This proposal is to provide support for junior investigators, post-doctoral fellows and students to attend the 11th Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Neurotrophic Factors at Salve Regina University, Newport RI from June 2-7, 2013. The meeting will be attended by approximately 150 participants and will feature work on diverse neurotrophic factors, their functions and mechanisms of action. Neurotrophic Factors are extracellular proteins that act on developing or mature neurons to promote cell survival, neural differentiation or synaptic functioning. Defects in neurotrophic factor activities are linke to a broad variety of neuro-psychiatric disorders including autism and cognitive disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and addictive behaviors. The objectives of this grant are to provide support for a meeting that will: 1. Foster interactions amongst scientists who use a wide variety of approaches to understand the biology of neurotrophic factors in health and in disease. Researchers in this field include cell and molecular biologists, developmental neurobiologists, electrophysiologists and medical scientists. This conference provides a unique forum for investigators using diverse approaches to come together and hear about the most recent advances and methodologies, and for young investigators to learn about the important questions that need to be addressed. 2. Achieve a sense of community among scientists studying neurotrophic factors: The field of neurotrophic factors covers the globe, and multiple aspects of neuroscience. This meeting will feature international scientists in the field, and will highlight many of the accomplished scientists in the field who are women or members of under-represented minorities, and will build a sense of community and cooperation among this group. 3. Provide opportunities for young researchers to present their work and to interact with diverse researchers studying neurotrophic factors: This conference will encourage communication of ideas at the frontiers of science, including a session of "hot topics", short talks presented predominantly by students and post-docs. Funds from NIH will be used to enable these young investigators to attend the meeting, and present novel findings in an exciting and collaborative setting.
This GRC conference will bring together investigators to address the functions and mechanisms of action of neurotrophic factors. Advances in our understanding of neurotrophic factors are likely to bring new drugs that can treat neurodegenerative diseases, drug addiction and chronic pain conditions. Funds for this conference will provide important opportunities for attracting new researchers to the field, and for building collaborations among diverse groups of scientists.