(provided by PI): In the western world, congenital anomalies are the major cause of infant mortality with craniofacial malformations accounting for about one third of all cases. More than 700 clinically distinct craniofacial disorders have been described of which many are associated with complex syndromes, while others represent isolated defects in teeth, palate, jaws, cranial bones and sutures, and sense organs. Both syndromic and non- syndromic conditions are disfiguring, often associated with hearing or visual impairment and thus have life-long consequences for the patients, their families and the community they live in. Treatments often involve multiple surgeries and long-term management including dental care and counseling. While these approaches alleviate some problems, they are not always entirely successful and, in addition, come at considerable costs for the health care system. It is therefore paramount to develop new strategies for early diagnosis, for prevention and for improvement of tissue repair. This requires understanding of the pathological conditions associated with craniofacial malformations and of their etiology, which in turn is based on fundamental understanding of the normal events that control development of the face. The overarching aim of this application is to provide a forum where new approaches to craniofacial disease can be developed by bringing together researchers from different fields of basic, translational and clinical science. To this end we seek funding for the 2014 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and the associated Gordon- Kenan Research Seminar (GRS) on Craniofacial Morphogenesis and Tissue Regeneration. This GRC has become the main meeting in the field, while the GRS provides an excellent opportunity for young researchers to present their work in a small and supportive, but critical setting. The long-term goal of this GRC is to establish new and maintain existing links among members of the craniofacial community, to foster exchange of ideas and collaborations across different disciplines and countries. The ultimate aim is to gain understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that control craniofacial development, to uncover the mechanisms that underlie craniofacial disorders and to translate the insights from basic science into new therapeutic strategies for repair and tissue regeneration. Given the complexity of craniofacial development and the disease spectra, this requires interdisciplinary approaches. This GRC therefore brings together scientists from various disciplines including developmental biology, stem cell biology, human genetics, biomaterials and tissue engineering as an essential mean to make progress on developing treatments for craniofacial disease.
Birth defects of the head and face account for about one third of all congenital abnormalities. Given the complexity of the craniofacial complex, treatments involve different interventions from multiple surgeries to psychological counseling with long-term consequences for the quality of life of the patients and their families. In addition, this comes as an immense cost to the health care system. To design innovative strategies for prevention and treatment of craniofacial malformations it is crucial to bring together basic and clinical scientiss from different disciplines including developmental and stem cell biology, tissue engineering and human genetics in the 2014 GRC on Craniofacial Morphogenesis and Tissue Regeneration and the accompanying Gordon Research Seminar (March 29 - April 04 2014).