This proposal requests partial support for the ninth Gordon Research Conference on "Salivary Glands and Exocrine Biology" entitled From Development to Disease and Beyond, to be held February 3-8, 2013, at the Hotel Galvez, Galveston, Texas. This meeting is highly significant because salivary glands perform critical roles in oral and systemic health, and they can serve as useful model systems for general studies of branching morphogenesis, exocrine physiology and exocrine dysfunctions, including autoimmune diseases and cancer. Moreover, the meeting is a preeminent multi-disciplinary conference in the fields of salivary gland and exocrine tissue biology that brings together established basic and translational investigators, promising junior scientists, and experts from associated fields. The overall goal of this conference is to expedite progress in research in the area of salivary and exocrine tissue biology and to use research findings for the development of new therapies for salivary and other exocrine tissue dysfunctions. A secondary goal is to facilitate collaborations among salivary researchers and investigators in complementary basic, translational and clinical fields. The goals of the meeting will be met through two specific aims: 1) to promote discussion and prioritization of the important future research directions relevant to understanding the development, physiology, and pathophysiology of salivary glands and other exocrine tissues and their secretions, including state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic advances, and 2) to provide a venue for junior investigators at the graduate student, postdoctoral and junior faculty levels to discuss their current research and forge scientific interactions including collaborations. The latter is viewed as an essential step to young investigators to build networks that may lead to a lifetime of collaboration and scientific achievement. This is likely to promote the retention of the most talented junior investigators in the field. The program will comprise nine plenary sessions, including two keynote addresses by investigators of international stature. In addition, four poster sessions will serve as a venue to showcase new research findings. The major themes of the meeting will focus on: 1) molecular genetic mechanisms of development;2) mechanisms of protein and fluid secretion;3) mechanisms of calcium signaling;4) exocrineopathies and malignancies, and 5) tissue repair and regeneration. An important feature of the program will be a broadening of focus to include mechanotransduction/tissue morphodynamics, tumor biology and plasticity, inflammation and fibrosis, advances in genomics, trascriptomics and epigenomics, as well as updates on computational modeling of cellular processes. Additional highlights will include presentation of cutting edge technologies and methodologies. The meeting will facilitate the aligning of recent breakthrough discoveries and innovative technologies with the development of new therapies for salivary gland dysfunctions and further drive innovative salivary and exocrine tissue research.
Salivary glands perform critical roles in the maintenance of oral and systemic health, and their dysfunctions are accompanied by high morbidity although no effective therapeutics and treatment strategies exist. The ninth Gordon Research Conference on Salivary Glands and Exocrine Biology entitled From Development to Disease and Beyond, to be held February 3-8, 2013, at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston, Texas, proposes to bring together a multidisciplinary group of expert investigators in the field of salivary gland and exocrine tissue biology with the goal to expedite research and develop new therapies for salivary and other exocrine tissue dysfunctions. Towards this end, the conference has been designed to include several sessions focused on the most recent developments in the areas of salivary/exocrine tissue, fibrosis, autoimmunity and cancer, thus mapping new directions for the researchers at the meeting.