Lipid droplet accumulation is the hallmark of metabolic diseases, including obesity, atherosclerosis and type II diabetes. The increasing prevalence these diseases has prompted an explosion of research on the biology and metabolism of neutral lipids which are stored within lipid droplets (LD) inside 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 disorder. 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. Since the inauguration of this conference in 2007, the lipid droplet field has grown dramatically, which is reflected in the enthusiasm for this conference. Progress in this area of research is also apparent in the now more than 7000 publications in PubMed with a search term "lipid droplets", with more than 1000 hits since beginning of 2012. The rapid growth of the field is attracting particularly young scientists at the start of their career. The conference has a strong tradition providing a forum for young scientists, providing an opportunity to present data and engage in scientific discussion across seniority levels. As the study of lipid droplets is still an emerging field, scientists from a number of backgrounds and scientific disciplines continue to make important contributions. Due to their different background, many researchers have not previously attended the same conferences. Based on our experience, we are confident that 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 13-18, 2014 at the Vermont Academy Performing Arts Center in Saxtons River, VT. The format will include an opening night Keynote Address, eight sessions of talks with invited speakers, and in each session additional short talks to be selected from submitted abstracts. The session topics include: 1) Composition and Organization of Lipid Droplets;2) Triglyceride Synthesis and Storage in Lipid Droplets 3) Cell Biology of Lipid Droplets, 4) Lipid Droplets in Model Systems, 5) Cholesterol Ester Synthesis and Storage, 6) Lipid Droplet Turnover, 7) Physiological Consequences of Lipid Droplet Storage, and 8) Genetics of Lipid Droplets and Associated Diseases. 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. In addition, two "Meet the experts" sessions will further increase the number of opportunities for junior researchers to connect to established PIs in this field.
Lipid droplets in tissues such as fat cells, liver, muscle and heart, are a hallmark of common disorders, including 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 develop therapeutic approaches to treat these diseases. This conference will bring together scientists at different career stages and with different scientific backgrounds to discuss the biology of lipid droplets.