This R13 application requests funds to support the 2011 Fertilization and Activation of Development Gordon Research Conference. The 2011 meeting will be the 19th such conference, having started 1974, and then meeting biennially since 1977. This Gordon Research Conference on Fertilization and Activation of Development addresses the myriad of biological phenomena - biochemical, biophysical, molecular, cellular, and physiological - that impact the merger of the two gametes and the initiation of the development of a new individual. It is also noteworthy that this will be the first Fertilization and Activation of Development Gordon Research Conference since the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Dr. Robert G. Edwards for the development of in vitro fertilization. This further underscores the significance of this area of biology and biomedical research. The Fertilization and Activation of Development Gordon Research Conference is the only meeting worldwide focusing specifically on the biology of fertilization. The scientific program for the 2011 conference will follow the highly successful traditional Gordon Research Conference format with sessions held in the mornings and evenings, leaving free time in the afternoons and after the evening sessions for informal and friendly interactions. Two poster sessions are scheduled, and the scientific sessions will include talks by speakers on topics including perturbations to normal reproductive processes that affect the gametes (e.g., age, environmental exposures, assisted reproductive technologies), effects of the reproductive tract environment on the gametes, sperm motility and chemotaxis, sperm entry into the egg, egg activation signals and events, and processes mediating successful early embryogenesis. The keynote address will be presented by Gregory S. Kopf, PhD, a previous chair of this Gordon Research Conference who has worked in a range of experimental systems, and in academia and in industry. His talk is entitled, """"""""Where are the Next Horizons for Gamete Biology? - A Blue Print for the Future,"""""""" in which Dr. Kopf will discuss the importance of gamete biology from both historical and future perspectives, and will pose a strategic blue print for its future so that the importance of this field continues to be recognized both by other scientific disciplines and potential new investigators. The overriding goals for this conference are to create a forum for presentation and discussion of cutting-edge research, to foster a vibrant and interactive atmosphere to facilitate scientific interactions, and to provide a supportive environment for young investigators as well as participants from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, including women, underrepresented ethnic/racial minorities, and people with disabilities.
The Gordon Research Conference on Fertilization and Activation of Development will convene in summer 2011, for the 19th time since the first such conference in 1974. This long- running conference brings together scientists from around the world to discuss cutting edge research on the fundamental biology of sperm, eggs, fertilization, and early development. This field is all the more relevant in light of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine being awarded to Dr. Robert G. Edwards for the development of in vitro fertilization, a technique that is used to help the many couples who face struggles with infertility and has led to the birth of ~4 million individuals worldwide.