This proposal requests partial support by the NIH for a first-in-kind Gordon Research Conference (GRC) titled Mucosal Health and Disease. It will be conducted at Stonehill College, Easton, Massachusetts 9-14 June 2013. Drs. Douglas E. Peterson (University of Connecticut Health Center) and Terrence A. Barrett (Northwestern University Medical School) will serve as Chair and Co-Chair respectively. The broad and long-term Goal of this GRC is to delineate and promote innovative and impactful multidisciplinary research that could ultimately lead to new, personalized models for management of human mucosal disease. Such models are essential to addressing the current, major unmet medical need associated with these diseases.
The Specific Aims of this meeting are collectively directed to week-long formal and informal discussions centered in cross-cutting, innovative new research directions relative to mucosal health and disease. The meeting will convene 30 Speakers and Discussion Leaders in addition to the Chair and Co-Chair, and approximately 130 attendees. The program is structured into nine sessions, including two Keynote Addresses. Each session will provide ample time for discussion with the audience. There will be high emphasis on participation by postgraduate students and postdocs, achievement of gender balance, and inclusion of minorities and persons with disabilities. There will thus be extensive opportunity for inclusion of emerging investigators as well as scientists who have been traditionally underrepresented in this area of science. The significance of this application is that this first-knd GRC will convene scientists from diverse realms in order to synergize the research community studying mucosal health and disease. The health relatedness is directed to development to creation of innovative technologies that could predict risk for, prevent and/or treat naturally occurring and treatment-induced human mucosal disease in the future. The GRC will capitalize upon inclusion of the diverse realm of the biologic, physical, computational and clinical state-of-the-sciences in order to systematically achieve this goal in the years to come. The presentations and discussions throughout this GRC will occur in an informal, collegial atmosphere so as to foster innovative and synergistic dialogue regarding potentially paradigm-shifting new research. The GRC as currently proposed has been designed to systematically evolve in the years ahead as the science of human mucosal health and disease continues to mature. 1
Public Health Relevance: Mucosal disease in humans can cause clinically significant and economically impactful outcomes. These conditions include both naturally occurring disease (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease) as well as treatment-induced disease (e.g., mucosal injury caused by high-dose cancer therapy). Despite strategic research and clinical advances in recent years, mucosal disease in patients continues to represent a significant unmet medical and public health need. It is envisioned that the scientific initiatives and collaborations that emerge from this new GRC will identify and foster new research directions that will in turn translate into strategically enhanced patient care in the future.