Vision plays a huge role in the quality of life, and the ocular surface is instrumental in the appropriate refraction and passage of light for normal vision. The cornea is the """"""""window to the eye"""""""" and thus as the outermost barrier is uniquely transparent, avascular, and provides 75% of the refractive power of the eye. Unlike other barrier tissues of the body, the cornea and supporting adnexa (eyelids, conjunctiva, meibomian glands, lacrimal glands) have evolved distinctive mechanisms to maintain transparency and refraction. These functional demands are met by the tears, appropriate tissue hydration, biomechanical strength, barrier properties, immune modulation and restricted angiogenesis. Disease, injury, surgery, contact lens wear and infections may all adversely affect the delicate balance required to maintain corneal functions, leading to haze, opacification and blindness. Corneal and anterior eye research has grown tremendously in recent years, and certain areas have become remarkably sophisticated. The intent of this Gordon Research Conference is to provide a setting for researchers, clinicians, clinical fellows, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to meet and push forward the frontiers of cornea research. This Gordon Research Conference, the first in this area, will provide a unique opportunity to bring together groups exploring corneal function in the context of broader ocular tissues, using cell and molecular biology, imaging, biomechanics, transgenic animal models, gene delivery, microRNA, proteomics, genomics and regenerative stem cell biology. This is a good time to bring these different groups together to compare notes, to collaborate and gain new insights. This biennial conference will also provide a much needed continuity for students and trainees to gradually develop their skill and gain confidence as they strive to become independent investigators. The sessions will be organized to cover recent advances in cornea and ocular surface research, genetic genomic and proteomic approaches, gene regulation by microRNA, barrier functions and secretion, infections, immune response, surgery, biomimetics, stem cell biology and its applications.
The aim of this proposal is to secure partial funding for the conference to cover registration fees and/or travel costs for participants.
This biennial Gordon Research Conference on the Biology and pathobiology of the cornea will make a huge impact on the field by providing a well-known conference setting for investigators with diverse expertise and at different career stages to meet and push the frontiers of cornea research.