Funding is requested for partial support of the Gordon Research Conference and associated Gordon Research Symposium on Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology to be held in Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire August 16-22, 2014. This comprehensive meeting will focus on cutting edge research in drug delivery, while simultaneously providing an outstanding forum for junior and senior researchers, students and postdocs from academia and industry to engage each other. The long term goals are to foster collaboration to bring the field to an even higher level, support the growth and development of young researchers in order to increase the worker pipeline in this important topic, and to provide an avenue for translation of cutting edge research to the clinic and patients. Drug delivery is a crucial component of modern day medicine, and the design and optimization of targeted drug carriers is an important area of research. The subtopic of the GRC is "Leveraging Mechanism and Chemical Design for Improved Therapeutic Effect" and the GRS is " Molecular and Cellular." In particular, the conference will focus on the latest delivery systems and include sessions on mechanisms of carrier distribution, cellular uptake and trafficking, and new approaches to addressing hurdles. Session themes include targeted systems for delivery, new approaches to chemical modification, engineering, and conjugation for improved delivery, and transport, fate, and efficacy of drug delivery systems. Applications and exciting opportunities in ophthalmic delivery, cancer, and immunotherapy will be included in specific sessions. Clinical opportunities and translation will be a key focus of the meeting, with industrial participation to give this perspective. Speakers and discussion leaders are recognized leaders in their fields and were chosen in consultation with scientists who represent the breadth of the field of drug delivery. The GRC/GRS program reflects diversity in the population in terms of gender, career stage, location, and underrepresented minority group. In particular, this high quality program will include talks from early career stages (graduate students and postdocs for the GRS and assistant and associate professors and young industrial researchers for the GRC), from persons of underrepresented groups, and females. Diversity will be further boosted through active recruitment and registration of faculty and trainees from underrepresented groups. This proposal seeks funding specifically for this goal. The specific objectives of the Engineering Advances in Drug Targeting GRC/GRS are: 1) To provide a forum for discussion of the latest drug carrier research. 2) To bring together a diverse group of scientists working in different areas of drug delivery design. 3) To identify priority research themes for the coming years by identifying gaps in knowledge and improving conceptual models. 4) To provide a high quality and accessible arena for interaction between trainees and senior researchers. 5) To provide an avenue for young researchers to give talks and posters and to broaden their training for their future careers.
Drug delivery impacts most areas of modern medicine because the implementation of therapeutics is often hindered by issues with low solubility, fast degradation, or off-target activity. The 2014 Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology GRC/GRS focuses on targeted delivery of small molecule drugs, biologics such as proteins and siRNA, molecular imaging probes, enzyme therapies and biological modulators for treatment of cancer, eye diseases, and vaccines/immunotherapy. Thus, the meeting provides a forum for researchers to discuss and invent drug delivery therapies that hold promise to provide a major impact on human health and, in fact, revolutionize modern biomedicine.