This proposal requests partial support for a meeting on Nucleic Acids as part of the Gordon Research Conference series to be held June 2 -7, 2013, at the University of New England, Biddeford, Maine. The Gordon Research Conference on Nucleic Acids was established more than 50 years ago and since that time, fundamental discoveries in nucleic acids biology have impacted our understanding in areas ranging from nucleic acid chemistry to the role that nucleic acids play in mediating responses in nearly every facet of biology. The broad and long-term goal of this conference is to create a forum for discussion of new ideas by bringing together the world's leading researchers, to foster cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations, to enhance our understanding of the role of nucleic acids in biology, human health and disease.
The specific aims of this meeting are to convene 35 leading experts that cover critical and diverse areas within this field, with a total of 150 participants, for a five-day meeting. The 2013 meeting of the Nucleic Acids GRC will highlight recent advances among eight broadly classified areas of nucleic acids research that encompass DNA and RNA biology, biochemistry and biophysics with a view toward highlighting emerging concepts and technologies. Specific topics include: Genome Integrity;DNA Replication;Chromatin Structure and Dynamics;Co- and Post-transcriptional Regulation;Non-coding RNAs;RNA Processing and Export;Ribosome Function and Regulation;Nucleic Acid Structure and Catalysis. The significance of this application is that this Gordon Research Conference will provide a forum for bringing together and synergizing members of the international research community specializing in diverse areas of nucleic acids research. For example, discoveries over the past decade have resulted in renewed excitement regarding the role of non-coding nucleic acids in cells and their impact on regulating nucleic acid biosynthesis and processing. We will place an emphasis on encouraging young scientists, especially those newly engaged in nucleic acids research, to attend and present at this meeting, with time specifically allotted in te schedule for short talks selected from submitted abstracts. The health relatedness of this application is that the presentations and ensuing discussions will help define important questions related to basic science and the development of novel strategies for utilization of nucleic acids in the treatment of human disease. For example, several nucleic acid therapeutics are based on discoveries which have been presented and discussed at the Nucleic Acids GRC;some of these therapeutics are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of macular degeneration and hepatitis C.
Over the 50 year history of the Gordon Conference on Nucleic Acids, the field of nucleic acids has seen milestone discoveries regarding the biologic significance and therapeutic potential of nucleic acids. As one key example, enzymes involved in DNA transactions in the cell (e.g. topoisomerases) are commonly targeted by chemotherapy regimes for treating cancer. Our goal for the 2013 Nucleic Acids GRC is to continue to select speakers and topics that provide a critical forum for discussion of new ideas in nucleic acid biology that impact human health and disease.