The prevalence of obesity and associated pathologies such as insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease has prompted an explosion of research on the biology and metabolism of neutral lipid which are stored within lipid droplets (LD) within cells. The elucidation of fundamental processes such as lipid droplet biogenesis, storage, trafficking, lipolysis, and oxidation is critical in designing new therapeutic strategies for metabolic disorders. This conference on Lipid Droplets: Metabolic Consequences of the Storage of Neutral Lipids will bring together scientists from numerous disciplines for the purpose of defining, describing, and analyzing critical scientific problems and recent advances in the cell biology, biochemistry, and physiology of lipid droplets. The inaugural conference on this topic occurred in 2007 and a second conference in 2010 was met with extreme enthusiasm. Since then, the lipid droplet field has grown exponentially, to the extent that a November 2011 PubMed search for "lipid droplet" retrieved 2021 published papers. The proposed meeting will bring together scientists working on diverse and varied aspects of lipid droplet physiology and metabolism, with the goal of facilitating new hypotheses, approaches, and collaborations. Many in this emerging field, have not previously attended the same conferences, The small conference format and secluded conference site will foster an intimate and interactive environment in which junior investigators, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty, will have ample opportunity to interact with more senior established investigators. This application requests funding to support the participation of 10 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior investigators at the conference to be held July 22-27, 2012 at Snowmass, Colorado. The format will include an opening night Keynote Address, eight sessions of talks with invited speakers, and several additional short talks to be selected from submitted abstracts. The session topics include: 1) The architecture and itinerary of lipid droplets, 2) new pathways in lipid droplet cell biology, 3) mechanisms of neutral lipid synthesis, 4) delivery and metabolism of lipids, 5) new insights into the regulation and role of lipid droplets in metabolism, 6) lipid droplet trafficking and turnover, 7) tissue-specific roles of lipid droplets in systemic metabolism and disease states, and 8) pathologic role of lipid droplets. Two 2-day poster sessions, as well as the short talks to be selected from abstracts, will allow additional investigators, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, to present their research.
This conference will bring together experts in lipid biochemistry, cell biology, and physiology of organisms ranging from worms and insects to mouse and man to discuss the biology of lipid droplets. The development and utilization of lipid droplets in tissues such as fat cells, liver, muscle and heart, are key processes in disorders such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and the metabolic syndrome. Thus, a better understanding of lipid droplet formation, dynamics, and turnover will provide new information that may be used to impact the development of these disorders.