We propose to hold a new Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on "Infections of the nervous system: pathogenesis and world impact" because neurotropic pathogens contribute significantly to human suffering and disease burden throughout the world, particularly in tropical and developing countries. In comparison to studies on infections of the nervous system in western societies, studies on diseases of such nature in the developing world have been neglected. This is paradoxical as neurotropic pathogens are frequent in the developing world and contribute significantly to human suffering and disease burden. Moreover living with neurological handicap and/or cognitive dysfunction will have a significant impact on socio-economic development. The conference will have an unprecedented broad scope, gathering leading scientists on major diseases caused by these pathogens. Our goals are to advance knowledge in the field and promote exchanges between medical research centers in resource-rich and -poor regions. This new series of GRC will bring together renowned clinicians and scientists, who investigate clinical disease manifestations and the molecular mechanisms underlying worldwide infections of the nervous system in humans. The establishment of a strong community of top-ranked scientists working on infections of the nervous system will also increase the awareness of world-leading research institutions on the impact and challenges in this field and foster new research and training programs in that topic. The conference will open with keynote lectures followed by scientific sessions that will address in detail how ways of invading the nervous system vary between pathogens;what are the specific neural target cells and their receptors for neurotropic pathogens;what are the characteristics of the immune and neural responses to invading pathogens;how clinical and pathogenesis studies can elucidate the nature of the nervous system damage caused by different pathogens;what are the new prospects for therapies and diagnostic in some of the diseases covered. The format of GRC (community- based, small audience, focus on unpublished material) is ideal to create a multidisciplinary dialogue that will involve both clinicians and scientists. In this context, another important objective of the conference will be t attract from all continents an audience of young researchers/trainees in the field, particularly those where these diseases are prevalent, who will present posters and/or short oral presentations, giving them ample time to discuss their work with the experts. It is, therefore, crucial that this conference can count on and support the presence of the best scientists in the field. We believe that this conference will advance the mission of NINDS by expanding the knowledge on clinical aspects and pathogenesis of these devastating neurological diseases and promoting progress in their prevention, diagnostic and therapies. Bruzzone GRC 2013 Infections of the nervous system .
Neurotropic infectious agents have a profound impact on neural cell function causing a fatal outcome or debilitating, prolonged neurological impairment, thus seriously impairing socio-economic progress in resource- poor regions of the world where such diseases are particularly prevalent. With increasing manifestations of climate changes affecting our planet, pathogens spread by insect vectors may change in their reproductive cycle and move to other regions of the world. This new Gordon Research Conference on infections of the nervous system will address the current gaps in knowledge and will establish an international community of world-leading sciences that will set the agenda for confronting this group of diseases in the coming years.