This application requests funding for the 2013 Gordon Research Conference on CAG Triplet Repeat Disorders and the associated Graduate Research Seminar to be held at the Waterville Valley Resort in Waterville Valley, NH from June 22-28, 2013. This will be the seventh Gordon Research Conference on CAG Triplet Repeat Disorders. The previous five conferences have alternated between American (Mount Holyoke College, 2001, 2005;Waterville Valley NH, 2009, 2013) and European (Il Ciocco, Italy 2003, 2011, and Aussois, France 2007) sites. This is the third year that there will be an associated Graduate Research Seminar. The CAG Triplet Repeat Disorders are a group of largely untreatable inherited neurological disorders which result from an expansion in a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the mutant genes. This group of diseases includes Huntington's disease (HD), spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, Kennedy's disease), spinocerebellar ataxias types 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 17, and dentatorubropallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA). In each case, the CAG repeat lies within the coding region of a gene and results in an abnormally long polyglutamine tract within the mutant protein. Marked similarities in the underlying genetics and neuropathology suggest common pathologic mechanisms among these disorders. Differences in the anatomical distribution of selective neuronal degeneration also make it imperative to unravel the distinguishing factors. Since the identification of the genetic defects, significant insights have been gained into the pathogenesis of these diseases. The field has progressed such that the development of therapeutic interventions is now a reality. To increase the pace of basic research discovery and set in place the contacts and clinical resources necessary to move the basic science into the clinic, a multidisciplinary research effort is required. It is essentialthat collaborative projects between scientists from diverse disciplines ranging from organic chemistry and fruit fly genetics to neurology and human clinical trials be established. The conference on CAG Triplet Repeat Disorders will gather together young investigators and established senior scientists to deliver provoking lectures on the cutting-edge of science. In keeping with the Gordon Research Conference format, there will be generous time allocated for both structured discussions led by peers and for informal discussion and social interactions to facilitate collaboration. Strong emphasis is placed on training and mentoring of young scientists, and time will be devoted to career issues. All participants will be required to present posters. Priority wil be given to women, minorities and persons with disabilities when selecting participants.
The 2013 Gordon Research Conference on CAG Triplet Repeat Disorders and its associated Graduate Research Seminar will bring together researchers and clinicians to discuss cutting-edge information on disease mechanisms and therapeutic interventions for these devastating neurological diseases. In addition, the format of the Gordon Research Conference and the funding sought herein will promote and ensure the attendance and enhanced education of junior scientists, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty.