This application is to request support for the 2014 Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) and Conference (GRC) on Myelin, to be held in Ventura, California from March 22 to March 28, 2014. The 2014 Myelin GRC will reflect the dynamic expansion of knowledge in myelin biology, physiology and pathology by bringing together researchers who are at the cutting edge of myelin biology to discuss the latest and most significant progress in the field. Since the last Myelin GRC in Barga, Italy in April 2012, major new insights have emerged concerning: i) reprogramming progenitor and pluripotential stem cells into myelinating glia;ii) the importance of myelinating glia in axonal support, and iii) the role of myelination in behavior during development and in the adult. There is also increasing appreciation of axonal signals in regulating developmental myelination and remyelination. The scientific program of the 12th GRC "Myelin: Biology, physiology and pathology of myelinating glia" is designed to create the best forum to bring together investigators in the field to emphasize these and other cutting-edge research, to foster a dynamic and vigorous exchange of ideas and to expand research through synergistic interactions among attendees. Emphasis will be on the relationships between myelin development, neonatal and adult disease and regeneration. We will highlight basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of significant clinical relevance. We have focused on including newly independent scientists to promote and support the next generations of myelin investigators. A number of young investigators will give regular and short talks, together with more senior investigators who will additionally serve as session chairs. We have made an effort to maintain appropriate gender balance among the roaster of speakers. The newest and most cutting-edge posters will be selected for short talks. The 2014 GRC will also begin with a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on myelin, which builds on the exceptional success of its first meeting that preceded the 2012 GRC. We expect more than 50 young investigators, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to attend the GRS and the GRC. The focus of this year's GRS is on myelin development and disease, and will provide a unique venue for young investigators to interact, present their most current research and develop collaborations. As funds will permit, we will offer support for travel and registration to trainees in myelin biology. All participants to the GRC will contribute an oral or poster presentation. We will emphasize poster sessions as key elements in promoting and nurturing productive interactions among scientists with different skills and backgrounds. This and all other activities included in the GRC program will contribute to reach the main goals of the conference, i.e. to provide stimulate and accelerate progress in the field of myelin biology, physiology and pathology.
Myelination constitutes a critical hallmark in brain development that underlies acquisition of mature and higher order brain function. In the U.S. alone, myelin disorders affect hundreds of thousands of individuals with a variety of neurological diseases, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other developmental disorders involving the white matter (e.g. leukodystrophies), and peripheral neuropathies. The Gordon Research Conference on Myelin is designed to bring together leading senior and junior basic, translational and clinical investigators in the field to highlight the most recent advances in myeln biology, to stimulate a dynamic and vigorous exchange of ideas and to expand research through synergistic interactions among attendees.