Vasculata is a unique meeting, an intense, annual "boot camp" introduction to the rapidly changing field of cardiovascular biology. Each year's Vasculata shares a common curriculum as well as a focus on a specific breaking edge topic relevant to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Costs for students are minimized by a combination of state of the art techniques including webinar software and our development of a self-teaching tutorial that facilitates student interactions with an outstanding on site faculty. That site rotates each year to maximize involvement at key institutions at different sites around the US with a critical mass of cardiovascular scientists. For the last four years, a special effort at addressing URM students has been made by pairing with a local minority institution. This year's focus is on cardiovascular stem cell biology. Vasculata 2014 will be held in Seattle, Washington from July 14 to July 17, 2014 with the University of Washington serving as the lead host institution and under the umbrella of NAVBO, the North American Vascular Biology Organization. The goal is to inspire and attract students, fellows, and young investigators from a variety of disciplines to enter the rapidly changing field of cardiovascular biology. To accomplish this goal in 2014, the last session of Vasculata 2014 will be conjoint with the annual meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology. The common curriculum of all Vasculatas includes developmental biology of the heart and vessels, the major cardiovascular diseases, endothelial barrier function, role of the endothelium in inflammation and immunology, interactions with coagulation and thrombosis, smooth muscle biology, and genetic basis of diseases of heart and vessels. Vasculata 2014 will build on this with a focus on the use of stem cells including basic ideas about the origins of myocardial cells and developmental interactions with smooth muscle and endocardium. Workshops will provide the trainees with first-hand experience with stem cell derived myocardium and with the tools used to investigate function after a graft. We will also expand on the system wide impact of heart and vascular diseases by having specific session devoted to the biology of the heart, renal and CNS vasculature. We anticipate a very good turnout for the Vasculata 2014 conference. Recent sessions at UCSD and Vanderbilt had attendances of about 80-100. We expect to as well or better in 2014 because Vasculata will be jointly promoted by NAVBO and the Society for Developmental Biology. In addition, because the UW does not have a nearby URM school, we have partnered with the STEMPREP Project based at Southern Methodist University. STEMPREP is an extremely successful program that recruits young students from URM groups and mentors them to enter careers specifically in research.
Vasculata serves as a unique national resource to the scientific community supported by the NHLBI, which the public health and clinical impact of diseases such as hypertension, stroke and coronary heart disease is not news. Despite the obvious and long felt need, the scientific discipline of cardiovascular biology is a very young field that has evolved too rapidly to provide text book or even have critical masses of faculty at more than few research centers. This is especially true of this year's focus since it is already obvious that the ability to build new cardiovascular tissues is going to be a major advance in medical care. (End of Abstract)