This application is for partial support of the 15th biennial Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) summer conference on "The Biology and Chemistry of Vision" to be held on June 9-14, 2009 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Since its inception in 1985, this has been one of the premier and most successful meetings focused on photoreceptor biology. The major goal of the 2013 meeting is to highlight the most recent advances in a broad and diverse range of photoreceptor function issues. We would also like to boost the size of the meeting to as close to 160 people (near upper limit) as possible by making every effort to attract new people with diverse backgrounds and interests, especially junior scientists, who will be the lifeblood of the next generation. Indeed, reflecting our desire to keep the meeting fresh and lively, all speakers in the 2013 meeting will be new. There will be nine platform sessions and two poster sessions, with multiple themes. The first, as the core theme from the first (1985) of these meetings on, is the molecular and cellular details of pigments and retinoid turnover in both rods and cones, as well as the latest news about the physiology and biochemistry of the photo transduction mechanism. The second, incorporated into the past few meetings, is the cell biology and development of photoreceptors. The third, entirely new, is about the regulation of photoreceptor function by circadian and metabolic mechanisms. The fourth seeks to expand the meeting beyond photo transduction in vertebrate rods and cones as well as into synaptic transmission. Finally, the fifth again an added topic only in the past few meetings, is about diseases, animal models and therapy. In keeping with the success in past meetings, the 2013 meeting will continue to emphasize close and intense scientific interactions among the participants, especially between senior and junior investigators, with many of the latter also giving platform presentations. The funding requested in this application will in fact be used for supporting the travel expenses and conference fees for the young scientists, including pre- and post-doctoral trainees and junior investigators who have received little or no NIH funding yet for their research programs.
The prospect of therapeutic treatments for a wide array of retinal degenerative diseases resulting in blindness depends on scientific advances in our understanding of the biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, molecular biology and genetics of photoreceptor function. This meeting brings together premier senior and junior investigators of different expertise to discuss the most recent advances in these areas.