We request partial support for three (3) international meetings on "Cell Contact &Adhesion", which will be held in 2009 (June 28 - July 3) at the Waterville Valley Resort (New Hampshire USA), and again in 2011 &2013 - likely alternating between the Waterville Valley and Il Ciocco (Barga IT) sites. The larger goal and significance is to enhance our basic understanding of cell-cell adhesion systems at the molecular level, for example, how the molecules involved form physical adhesive contacts and how they contribute to signaling pathways allowing communication between cells. These concerns are central to obtaining a grasp of both normal development and multiple pathologies where aberrations in contact physiology are contributory. Human disease conditions of direct relevance include the progression of cancer from initiation through metastasis, host-pathogen interactions and blistering skin diseases. Nine (9) sessions are outlined, which together address the most exciting advances or areas of opportunity in a variety of cell-cell adhesion contexts - such as adherens, gap, tight and desmosomal junctions (as well as others). Using cell-line and diverse vertebrate and invertebrate model systems, a particular emphasis for the 2009 conference will be upon the generation and maintenance of cell polarity, as well as the execution of morphogenic processes. Such scientific interests relate intimately with an additional central session that will explicitly address cancer.
Our specific aims i n 2009 include the assembly 44 gifted speakers/ investigators and 9 session chairs. In conjunction with the Chair and Vice-Chair, such individuals will: provide the latest views and unpublished experimental evidence available in their research areas;facilitate the active discussion and debate of issues at the forefront of the cell-cell adhesion field and its cross-over disciplines;foster an environment where researchers can develop meaningful professional relationships and the trust needed to promote future collaborations;assist the active involvement of women and under-represented groups;encourage the significant participation of individuals from around the globe;and importantly, facilitate the mixing of postdoctoral and graduate trainees with more senior investigators. In sum, over the course of three (3) conferences that will span five years, the NIH support we seek will be instrumental to an important and dynamic field with deep roots in both basic science and the understanding of human disease.
The Cell Contact &Adhesion Gordon Research Conference will advance research facilitating better outcomes for humans afflicted by diseases such as cancer, microbial invasion and blistering skin diseases. In these and additional pathologies, contact and communication that would normally take place between neighboring cells becomes altered and leads to the disruption of both cell and tissue functions, for example, as occurs during cancer metastasis. By providing both young and senior investigators an opportunity to share their latest results first-hand while developing trust to facilitate future collaborations, the proposed conference provides a valuable and proven opportunity to spur needed biomedical advances.