One of the goals of modern biomedical research is to promote the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues and organs. This includes the engineering or grafting of replacement tissues from stem cells and the enhancement of endogenous repair processes. In order to achieve this goal we need a detailed understanding of how normal organs are assembled during embryonic development. In addition, we need to know more about changes in damaged tissues and the consequences of abnormal development. Recent advances in stem cell biology are impressive, and have strengthened our collective optimism that gene and stem cell-based therapies may eventually become realistic approaches in the treatment of many diseases, particularly those that have a significant pathological effect on specific organs. Central to that goal is a clear understanding of the genes and mechanisms controlling vertebrate organogenesis in health and disease, and a meeting focusing on those topics is long due. A number of meetings and symposia dealing with developmental biology are held around the world every year. However, none of those focus exclusively on vertebrate organogenesis, nor do they combine speakers covering both normal development and pathological changes associated with organ damage and disease. Meetings sponsored by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have a history of being the forum where new discoveries, concepts, and scientific connections are presented. The proposed inaugural conference will set the standards to continue with this meeting in a two years basis. The organizers expect this conference to become the reference meeting "to attend" by those working in related topics. This conference aims to provide a forum in which basic and disease-oriented researchers working in various animal models in diverse aspects of organ development can present their latest findings as well as an overview of the field in normal and pathological conditions. In this setting, the conference will provide the opportunity for an important exchange of information and ideas among basic scientists, clinical fellows, and scientists working in biotech companies, and ideally, help to establish fruitful collaborations. Six major topics have been chosen for detailed discussion, each including basic and disease-oriented presentations, as a reflection of the most advanced and interesting areas of study in development &disease. These topics are all ultimately united by the use of approaches that pursue answers to key biological questions. A clear demonstration of the interest on this type of conference is the fact that the organizers have already managed to confirm the participation of an outstanding list of speakers that includes most of the leaders on each of the organs/tissues to be discussed at this conference.
The specific goals of this conference are to bring together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians, and biotech companies interested in studying various molecular, cellular and genetic aspects of vertebrate organogenesis in basic, clinical and translational settings. This meeting is intended to provide a unique format for the exchange of ideas and information, to discuss the latest research findings and technical advances, and to facilitate the intellectual unification of research on vertebrate organogenesis and related disease states in diverse systems