The regenerative medicine field has expanded tremendously over the last decade. With new discoveries occurring almost weekly, particularly in the area of stem cell research, forums for scientists, engineers, and clinicians to interact and learn from one another are essential to move innovative research into clinical applications. The Hilton Head Workshop for Regenerative medicine is an annual conference series hosted by Georgia Tech's Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience that began in 1997. The conference focuses on the most current research discoveries and attracts both a national and international audience. The conference goals are to promote discussion, advance knowledge, and foster the formation of collaborative relationships between academic researchers, clinicians, and industry leaders to advance regenerative medicine technologies towards clinical applications. The 2012 Hilton Head Workshop is scheduled for March 14-17, 2012 at The Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, SC. For the first time, the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience along with the Georgia Tech Emory Center for Regenerative Medicine is partnering with the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine to organize and host the conference for the purpose of gaining more national and international attention for the conference. The conference theme is bridging science and medicine and will focus on progress and challenges with regenerative medicine in clinical applications. Session topics will highlight cardiovascular, urologic, orthopedic, and neural applications, as well as progress and innovations in stem cell technologies, engineered matrices, and immunology engineering. The Hilton Head Workshop is unique in that it is kept small (less than 230 participants) to maximize interactions and networking so that true collaborations can emerge. The conference provides professional development and networking opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral trainees that include a poster presentation, career development panel discussion and luncheon, and presentation opportunities for outstanding poster abstracts. The purpose of this proposal is to provide funding support for 18 graduate students, post-doctoral trainees and young investigators to attend the conference and to fund the student/trainee career development program. The conference will be rigorously publicized to attract women and underrepresented minorities, with particular focus on historically black universities and medical schools, as well as those with disabilities.
Regenerative medicine offers the future promise of life changing therapies for treating illness and disease. This area of medicine should be afforded to everyone at a global scale. For this reason, it is critical to have a diverse pool of highly traine researchers and medical personnel involved in this field of study. The proposed support for graduate and postdoctoral trainees at the 2012 Hilton Head Workshop for Regenerative Medicine will provide a unique opportunity for trainees and young investigators to interact and connect with leaders in the field and to aid in fostering the next generation of biomedical leaders working as researchers, clinicians, and teachers.