The Molecular Biology of DNA Tumor Viruses Conference (formerly known as the Small DNA Tumor Virus Conference) is the annual international conference for scientists studying the molecular biology of adeno, polyoma/SV40, and papilloma viruses. In this grant application, funds are requested to support young investigators and scientists-in-training to attend this annual conference over the next five-year period. The Molecular Biology of DNA Tumor Viruses Conference will be held in the United States in even-numbered years (in Madison, WI in 2010 and 2012) and in Europe (Oxford, England in 2009 and 2013 and Trieste, Italy in 2011) in odd-numbered years. The scientific organization of each meeting is determined by an organizing committee composed of leaders in the fields of adeno, polyoma/SV40, and papillomavirus research based upon the submitted abstracts. Now in its third decade of existence, the annual Molecular Biology of DNA Tumor Viruses Conference provides a unique and critical venue for scientists working on these related DNA tumor viruses to compare and contrast their biology. Many important insights concerning these viruses and the mammalian cells they infect have been described at the Molecular Biology of DNA Tumor Viruses Conference including the first discoveries of introns and the mRNA splicing, transcriptional enhancers and promoter regulatory elements, structure of mammalian chromatin, the identification of cellular DNA synthetic machinery, and the identification of cellular tumor suppressors and their inactivation by viral oncoproteins. Importantly, similarities in modes of action of these viruses have been discerned in large part because of the cross fertilization of ideas between adeno, polyoma/SV40, and papilloma virus biologists that is fostered by their attendance at this annual meeting. The continued importance of the Molecular Biology of DNA Tumor Viruses Conference is demonstrated by the strong attendance by most PIs working on the molecular biology of these DNA tumor viruses. The meeting organizers have actively and successfully sought the participation of women and minorities in the Molecular Biology of DNA Tumor Viruses Conference. Their continued inclusion is a major goal of this grant application.
Small DNA tumor viruses are the focus of this annual conference, which has been in existence for over 35 years. These viruses are important human pathogens, including most notably human papillomaviruses, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US, the cause of several cancers including cervical cancer, and the second leading cause of death by cancers among women worldwide. Also included are adenoviruses, which cause respiratory illnesses and include new emerging lethal strains, and human polyomaviruses, which have been linked to illnesses including cancer in immunocompromised individuals. In addition to the need to better understand the biology of these pathogens and to identify new ways to prevent or treat diseases caused by them, their study continues to provide important new insights into many basic biological questions including how cancer arises.