The TGF-? superfamily encompasses a large number of secreted cytokines that originated at the onset of organized multi-cellular life in evolution. These cell-to-cell signaling proteins regulate an extensive number of developmental, physiological and homeostatic processes. A great deal of recent work has gone into understanding the molecular mechanisms of TGF-?? signaling and the way in which aberrations in this signaling pathway lead to developmental abnormalities and human disease pathologies. There are three primary objectives of this conference. The first is to offer a venue for integratin biochemical knowledge about signal transduction mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level, with systems approaches that aim to describe how these factors coordinate developmental processes and contribute to various human disease states, including, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders and musculoskeletal and nervous system pathologies. We will accomplish this goal through a diverse and interactive program of talks and poster sessions, organized by theme, and all held in an intimate setting with a limited number of participants. We have invited a wide spectrum of specialists that cover all the key and emerging aspects of the diverse biological roles of TGF-?? family members. A second goal for this conference is to help younger scientists, minorities and women integrate to this ever-increasing field and stimulate them to lead the way for the future steps of innovation and discovery. Intimately intertwined is also the third objective of creating the informal and creative forum that continuously seeds the fertile soil for building national and international collaborations, especially between experts working on complementary themes, for example biochemists with embryologists and stem cell biologists with clinically oriented researchers. This productive environment has in the past, and will even further now, contributed to the generation of more systemic approaches to the signaling networks, their biological underpinnings and the means to exploit them diagnostically and in the development of therapy. Our collective experience that has been built over six previous conferences with the same goals provides us with the strong confidence that our objectives will be met and will pave the way to the propagation of this successful field.
TGF-? family members are secreted proteins that control numerous cellular responses with critical roles in development and tissue homeostasis. Perturbation in these signaling pathways may lead to cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases to name a few. This conference will cover new and emerging molecular mechanisms by which TGF-? family members control cell proliferation and differentiation, and how this knowledge may come to be applied in the clinic.