Since 1980, the biennial Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Musculoskeletal Biology and Bioengineering has been the leading forum for the presentation and discussion of new and unpublished information in the field. Because of the ample time and opportunity for discussion and interaction, it has invariably led to new collaborations, initiatives and research directions. Post-conference evaluations consistently rate the conference as "outstanding". Funds are requested for partial support of the 2014 Musculoskeletal Biology and Bioengineering GRC to be held again at Proctor Academy in Andover, NH. This venue has hosted this GRC for many years and is always highly rated as a calm, scenic, and isolated site that fosters maximum interactions between the participants, who typically constitute a diverse mix of individuals at various stages of career development. The theme for the 2014 GRC is "Identifying and Overcoming the Barriers to Translation". This topic recognizes that, despite the recent enthusiasm for the concept of translating research findings into clinically useful products and procedures, translating musculoskeletal research findings into the clinic has been slow and difficult. More generally, it is now widely acknowledged that translation is much more difficult than was originally thought. One reason for this is that the various disciplines needed for successful translation often do not co-exist in the same space or speak the same language. By bringing together and isolating for 5 days, an eclectic combination of scientists, engineers, clinician-scientists, clinicians, clinical trial specialists and regulatoy experts from academia, government, industry and non-profit organizations, the proposed GRC promises to address this matter in a deep and substantial way. The proposed meeting format is basically unchanged from the one that has served so well in the past. It consists of 9 separate sessions, all involving invited speakers. There will be 2 poster sessions. Afternoons will be free for interactive recreation and discussion;the total number of attendees is capped at 180 to encourage interaction. For the first time, this GRC will be preceded by a two-day Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), also to be held at Proctor Academy. Additional funds are requested for partial support of the GRS, whose theme is "bridging the disciplines";this reflects the uniquely interdisciplinary nature of musculoskeletal research. The GRS will provide a non- intimidating forum for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and other individuals at an early stage of their career to present and discuss their work and form networks. An attendance of 50 individuals is expected. A Chair and Associate Chair of the GRS, both post-doctoral fellows, have been appointed and are working closely with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the GRC to develop the program, which will include a mentoring component. There will be 4 oral and 2 poster sessions. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the GRC will attend the GRS. Both the GRC and GRS will strive to involve women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.
This meeting addresses one of the most important areas in modern biomedical research: how to translate laboratory findings into new treatments for patients. By bringing together a limited number of engaged stake- holders in an isolated location, with ample time for discussion and interaction, this meeting promises to identify barriers to this process and suggest innovative ways to overcome them. This will accelerate the development of new treatments for important diseases.