This is a proposal for partial support of the only major national or international meeting dedicated to excitation/contraction coupling and how defects in this critical process underlie muscle disease. The Muscle: Excitation/Contraction Coupling (ECC) Gordon Research Conference (GRC) will meet from May 30 - June 5, 2015 at the new Sunday River Resort GRC site in Newry, ME. The GRC program was developed by an Executive Organizing Committee consisting of leaders in ECC research including Drs. Robert T. Dirksen (University of Rochester), Susan Treves (Basel University Hospital), and Isaac N. Pessah (UC Davis). The two overarching objectives of the 2015 Muscle: Excitation/Contraction Coupling GRC are: Objective 1: To discuss and critically evaluate new breakthroughs regarding the molecular mechanisms that control ECC and how this process is altered in muscle fatigue, atrophy, sarcopenia, metabolic disease, and genetically-inherited forms of skeletal and cardiac muscle disease. Objective 2: To promote visibility and leadership of junior investigators in the field by providing a platform for students, postdoctoral fellows, and new independent investigators to present their work, as well as to interact and network with established senior investigators. The 2015 GRC conference will consist of 35 speakers, 18 Discussion Leaders, and 16 poster presentations. Scientific sessions will focus on structural studies of the ECC apparatus, new insights into the molecular mechanisms and regulation of ECC, identification of new therapeutic targets, and the development of innovative treatments for muscle fatigue, sarcopenia, and skeletal and cardiac muscle disorders that adversely impact millions of individuals in the US. For the first time for this GRC, the meeting will be preceded by a two-day Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In addition, a different young investigator will be paired with a senior investigator to serve as Co-Discussion Leaders for sessions during the GRC. Innovative "Rapid Poster Preview" and "This Just In" speaker slots will be used to highlight late-breaking news. These innovative program elements will also maximize poster session visibility, as well as to enhance the integration and exposure of promising young investigators in the field during the GRC. We expect that this conference will attract 150-200 basic and clinical scientists across all career stages, genders, races, heritages, research disciplines, professional affiliations (academic, industrial, government), and geographical locations. Our overall aim is to promote: 1) open dialogue and communication, 2) exposure and career advancement of promising young investigators in the field, 3) fundamental understanding in the mechanisms of ECC and how defects in this process lead to compromised muscle performance, and 4) the development of novel and effective therapies to combat skeletal and cardiac muscle disorders.
The overall scientific goals of the 2015 Muscle: Excitation/Contraction Coupling Gordon Research Conference are to discuss and critically evaluate new breakthroughs in understanding normal muscle performance and how this is altered in muscle fatigue, atrophy, aging, and disease. An additional major objective is to provide a platform for students, postdoctoral fellows, and new investigators to present their work and network with established senior investigators, as well as with each other. This triennial GRC is the only major meeting devoted to this important area of medically relevant research, is essential for the visibility and growth of the field, and will provide a forum for basic, translatinal, and clinical researchers to come together to discuss new ways to solve important problems in the field that have a profound impact on human health and quality of life.