This application is to request partial support from the National Institutes of Health for the """"""""18th International RUNX Workshop"""""""". The workshop will take place in La Jolla, California in August of 2011. The meeting will bring together scientists around the world working in a variety of scientific fields and using different model systems to discuss the role of the RUNX family of transcription factors in normal cell behavior and human disease development, and to discuss therapeutic approaches for RUNX-related diseases, such as leukemia, solid tumors, familial platelet problems and bone disorders. With the exception of the RUNX workshop, most of the attending scientists do not have any opportunities to meet in other scientific conferences, due to the extremely diversified areas of research. The significance of this family of transcription factors stems from their function as master regulators of multiple cellular programs during development and differentiation, and from their dominant function when altered in the development of cancer. This workshop has been organized annually since 1994. It provides a unique forum for the exchange of ideas and resources across biological disciplines and model systems. The attendance has increased markedly from the five research groups that met in the inaugural workshop at Dartmouth in 1994 to include 120 investigators in recent years. According to our current knowledge of RUNX function and the most exciting areas of ongoing research activities, the upcoming 18th International RUNX Workshop will focus on following areas: 1) Stem cell survival and expansion;2) Mechanisms of cell-fate specification in development and differentiation;3) Hematopoiesis, leukemia and lymphoma;4) Cancer and cancer stem cells;5) Bone biology, osteosarcomas and skeletal disorders;and 6) Systems biology, structure biology and drug discovery. Based on the long-standing interactive and inter-disciplinary traditions of the 17 previous RUNX workshops, we anticipate that the 18th International RUNX Workshop will offer excellent opportunities for the cross-pollination of ideas and the development of new collaborations in this rapidly expanding field.
RUNX proteins play key regulatory roles in a number of essential developmental pathways. Importantly, perturbations in RUNX function have been shown to be causally associated with a number of different human diseases, including effects on the differentiation of stem cells in multiple lineages and the development of a variety of leukemias, solid tumors and bone disorders. The complexity in their expression, regulation and function has made the RUNX genes a focus of study of several fields of research, including developmental biology, virology, genetics, structural biology, cancer biology, systems biology and more recently in therapeutic interventions.