This application is a request for funds to support the XVth International Symposium on Retinal Degeneration (RD2012) to be held in Bad G?gging, Bavaria, Germany July 16 - 21, 2012. This meeting is a satellite of the XXth Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research (ISER), to be held in Berlin, Germany July 22 - 27, 2012. The RD2012 meeting will be focused on the role of innate and acquired immunity in the initiation and progression of retinal degenerative diseases. The recent discovery that mutations in genes related to regulation of the immune system, specifically innate immunity, are responsible for 75% of age- related macular degeneration (AMD) demonstrates the important role the immune system plays in this disease. In fact, there is increasing recognition of the active participation of the immune system in many forms of retinal degeneration, either a primarily cause, as appears to be the case in most forms of AMD, or during the degenerative pathological stages that take place in many of the early onset forms of retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
The Specific Aims of the XVth International Symposium on Retinal Degeneration are: 1. To enhance the emerging careers of 20 young investigators (including women and underrepresented minorities) in retinal degeneration research by providing travel awards. 2. To provide a forum for dissemination of the most recent advances in the state of knowledge on the pathophysiologic mechanisms of acquired, inherited, and age-related retinal degenerations, and new therapeutic approaches. 3. To create an environment that will facilitate the exchange of novel ideas among basic and clinician scientists and generate the opportunity for vision scientists of all ethnic groups and social backgrounds to meet and establish research collaborations 4. To organize a program focused on the role of the immune system in retinal degenerations. The requested funds will support the travel of 20 young investigators and 3 invited plenary lecturers, plus some modest administrative expenses.
This meeting brings together the leading researchers, clinician-scientists, and ophthalmologists from around the world to discuss their research in a relaxed and collegial atmosphere. The travel awardees will have an opportunity afforded by no other scientific meeting of its type to meet and interact with these outstanding scientists. There is ample evidence that this conference has had profound effects on the scientific careers of many of the young scientists who attended.