Alterations of endothelial cells and the vasculature play a central role in the pathogenesis of a broad spectrum of diseases from cardiovascular disease to diabetes to cancer. Research into the biology of the endothelium has contributed greatly to understanding how endothelial dysfunction underlies human health and disease. The field of endothelial cell biology provides unparalleled opportunities for collaboration, cross discipline interaction among scientists and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research training. This is an application for partial support of the 4th biennial Gordon Research Conference and accompanying Gordon Research Seminar on Endothelial Cell Phenotypes in Health and Disease. The conference will be held July 29 - Aug 3 in Il Ciocco, Tuscany. Funds from this grant will be used exclusively to support registration fees, and travel to the conference for 15 trainees and 6 young investigators. This GRC will bring together leading researchers from a variety of disciplines with shared interest in the endothelium, providing new insights and perspectives that are moving the field. This meeting will highlight the latest discoveries related to endothelial cell biology with an emphasis on heterogeneity of endothelial cell types and translation of basic biology to the clinic. The goal of the meeting is to promote new collaborations and research directions related to endothelial cell biology and to foster the development of junior scientists by offering them the chance to interact with, develop relationships and learn from the leading researchers in the field. This conference has previously fostered new cross- discipline collaborations among scientific groups and has stimulated more rapid advances and discoveries because of synergistic interactions that occurred during and after the meeting. In addition, for the first time in the history of this conference, a pre-conferece Gordon Research Seminar will be organized by junior investigators at the postdoctoral level. Activities during the Seminar will be oriented to junior investigators and are intended to: (1) provide them with the basic background on endothelial cells in development, health, and disease necessary to maximize their understanding of the science which will be discussed in the subsequent conference, (2) receive feedback on their ongoing research projects form peers and experts in the field, and (3) facilitate their interaction with senior members of this scientific community to promote networking between junior and more senior researchers in the field. The Chair and Vice Chair of the 2012 conference will be Susan E. Quaggin and Ananth Karumanchi, both physician-scientists and recognized leaders in endothelial cell biology. The program consists of 9 sessions and 3 keynote addresses. Sessions were developed based on general themes and will cross disciplines, providing insights from basic mechanisms and their applications in the clinic and designed to span traditional boundaries. There are 29 invited speakers including 9 women. Two short talks and 5 best poster awards will be selected from submitted abstracts for presentation and will include a balance of women, young investigators and members of underrepresented groups to participate.
Endothelial cells and the vasculature provide life sustaining nutrients to all tissues in health an are central components of a broad spectrum of diseases including the complications of diabetes, development and progression of cancer and retinal diseases, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, pulmonary, kidney and cardiovascular disease. The endothelial cells that line healthy blood vessels or diseased vasculature share some fundamental traits but exhibit unique properties. Understanding this heterogeneity, is the means to develop specific, targeted therapies to treat a number of devastating diseases and has proved successful in the arena of eye disease and tumors.