With this application, we are requesting support for the 2012 Gordon Research Symposium and Conference on Myelin, to be held in Barga, Italy from April 28 - May 5, 2012. Understanding of the biology of myelinating glia in the PNS and CNS continues to advance rapidly. Since the last Myelin GRC in Ventura, CA in February 2010, major new insights have emerged regarding the differentiation of myelinating glia, their interactions with axons, and their potential for myelin repair. New extrinsic signals that either promote or inhibit myelination have been identified, which may direct efforts at myelin repair. There is a growing appreciation of the extent of ongoing myelination in the adult CNS and of the importance of neuronal activity in regulating the oligodendrocyte genesis and differentiation. Oligodendrocyte pathology is being recognized as an important component in a broad array of CNS diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders, not just multiple sclerosis. Recent studies indicate that the immune system not only contributes to myelin pathology but may also affect remyelination. The program for the 11th Gordon Conference "Myelin: biology and pathobiology" is designed to bring together leading investigators in the field to highlight these and other advances, to foster a vigorous exchange of ideas, and to accelerate research. We have made an effort to limit overlap with speakers from previous meetings and to highlight emerging topics. The vitality of myelin biology research depends on fostering the next generation of investigators, including newly independent scientists. To this end, we have invited a number of young investigators to speak at this meeting, in both regular and short talks. Senior investigators will provide overviews of the field as session chairs and also speak. Appropriate attention will be paid to ensure gender balance among the roster of speakers. To ensure that the latest, most exciting results are presented, some poster presenters will be selected for short talks. To further highlight junior investigators, this year's meeting for the first time will beginwith a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on myelin. We expect more than 50 young investigators, i.e. graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, to attend. The GRS will focus on oligodendrocyte biology and remyelination;it will provide a unique forum for young investigators to meet and interact, present cutting edge research, and develop collaborations. To further encourage the participation of trainees in the field of myelin biology, we will offer stipends for travel and registration as funds permit. All attendees will be expected to contribute an oral or poster presentation. We believe that poster sessions are a key element in fostering productive interactions between scientists with different expertise. In keeping with the goals of the Gordon Research Conference, such interactions will provide impetus and accelerate progress in the field of myelin biology.
The requested funds are to support the 2012 Myelin Gordon Research Conference &Gordon Research Seminar. This is the premier research meeting for investigators studying myelin, an insulating sheath that surrounds, protects, and enhances the function of nerve fibers that conduct electrical impulses in the nervous system. By sharing unpublished research findings, via informal interactions and discussions, and comparing insights, this meeting will accelerate progress in myelin research - and thereby aid progress towards the treatment of diseases like multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathies.