Craniofacial abnormalities are common birth defects, accounting for approximately one third of all congenital anomalies. They are also a major cause of infant mortality. Collectively they have a dramatic impact on the cost of health care nationally. Among the nearly 700 craniofacial malformation syndromes are disorders such as Saethre-Chotzen, Apert, Treacher Collins, Pierre Robin and Waardenburg syndromes. Non-syndromic disorders that affect the cranial sutures, palate, teeth and jaw are also common. Craniofacial disorders, both syndromic and non-syndromic, have major consequences over the lifetimes of affected individuals, as well as family members and caregivers. Treatments must often be multi-pronged, involving surgery, dental care, and psychological counseling over many years. These approaches are costly and, although they can have significant benefit, they are too often not entirely successful. Therefore major effort needs to be directed towards developing therapeutic avenues for prevention and improving tissue engineering approaches for repair. New therapeutic approaches can only come from a deep understanding of the etiology and pathophysiology of individual malformation syndromes, which is built upon a thorough understanding of the normal events that regulate craniofacial development. To this end, we seek funding for the 2012 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Craniofacial Morphogenesis and Tissue Regeneration and the accompanying Gordon-Kenan Research Seminar (GRS). The GRC has become the premier international conference on craniofacial development and disease. The GRS, which first took place in conjunction with the GRC at il Ciocco, Italy in 2010, provides opportunities for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to present their work in a rigorous yet small and supportive setting. The long term goal of this proposal is to contribute to the cohesion of a scientific community that will conduct basic and translational research on the development of the craniofacial complex and the pathophysiology and treatment of diseases that affect craniofacial structure and function. Because craniofacial development and disease are complex and poorly understood, interdisciplinary approaches are essential. It is well established that transformational studies take place at the interfaces between disciplines. Therefore bringing together scientists working in the diverse yet related disciplines of developmental biology, stem cell biology, human genetics, and tissue engineering is essential for making real progress on the treatment of craniofacial disease.
Abnormalities of the head and face account for approximately one third of all birth defects. They are also a major cause of infant mortality, and have a dramatic impact on the cost of health care nationally. Treatment of such disorders is often complex and can be life-long, with major consequences for family members and caregivers, as well as affected individuals. To devise new approaches for the treatment of such disorders, it is essential together scientists working in the diverse yet related disciplines of developmental biology, stem cell biology, human genetics, and tissue engineering in a setting that fosters interaction and collaboration. To this end, we seek funding for the 2012 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Craniofacial Morphogenesis and Tissue Regeneration and the accompanying Gordon-Kenan Research Seminar (GRS) which will take place in Ventura, CA, March 18-23, 2012.