This revised proposal requests partial support for the Gordon Research Conference and Gordon Research Seminar on Bioelectrochemistry to be held at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine between July 5 to 11, 2014. The meeting theme is "Cellular and organismal responses to endogenous and exogenous fields". The broad goal of the conference is to draw a direct line from a detailed understanding of the complex membrane in the electric field to exciting new clinical applications with electrochemotherapy, gene electrotransfer, as well as wound healing and diagnostic applications.
The specific aim of this meeting is to convene 35 cross-disciplinary speakers and discussion leaders representing the forefront of research into electric field/tissue interactions with a total of 140 participants or in depth discussions during 9 focused sessions. As a particular feature, a Gordon Research Seminar, intended for young researchers to meet and present their results in the 24 hours before the actual Gordon Conference starts, is envisaged. A total of 50 postdoctoral fellows, clinical fellows, and Ph.D. students are anticipated to attend the seminar. The conference will commence with a strong team of speakers discussing interactions between the cell membrane and electric fields as they pertain to normal and aberrant cellular development in cancer as well as wound healing and stem cell migration. Sessions to follow include those on the responses on intracellular components to electric fields and their consequences on cells and tissues. Subsequent sessions focus on applied electric fields and their use for gene and drug delivery, with an emphasis on basic mechanistic studies. A panel of researchers and doctors involved in clinical trials on electroporation based therapies (such as electrochemotherapy and gene electrotransfer) will bridge the discussion from basic science to actual clinical application.
This application requests support for the 2014 Gordon Research Conference entitled Bioelectrochemistry. The Conference, ongoing for the past 30 years, focuses on the interactions of membranes, cells, and organisms with electric fields, with a special interest in those involved in diagnosis and treatment of disease, including cancer, pulmonary, neural, genetic disorders, and chronic wounds. In high voltage fields, cell permeabilization can occur which can be used to load cells with chemotherapy or DNA, whereas in weak electric fields, cells may respond to directional cues and this can be used in wound healing. By emphasizing basic mechanisms revealed by multidisciplinary studies involving engineering, chemistry, materials science, imaging, cell biology, physiology, and medicine, in an atmosphere fostering the free and open exchange of ideas, the Conference hopes to accelerate optimal design of drug therapies and other interventions to ease the burden these disease states place on the nation's public health.