This is a request for funds to support travel expenses of junior investigators to attend the 2010 FASEB Summer Conference on the Biology of Cilia and Flagella. The goal of the conference is to convey recent advances in cilia and flagella biology and to foster interactions between scientists interested in basic, clinical, and developmental relevance of the cilium. The cilium has undergone a renaissance over the past decade from being an arcane, "vestigal" structure to being an organelle of great clinical importance. The rebirth of the cilium is due to a remarkable confluence of two seemingly independent research areas - - investigation of the formation of the flagella of the biflagellated green alga Chlamydomonas and identification of genes responsible for what were thought to be unrelated human disease syndromes. Joel Rosenbaum's discovery in the mid-1990s that Chlamydomonas flagella are assembled by an Intraflagellar Transport (IFT) process and the subsequent dissection of the molecular underpinnings of IFT drove the discovery of genes encoding ciliary proteins responsible for several human disorders. Almost every cell type in the body possesses a single (primary) cilium. And, several syndromes (the ciliopathies) including Bardet- Biedl Syndrome, Meckel Syndrome, Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, Joubert Syndrome, Alstrom Syndrome, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Nephronophthisis, and Polycystic Kidney Diseases (PKD) are disorders of the primary cilium. PKD itself affects up to 1 in 500 individuals and is one of the leading causes of end stage renal disease responsible for over 10% of patients requiring dialysis. The impact of ciliary dysfunction on mortality and morbidity and the overall cost to the health care system is immense. The striking association between cilia dysfunction and human disease and developmental abnormalities makes it important to understand the mechanisms of assembly and maintenance of this organelle and to dissect the properties of the organelle that endow it with its unique signaling functions. Because the hallmark of the rapid and significant advances in our understanding of the ciliopathies has been the intriguing dance between studies of model systems and studies of human disease, the essence of the meeting is its diversity. Junior investigators, including postdoctoral fellows and new faculty, compose a substantial portion of invited speakers, and, because continued growth of this field depends on new investigators, ~30-40% of the speaking slots will be devoted to young faculty and junior investigators (including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) who will be selected from submitted abstracts. To capitalize on the diversity of attendees and to foster interactions, especially among junior investigators, we will have "Interest Group Tables" for lunch and dinner.
Project Narrative (Relevance): The planned meeting will bring together researchers working on the basic cell and molecular biology of clia and flagella with those working on the role of cilia and flagella in diseases such as blindness and polycystic kidney disease. The exciting and very unexpected advances generated in the biology of cilia and flagella in the past decade highlight the importance of cilia biology in basic and clinical research into human disease and development.