This R13 application is a request for funds to provide partial support the biennial International Scientific and Professional Conference on Williams syndrome (WS), a well-characterized neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a chromosome microdeletion on 7q11.32 of several million base pairs. The impact of WS is far greater than its prevalence of ~1/7500 persons because it serves as a model disorder for drawing medical, cognitive and behavioral genotype-phenotype correlations. The parent organization, the Williams Syndrome Association (WSA), recognized more than 25 years ago that encouraging research would ultimately benefit their children with WS. To this end, they have sponsored a dozen small scientific/professional conferences since 1988. For several reasons, prime among which are recent advances in understanding and treating other genetically-based neurodevelopmental disorders, now is the right time for this conference to grow beyond what the parent group can sustain. The requested R13 funds will be used to expand the 2012, 2014, and 2016 WS International Scientific and Professional conferences beyond its existing foundation (which will continue to be supported with funds from the WSA). Specifically, these funds will enhance participation from: -"keynote" researchers leading scientific efforts in other disorders whose approaches and discoveries could inform WS;-trainees such as students and post-doctoral fellows, as well as promising young investigators;and -students, scientists, care providers, and research professionals who represent and serve minority communities or who have disabilities. The central goal of the meeting is to promote research and care pertaining to WS;accordingly, the meeting will be structured to achieve this goal by promoting cross-talk, exchange of ideas, and potential collaborations amongst all participants. R13 funds will allow a far greater range and diversity of meetings attendees. This will have both short term benefits (jump-starting research and possible therapeutic strategies) and also long term benefits (sustaining, even expanding, intellectual inquiry at the highest level).
This application is for funds to provide partial support for a biennial international scientific and professional conference on Williams syndrome. The conference brings together a wide range of scientists from multiple disciplines and professional (medicine, psychology, education) to present and discuss the newest research on this genetically-based neurodevelopmental disorder. The funding will support expanding participation in the conferences from students, junior investigators, minority or disabled scientists and professionals and for keynote speakers from outside the WS research community.