This proposal requests partial support for an international meeting on Inhibition in the CNS as part of the Gordon Research Conference series to be held in Waterville, Maine, U.S.A. July 24-29, 2011. The broad and long-term goal of the Conference is to increase our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of inhibitory synaptic transmission, the role of interneurons in regulating excitability and network activity. A significant emphasis is placed on interneuron diversity and how neuronal stem cells differentiate into interneurons, as well as the mechanisms by which drugs of abuse, including opiates and alcohol, influence inhibition in the CNS.
The specific aims of this meeting will be to convene 40 speakers that represent critical areas of inhibition research with a total of ~150 participants for a five day conference in a relatively isolated setting. The program will have a keynote address and eight sessions that broadly address current issues in the biology of interneurons. Sessions are typically devoted to the anatomy and physiology of a special subset of neurons in the brain containing the inhibitory transmitter GABA, the function and regulation of inhibitory synapses, and the role these specific interneurons play in regulating and synchronizing the activity of neuronal networks, as well as the cell biology of the receptors gated by the inhibitory neurotransmitters GABA and glycine, and a session devoted to the development of interneurons from stem cells. Speakers will be diverse, with multiple nations featured, and younger investigators and women well represented. In addition, two evening poster sessions will permit all of the participants to interact and contribute to these topics. The significance of this application is that the Gordon Research conference on Inhibition in the CNS is a critical component of the yearly series of conferences that propel research in the international community of inhibition researchers. The health relatedness of this application is that the discussions at this meeting will define the questions that require experimental resolution in areas that affect human development, drug abuse liability and cognitive function.
The Gordon Conference on Inhibition in the CNS is a scientific meeting that is held on the campus of Colby College in Maine. 150 participants from around the world will gather for a five-day meeting, sleeping in dormitories and eating college dorm food, while spending time discussing their scientific work in an isolated setting that promotes conversations among experts who might not otherwise meet. About 40 lectures will be given, and junior scientists are encouraged to attend and to lead the discussion of the work presented. This year's meeting will highlight ground-breaking areas of brain science such as the modeling of human brain wave activity by computer simulations, the actions of drugs such as alcohol and sleeping pills on the brain, and the applications of stem cells for the treatment of human brain disorders. Many new and interesting scientific developments begin as informal conversations between scientists from different parts of the world, who have the unique opportunity at these small meetings to discuss their experiments together in a secure and protected environment that allows for imaginative and creative thought, far away from their university teaching and fund- raising responsibilities.