The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Visual System Development is a biennial meeting that brings together investigators studying the development, disease, and evolution of the visual system. Over the years, this meeting has provided an exciting and unique forum in which to explore the similarities-and differences- underlying visual system development and function across a range of species. The goal of this GRC is to foster an appreciation of common principles that mediate the construction and function of the visual system in diverse organisms and to share the latest exciting new ideas and concepts. By including sessions that highlight emerging topics with translational impact, such as "Stem Cells and Progenitors" and "Retinal Development and Disease", the meeting will also expand its scope and stimulate cross talk between developmental biologists and investigators focused on translational aspects of vision science. The format of the GRC meetings provides a highly interactive and stimulating venue for cross-fertilization of ideas and for developing new collaborations. The GRC meetings are forums for high-caliber scientists to present unpublished work and engage in intense discussion of ideas and findings at the forefront of science. The Visual System Development GRC has established a reputation as the leading conference in its field. The scientists who share a common interest in the development of the visual system, but who work on diverse model systems from flies to mammals, have few other opportunities to interact scientifically in such a focused setting. The current proposal requests funds to help defray conference fees for attendees. The program of the Visual System Development GRC will feature scientists at the cutting edge of the field, with careful attention to gender and ethnic diversity and to the inclusion of scientists at various stages of their careers.
Diseases that affect the eye and vision are a serious public health problem: nearly 2 million Americans, and 160 million people world-wide, are considered blind and this number is increasing. This meeting seeks to bring basic researchers from a range of disciplines together with clinicians to promote understanding of development and disease in the visual system and to develop new approaches to treating loss of vision.