The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Signal Transduction By Engineered Extracellular Matrices was established in 2000 and has become the premier meeting at the intersection of engineered materials, cellular adhesion and signaling, tissue engineering, and stem cell biology. The 2014 meeting, to be held July 6-11, 2014, at Bentley University in Waltham, MA, adds another important dimension - enhancing complexity of microenvironments and tools to understand cell/matrix interactions. The meeting Chair will be Dr. Jason Burdick and the Vice-Chair will be Dr. Linda Griffith. The main objective of the conference will be to share the newest knowledge from research on: the establishment and regulation of the cellular microenvironment during development and in postnatal tissues;how the cellular microenvironment can be engineered to control cell function;how the fate of cells can be dynamically tracked in vivo;and how such insights can be applied to the development and optimization of human clinical therapies for tissue repair and regeneration. Thus, this meeting necessarily brings together researchers in diverse fields of biology (including stem cell and developmental biology), chemistry, bioimaging and engineering for both the understanding of cellular function and how this can be harnessed for the repair and replacement of tissues lost or damaged due to disease or injury, which serves to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking. Speakers will include well-established leaders in the field as well as young emerging investigators, including those that are invited to present based on abstract submissions. The main conference will also be preceded by a weekend meeting planned by and for pre- doctoral and post-doctoral trainees in this growing interdisciplinary field. This pre-meeting, the Gordon-Kenan Graduate Research Seminar, will provide a forum for these future leaders in the field to present their work in talks and posters, in a collegial and interactive environment that will add outstanding value to their overall GRC experience. Overall, the meeting will provide a platform for the development of long term interdisciplinary interactions, and expose students and young professionals to the latest ideas and opportunities at the confluence of signal transduction, molecular and cellular biology, biomaterials and tissue engineering.
Our understanding of cellular microenvironments and the various cues that control cell behavior is critical towards our understanding of cells in both normal and disease states, as well as towards the development of new therapies to treat patients with damaged or diseased tissues. This meeting will focus on the interface between biology and engineering and gather scientists working at this interface to disseminate state-of-the-art quantitative research that will help move new therapies towards the clinic. Specifically, the meeting will seek to better understand signaling in the microenvironment related to adhesion, migration, mechanotransduction, and differentiation in both natural and synthetic systems.