Since 1966 The Chemistry &Biology of Tetrapyrroles Gordon Conference has sought to bring together individuals from diverse disciplines to explore the role of tetrapyrrole pigments across all kingdoms of life. Clinicians, plant and animal biologists, microbiologists, chemists, biophysicists, and bioengineers meet to discuss and share research interests that have tetrapyrroles as the common theme. Thus, this conference has been at the forefront of encouraging "interdisciplinary" and "translational" research before the terms were popular. There is no other meeting of the tetrapyrrole research community with a similar tradition of broad research disciplines as is found in the Chemistry &Biology of Tetrapyrroles GRC.
The specific aims of the 2012 Chemistry and Biology of Tetrapyrroles Gordon Research Conference are: 1.) to provide a forum for the discussion of cutting edge unpublished research between basic and clinical scientists who have a common interest in the chemistry and biology of tetrapyrrole molecules, and 2.) to bring together and promote the exchange of ideas between established and new investigators from a wide variety of scientific disciplines with their clinical counterparts by providing ample discussion time following formal presentations, by holding poster sessions that serve as a focus for the discussion of common interests, and by fostering a collegial atmosphere that promotes translational research collaborations. Each session has been organized to include a spectrum of disciplines while focusing on a specific area of research. For example, the session on tetrapyrroles in disease states will cover the molecular and physiological aspects of erythroid development in mammals and model organisms, the biochemical basis and clinical disease states of porphyrias and X-linked sideroblastic anemia, and heme acquisition and utilization during parasitic infections. Speakers include established researchers in their respective disciplines to provide the name recognition to attract the attendance of the best researchers in the field, and young investigators who will bring fresh and innovative ideas to the meeting. Significant work by young investigators will be highlighted throughout the conference and attendees are encouraged to interact and confer with those new to the field.
The proposed conference is relevant to public health since it brings together diverse researchers whose presentations will cover aspects of human health ranging from the role of heme in bacterial and parasitic infections to genetic disorders of heme synthesis, especially those related to erythropoiesis. The Chemistry and Biology of tetrapyrroles GRC conference is relevant to the Mission of NIH since it responds to the goal to support activities that will lead to new discoveries that are basic to the advancement of the Nation to protect and improve health.