The 2012 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on "The Auditory System" will provide a forum for junior and senior scientists from many disciplines to share unpublished, innovative research about aural communication and its associated disorders. This biennial meeting was established in 2008 under the auspices of the GRC, an organization internationally known for the high quality, cutting edge nature of its meetings. The specific objectives are to foster interactions across disciplines, promote a sense of community among auditory researchers, provide a springboard into auditory research for scientists from other fields, and mentor students in a supportive scientific setting. The invited speakers include both prominent scholars and promising young scientists who are applying new approaches to the hearing sciences and other intersecting fields. In addition to the 35 invited speakers, all participants can present their research at highly interactive poster sessions;from these, we select 11 short talks that are interleaved in each session. A distinct feature of this meeting is is association with a student-organized Gordon Research Seminar (GRS). The GRS assembles ~45 graduate and postdoctoral trainees to present and discuss their research immediately before the GRC begins. A few senior investigators are invited to the GRS to provide advice and feedback, thereby nurturing the careers of our future principal investigators. The first two GRC/GRS meetings garnered exceedingly positive reviews for focusing on the most recent findings, and promoting an informal, highly interactive format. The 2012 GRC on "The Auditory System" will be held July 8-13, 2012 at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, an ideal academic setting for encouraging intense and invigorating discussions in a collegial atmosphere. The GRS will be held July 7-8, 2012. A guiding principle that will serve to keep this conference fresh and relevant is our commitment to explore novel themes, and to gather a completely new cast of speakers, for each successive meeting. The specific program described in this application has the overarching goals of representing the breadth of the hearing sciences, while also establishing a set of thematic foci. Thus, the 2012 meeting will emphasize research areas that extend beyond the auditory system in an effort to introduce new concepts for discussion. We will consider the related field of vestibular processing, the field of multisensory integration, and the influence of cognitive factors such as attention. Finally, the meeting will integrate clinically relevant research in the area of hearing loss and restoration, including the vulnerability of both cochlea and CNS to injury, and novel strategies to rescue normal function. Here, basic research findings will dovetail with the latest information on vestibular and cochlear prostheses, regeneration, and central plasticity mechanisms. The 2012 GRC/GRS meetings will provide participants with an ideal setting to explore how research approaches at very different levels relate to one another, thereby facilitating new ideas and collaborations.

Public Health Relevance

Aural communication is a defining human characteristic, and its impairment can jeopardize key developmental milestones or impose significant medical hardships in adulthood. Although our great strength as a research community can be found in the sophisticated approaches to cochlear and CNS processing, this technical specialization introduces a challenge: how do we connect with one another such that we discover how the system operates? "The Auditory System" Gordon Research Conference and Seminar addresses this concern by convening a forum of top investigators from diverse areas of hearing, vestibular, and multisensory research to discuss their most recent discoveries with one another, and to share these insights with a new generation of student scientists.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Conference (R13)
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Communication Disorders Review Committee (CDRC)
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Platt, Christopher
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Gordon Research Conferences
West Kingston
United States
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Slee, Sean J; Coffin, Allison B (2013) Cutting-edge science and coffee: Auditory System Gordon Research Conference and Seminar 2012 report. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 14:1-2