This application is for partial support of the fifth Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Mechanisms in Lymphatic Function and Disease to be held in Ventura Beach Marriott in Ventura, California, between March 4-9, 2012. This conference has been held every two years since 2002 and is organized by the Gordon Research Conferences, an organization internationally known for the high quality, cutting edge nature of its meetings. Although a comparatively young GRC conference, attendance at the meeting has grown steadily since its inception over ten years ago. While historically neglected, research in the topics of lymphatic biology have experienced a dramatic growth within the last 10 years, in large part because the identification of critical regulators of lymphatic growth and the generation of valuable animal models. Until recently, the functional role of the lymphatic vascular system has been exclusively associated with lipid absorption, fluid homeostasis, and immune surveillance and lymphatic vessel dysfunction had been associated with symptomatic pathologic conditions such as lymphedema. Work in the last few years had led to a better understanding of the functional roles of this vascular system in health and disease. Furthermore, recent work has also unraveled additional functional roles of the lymphatic vasculature in fat metabolism, obesity, inflammation, and the regulation of salt storage in hypertension. Therefore, there is an unprecedented need for lymphatic biologists, cancer researchers, physiologists, biomedical engineers and physicians to have a forum in which to conduct a broad dialogue surrounding scientific developments in this field and to determine the direction of future basic and clinically- oriented investigative efforts. Lines of investigation tht have experienced a recent upsurge in next generation lymphatic investigation include, but are not limited to genetics, biochemistry and physiology, cellular and molecular biology, immunology, cancer research, cardiovascular medicine, bioengineering, in vivo imaging and pharmacology. As an example, there are 1517 postings on lymphangiogenesis on PubMed, with a third of those published in the last couple of years. This has lead to new insights into diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammation and lymphedema (both congenital and surgery-induced). The new lymphatic field finds applications in broad areas of pathology, inflammation, cardiovascular and tumor biology with new efforts for clinical translation. This meeting will bring together the leading basic and clinically oriented experts in the field of lymphatic biology and is expected to provide new insights into the mechanisms of disease and to promote the development of new therapeutic strategies.
This proposed Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Mechanisms in Lymphatic Function and Disease is intended to bring together a diverse group of scientists and clinicians studying different aspects of normal and pathological lymphatic biology using different experimental models. The specific goals of this conference are to bring together a diverse group of scientists and clinicians interested in studying various aspects of lymphangiogenesis in basic, clinical and translational settings. An increased understanding of normal lymphatic development should allow us to address pathological lymphatic conditions that lead to inflammation, autoimmunity, cancer, and obesity and to improve the clinical treatment of primary and secondary forms of lymphoedema and provide new insights into the mechanisms of disease.