This R13 application requests funds to support the 2013 Fertilization and Activation of Development Gordon Research Conference. The 2013 meeting will be the 20th 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. The recent awarding of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Dr. Robert G. Edwards for the development of in vitro fertilization 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 2013 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 Masaru Okabe, PhD, who has pioneered the use of Knock Out technology to analyze fertilization phenotypes. Dr. Okabe will present his work in fertilization and gamete biology from both historical and present perspectives. In addition, his talk will discuss the use of genetic models t understand reproductive processes. The overarching 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. Added to our usual format, this year we proudly associated a Gordon Research Seminar on Fertilization and Activation of Development. This seminar has the objective to attract young investigators in the field of gamete research and fertilization.
This proposed Gordon Research Conference and its accompanying Gordon Research Seminar 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.