We request partial support for the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on "Diffraction Methods in Structural Biology" to be held at Bates College, Lewiston, Maine from July 27- August 1, 2014.
The specific aim of the conference is to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of recent advances and new ideas in this field, which makes it possible to understand the mechanism of macromolecules and their modes of interaction. Such information is crucial for providing an opportunity to modulate the activity of macromolecules by inhibitors or activators, in a way that is beneficial to human health. The main long-term goal of this GRC is to contribute to the continuous development of methods to extend the range of targets that can be tackled successfully by diffraction methods. This is achieved by the exchange of ideas amongst the leaders of the field in an environment that is highly conductive to the establishment of new collaborations. The meeting also provides useful new tools and ideas to assist participants to make progress in their research projects. The GRS is specifically expected to foster interest in methods development amongst young scientists. The meeting will include presentations from key scientists from all over the world. Session topics on key scientific challenges include an emphasis on the novel and exciting developments on X-ray free electron lasers, as well as in new generation synchrotron X-ray and neutron sources. The most recent developments in crystal preparation, including crystallization in cells and new instruments for growing and handling nano-size crystals will be another focus area. The ever-improving software tools for data and structure analysis has always been a key area in diffraction methods, and recent innovations will be discussed. In addition, we will also focus developments in neutron and X-ray solution scattering experiments and the related software. Finally, two sessions, one plenary and one exclusively for young scientists, emphasize on how the newest methodologies enable to study novel structures, and a session is dedicated to the use of diffraction methods in the pharmaceutical industry. The chair of the 2014 GRC meeting is Anastassis Perrakis (Netherlands Cancer Institute) and vice chair is Edward Snell, who acts as the principal investigator in this proposal (Hauptman-Woodward Institute, Buffalo). The GRS meeting, which will be held for the first time and is chaired by two young postdocs (Jeff Headd from USA and Maike Bublitz from Europe), will emphasize on the work of the participating young scientists, and will be attended by key GRC participants that will act as mentors.
The 2014 Gordon Research Conference and Gordon Research Seminar in Diffraction Methods in Structural Biology seek to present, discuss and advance some of the major methods that scientists use to determine the three-dimensional structure of macromolecules, like proteins, nucleic acids, and their complexes. Understanding the three-dimensional structure of macromolecules and their interactions is crucial to gain chemical insight to the physiological molecular processes that maintain health. In addition, such knowledge also allows to interfere with specific molecular pathways involved in various diseases (like cancer, diabetes, viral infections and others) and to develop new potent, specific and efficient drugs, paving the way towards personalized medicine.