Plants produce an enormously diverse array of natural products and while more than 200,000 plant natural products have been characterized to date, this represents but a fraction of the chemical diversity present in the plant kingdom. Given the multiplicity of chiral centers, elaboration with modifying substituents and the selective advantage of plant compounds in plant: herbivore interactions, it is not surprising that plant natural products have specific targets in human biochemistry, signaling and physiology and why two-thirds of compounds now utilized in bedside applications originate from discoveries related to specialized plant metabolites. Accessing and understanding at a fundamental level these taxonomically restricted plant biochemical pathways is essential for improving production levels and bringing new plant compounds into the drug development pipeline. We are fortunate to be researchers at a time when the combined advances in high throughput sequencing, mass spectrometry based metabolomics and bioinformatics are no longer restricted to a handful of model (reference) plant research organisms that contain only a fraction of the chemical diversity in the plant kingdom and instead are being applied to a wide range of "non-model" plant species which are the evolutionary reservoir of taxonomically restricted, plant chemical and biochemical diversity. To provide a setting for the development of the multidisciplinary collaborations needed to unravel the complexity of plant natural product biosynthesis and to advance basic and applied research in plant metabolic engineering in support of drug development activities, we are requesting support for the 2013 Plant Metabolic Engineering Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and joint Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) to be held July 6-12, 2013 at the Waterville Valley conference center in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In this fifth biennial meeting of this new GRC conference series (initially held in 2005), we expect the number of speakers and participants to approach 160 with representatives from the US and abroad, at all career levels, and representing institutions from academia, industry, private institutes, and federal laboratories. Concerted efforts will continue to encourage the participation of women, persons with disabilities, and scientists from underrepresented groups.
The specific aims of this conference are: 1. To support the participation of global leaders in the different areas of plant biochemistry and metabolic engineering that specifically relate to plant pathways of importance to human health. 2. To foster the cross disciplinary interactions needed at all career levels in this research arena. 3. To support the participation of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, the next generation of plant metabolic engineers, in the Gordon Research Seminar, which provides a unique venue for them to present their research directly to, and network with, their peers?

Public Health Relevance

Plants produce an enormously diverse array of natural products that have specific targets in human biochemistry, signaling and physiology and in this light it one can readily understand why two-thirds of compounds now utilized in bedside applications originate from discoveries related to plant natural products. Accessing and understanding at a fundamental level these taxonomically restricted plant biochemical pathways is essential for improving production levels and bringing new plant compounds into the drug development pipeline. The funding requested for this meeting will help provide a setting for developing the multidisciplinary collaborations needed to advance basic and applied research in plant metabolic engineering in support of drug development activities.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Type
Conference (R13)
Project #
1R13GM106593-01
Application #
8527947
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-TRN-A (CO))
Program Officer
Gerratana, Barbara
Project Start
2013-03-01
Project End
2014-02-28
Budget Start
2013-03-01
Budget End
2014-02-28
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$4,000
Indirect Cost
Name
Gordon Research Conferences
Department
Type
DUNS #
075712877
City
West Kingston
State
RI
Country
United States
Zip Code
02892