This proposal requests partial support for an international meeting on Synaptic Transmission as part of the Gordon Research Conference series to be held at the Waterville Valley Resort in the mountains of New Hampshire during the week of July 29-August 3, 2012. The broad and long term goal of the conference is to increase our understanding of the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms of synaptic transmission. The synapse serves as the basic signaling unit of the nervous system. Synaptic transmission underlies every aspect of brain function and is relevant to most neurological diseases, as well as mental illness and drug addiction.
The specific aims of this meeting will be to convene 34 speakers that represent critical areas of synaptic transmission research with a total of 150 participants for a five day conference in a relatively isolated setting. The program will have two keynote lectures and eight sessions that broadly address current issues in the nano-scale structure and molecular machinery of synapses, the regulation of synaptic transmission by calcium, trans-synaptic signaling and postsynaptic modifications. A session devoted to ribbon-type synapses in the eye and ear will highlight structural and functional diversity of synapses. Another session is devoted to the synaptic basis of brain disorders and a meeting will conclude with an integrative session on the role of synapses in circuits. In addition, two evening poster sessions will permit all participants to contribute to these topics. The significance of this application is that the Gordon Research Conference on Synaptic Transmission is a critical component of the yearly series of conferences that propel research in the international community of synaptologists. The health relatedness of this application is that the discussions will define the questions that require experimental resolution of a wide range of devastating brain disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, drug addiction, mood disorders, loss of peripheral sensory function and many others, which are collectively emerging as synapto-pathies.
Virtually everything we do as humans beings critically depends on the proper function and regulation of synaptic transmission, the process by which neurons exchange information with each other and their targets. The health relatedness of this application lies in the fact that dysregulation of synaptic transmission is emerging as a major causative factor in many neurological diseases. The discussions of current research in synaptic transmission will define the questions that require experimental resolution in areas that affect a wide range of devastating brain disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, mood disorders, autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation, drug addiction and loss of peripheral sensory function. These discussions will focus researchers identifying the mechanisms of synaptic transmission under normal and disease states, and designing therapies based on these mechanisms.