This proposal requests funds to support the Metals in Biology Gordon Research Conference (MIB GRC) and the associated Graduate Research Seminar in Bioinorganic Chemistry (GRS BIC) in Jan-Feb, 2014. Metals play central roles in biological systems, in processes ranging from glycolysis to DNA replication and repair to respiration. Alterations in metalloproteins or in metal ion homeostasis are known to be associated with disease states such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and thus understanding the chemistry of metals in biology is critical to human health. The MIB GRC is arguably the most important conference in the field of bioinorganic chemistry, and brings together inorganic chemists, biochemists, physical chemists, molecular biologists, and others in a uniquely interactive environment to talk to and learn from each other. The MIB GRC is one of the oldest Gordon Conferences, and has been meeting since 1962. The GRS was established in 1996 in order to provide a forum for graduate students and postdocs to participate in a meeting that overlaps with the "parent" MIB GRC (for one evening), yet also runs independently. This organizational structure ensures that the students and postdocs interact with leading researchers while developing their own sense of community, providing a means for future leaders of the field to emerge. The two and a half day GRS is organized by young investigators with the support of leading scientists from the associated GRC. Both meetings focus on addressing the roles of metals in biological systems at a molecular level;addressing such complex questions at a high level of detail requires contributions from, and collaborations between, scientists from diverse subdisciplines. The unique Gordon Research Conference format provides the opportunity to effectively disseminate knowledge of discoveries at the forefront of research in the field, fosters collaborations, and improves the cohesiveness of the field, notwithstanding its highly multidisciplinary nature.
Metal ions are ubiquitous in biological systems, are associated with more than one-third of all proteins, and play central roles in the most fundamental biological processes, including respiration, photosynthesis, and nucleic acid processing. Numerous disease states are also associated with alterations in metalloproteins, or a loss of regulation of appropriate metal concentrations in tissues. The focus of the meeting for which support is requested is to understand the roles and interactions of metals in biological systems.