This proposal requests partial support for the Gordon Research Conference """"""""Signaling by Cell Adhesion Receptors"""""""", and an associated Gordon-Kenan Graduate Research Seminar (GK-GRS) """"""""Cell Adhesion Receptors at the Cross-Roads of Cell Signaling Pathways: New Directions and Approaches"""""""". The broad and long-term goals of the Conferences are to increase our understanding of how cells sense and respond to signals from the substratum and neighboring cells, and how they convert those signals into changes in cell movement and cell-cell interactions in normal and disease states. Answers to these problems are central to understanding the mechanics of cell movements and interactions during embryogenesis and diseases such as metastatic cancer.
The specific aims of the meetings are to convene ~20 graduate students for the GK-GRS for a one and half day meeting, and ~46 speakers and a total of ~150 participants for the main five day Conference. The Conference provides a unique forum to compare, contrast and integrate information from the latest studies of a diversity of adhesion receptors and the cellular mechanisms linking them to intracellular signaling pathways and the cytoskeleton. The significance of this application is that the GRC on Signaling by Cell Adhesion Receptors, and the associated GK-GRS, is uniquely positioned at the nexus of cell adhesion, signaling and fate, and therefore attracts international leaders and students from a diversity of disciplines including developmental biologists and clinicians interested in 3-D tissue organization and disease processes, cell biologists and biochemists interested in cellular mechanisms, and biophysicist and bio- engineers interested in measuring mechanical forces and fabricating cell environments. The crosstalk and cross-fertilization of ideas between scientists with these different research interests and expertise contributes greatly to the impact of the Conference across these fields. The health relatedness of this application is the strong link between understanding the signaling, mechanics and function of cell adhesion receptors and their roles in normal human development and disease states such as metastatic cancer.