We request partial support for the Fibronectin, Integrins and Related Molecules Gordon Research Conference and Gordon Research Seminar. The meetings will be held on April 30 - May 6, 2011 in the Il Ciocco Hotel and Resort, Lucca (Barga), Italy. The broad and long-term objectives of the conference are to increase our understanding of the fundamental molecular mechanisms of cell adhesion;to provide insights into how integrin-mediated adhesion contributes to normal embryonic development and tissue homeostasis;and to discover how it impacts human diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The meeting also plays an important role in educating and training the next generation of scientists and in recognition of this, for the first time, the conference will be preceded by a two-day Gordon-Kenan Research Seminar (GRS), designed to provide a unique forum for graduate students, post-docs, and other scientists with comparable levels of experience and education, to discuss their current research, learn from one another, network with their peers, and interact with select leading scientists from the associated Gordon Research Conference. The GRS also serves to prepare students to make a full and active contribution to the main conference which follows immediately after the symposium ends.
The specific aims of this application are to convene at least 30 invited speakers, representing the cutting edge of current research in the area, and a total of approximately 170 participants for a five-day conference along with 50 postdoc or student participants in the GRS. The meeting will be held in a relatively isolated setting to maximize opportunities for informal interactions between delegates. The program will have sessions devoted to integrin structure, activation and signaling;the assembly and dynamics of multi-molecular adhesion sites;the roles of integrins in cell migration, mechano-sensing and mechano-signaling, cytoskeletal dynamics, and the assembly and remodeling of the extracellular matrix. A further session will focus on integrins in in vivo and disease models. The GRS will include a keynote address and sessions on live imaging and modeling of integrin adhesion site dynamics and new components and network interactions in the integrin adhesome. In addition to the invited speakers both the GRC and GRS programs will contain short talks selected from submitted abstracts and there will be posters sessions to further maximize scientific discussions. The Gordon Research Conference on Fibronectin, Integrins and Related Molecules is the pre-eminent gathering of integrin researchers and because it is held only every second year it is eagerly anticipated and usually heavily over-subscribed. It will now include the two-day Gordon-Kenan Research Seminar, prior to the conference, to maximize its role in training the next generation of scientists. For these reasons it provides a vital opportunity for the members of this dynamic field to exchange information and ideas, and to develop new directions, including those of direct relevance to treating human disease.
Partial support is sought for an international conference on Fibronectin, Integrins and Related Molecules. Integrin function is perturbed in a variety of diseases, notably cancer and inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases and we anticipate that this meeting of experts and trainees will stimulate discussions and exchanges of ideas that will provide new insights into the roles of integrins in disease pathogenesis, and possible treatments.