The Gatlinburg Conference on Research in ID/DD is an annual scientific meeting designed to advance translational biobehavioral research on intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The meeting provides a forum for investigators at all career stages to present and discuss cutting-edge biobehavioral research and theory. The conference focuses on the causes, consequences, and treatments for specific disorders, as well as on the processes underlying IDD more generally. Each year's conference has a scientific theme that is explored through plenary lectures, but the theme does not constrain the symposia or poster sessions, which span a broad range of topics, from basic to translational and applied science. The themes are designed to expose participants to theoretical frameworks, methods, and findings from other disciplines and fields of study, including from basic and translational neuroscience, as well as fields focused on cultural influences on development and IDD. Thus, the specific aims of the Gatlinburg Conference are: (1) Promote the exchange of scientific findings, theoretical perspectives, and methodological innovations and thereby accelerate, and encourage innovation in, translational research on IDD. (2) Facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary research on IDD. (3) Ensure that biobehavioral scientists are exposed to relevant translational and basic science findings, methods, and perspectives from neurobiology and medicine, thereby enriching their research and further supporting interdisciplinarity. (4) Serve as an interdisciplinary training and career development resource for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early career faculty. (5) Increase the diversity of IDD research by supporting the development of early career scientists from under-represented groups. Although these aims are largely unchanged from the previously funded application, we propose several innovations in the conference in present application to ensure increased success in achieving those aims.
The field of IDD is increasingly interdisciplinary, biobehavioral, and translational. The Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities provides a unique venue at which the latest biobehavioral research findings, methods, and theoretical frameworks are presented and discussed; new interdisciplinary collaborations relevant to IDD are initiated; the careers of a diverse pool of researchers interested in IDD are launched and supported; and relevant constructs and findings from basic science disciplines are highlighted. Ultimately, the conference shapes the biobehavioral scientific agenda of the IDD field and accelerates efforts to translate research results into innovative programs of treatment and prevention that will improve the lives of people with IDD and their families.