and selected by blinded peer- review in the following areas: Biology of melanin pigmentation and transformed melanocyte, UV-induced changes in skin pigmentation and cutaneous carcinogenesis, Developmental biology and melanocyte stem cells, Immune response to melanocyte antigens, and Studies focusing on translational research. The organizing committee has identified several basic scientists and clinical experts from across the US and Canada as invited speakers. The invited speakers have been asked to provide a brief historic perspective of the topic, present latest findings from their research and highlight current challenges and opportunities in the field with the goal of stimulating discussion and collaborations between basic researchers and clinicians. Although members of PASPCR participate in other traditional discipline-oriented conferences, no forum other than PASPCR brings together the diversity of fields and interests represented in the current program.
The 2013 PASPCR Meeting in Madison, WI, will bring together expert basic and clinical scientists studying pigmentary disorders including vitiligo, albinism, effects of UV light on skin pigmentation and melanoma. The theme of the conference is Advances in Melanocyte and Melanoma Biology and therefore relevant to public health in that it helps to disseminate the latest advances in causes, treatment and prevention of pigmentary disorders. The meeting is also designed to encourage participation of young investigators, especially women and underrepresented minorities.