This is a request for funds to support travel/registration expenses for junior investigators involved in research relevant to NIDDK to attend the 2013 FASEB Biology of Cilia and Flagella Summer Conference. The objectives of the conference are to provide a venue for active discussion of recent advances in cilia and flagella biology and to foster collaborations between scientists interested in basic, clinical, and developmental relevance of the cilium. The cilium has undergone a remarkable renaissance from being an arcane, "vestigial" structure to an organelle of great clinical importance. The recent explosion in interest in the cilium is due to a remarkable confluence between basic research in Chlamydomonas and C. elegans and clinical studies in what were thought to be unrelated human disease syndromes. The finding that mutations in proteins needed for cilia/flagella assembly or signaling activities were responsible for human pathology was a remarkable advance fueling the growth of research activity in this field. Defects in ciliary/activiy cause multiple human syndromes called the ciliopathies. These include Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS), Meckel Syndrome, Joubert Syndrome, Alstrom Syndrome (ALS), Senior-Loken Syndrome, Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, Nephronophthisis, Retinitis Pigmentosa, and Polycystic Kidney Diseases (PKD). PKD itself affects 1 in 1,000 individuals ultimately requiring dialysis and transplantation. Notable hallmarks of ciliopathies are the formation of cysts in the kidney as well as in other duct structures of the pancreas and liver. In addition, BBS and ALS patients are morbidly obese and have mental and sensory deficits. Other phenotypes include abnormalities in formation of the heart, neural tube, skin, and bone, along with respiratory problems, hydrocephalus, and sterility. Remarkably, defects in the functions of cilia/flagella affect nearly every tissue and organ system and the impact of ciliary dysfunction on mortality and morbidity and their overall cost to the health care are immense. The striking association between cilia dysfunction and human disorders makes it vital that we understand the mechanisms of assembly and maintenance of this organelle and to dissect properties that endow the cilium with its unique sensory and signaling functions. The impetus behind the rapid and significant advances made in the ciliopathies has been the intriguing dance between basic science studies in model systems and human disease syndromes. This continues to be the central theme of the Biology of Cilia and Flagella meeting. As in previous meetings, junior scientists compose a substantial portion of invited speakers. Additionally, nearly a third of the speaking slots are being selected from submitted abstracts with many being devoted to junior investigators. The oral presentations are complemented by two poster sessions along with ample discretionary time to allow further discussion of research activities and to facilitate collaborative projects. T capitalize on the diversity of attendees, we also have "Interest Group Tables" for lunch and dinner to foster interactions between established and junior investigators.

Public Health Relevance

The objectives of the meeting are to facilitate active discussion of recent advances in the field of cilia/flagella research and to establish collaborations between basic and clinical investigators. The meeting will bring together researchers working on the basic cell, biochemical, and molecular biology of cilia/flagella with clinical scientists working on the role of cilia and flagella in human disorders such as polycystic kidney disease and obesity. The exciting and unexpected advances made in cilia and flagella biology and its association with human disease and developmental defects highlights the critical need for this meeting to further fuel rapid progress and expansion of the field.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Conference (R13)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-N (J3))
Program Officer
Rasooly, Rebekah S
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Federation of Amer Soc for Exper Biology
United States
Zip Code
Sengupta, Piali; Barr, Maureen M (2014) New insights into an old organelle: meeting report on biology of cilia and flagella. Traffic 15:717-26