Sleep Regulation and Function 2014: The inaugural Gordon Research Conference on "Sleep Regulation and Function" will be held in 2014. The focus of this conference is "Emerging Themes and Paradigm Shifts". During the past two decades we have witnessed a paradigm shift in the conceptualization of how sleep is regulated. In contrast to the traditional view that the brain imposes sleep on the organism, this new paradigm views sleep as a homeostatically regulated, use-dependent process that first emerges at the level of simple neuronal networks. At this level, activity and rest alternate both in neural networks and in invertebrates. In more complex organisms, the alternation between sleep and wakefulness is regulated by neural structures and neuromodulatory pathways that orchestrate and synchronize local sleep processes. The hypothesis that sleep is a local-use dependent process is now reflected in research programs ranging from synaptic scaling and plasticity to oscillating networks in vitro. The importance of gliotransmission and neural-glial interactions for normal brain function and for the regulation of sleep is an emerging theme within the field. Newly characterized sleep phenotypes under conditions of impaired gliotransmission suggest that astrocytes do much more than simply provide support for neurons. Within the context of paradigm shifts and emerging themes, a research program has emerged in which investigators from many different backgrounds ask basic questions about the regulation and function of sleep at a local level as well as at the level of the whole organism. Investigators use a wide range of methodologies developed within the disciplines of molecular biology, genetics, systems biology, neuroscience, mathematical modeling and others. Although the aforementioned paradigm shift and emerging theme will be highlights of the conference, their relatedness to other topics of sleep research will be emphasized in sessions on model systems;the genetics of sleep;and molecular-genetic dissection of complex networks. The objectives of the conference are to;bring together scientists from within and outside the sleep research community who will contribute to a highly integrated conference;provide a forum for discussion of the latest research in the field;and contribute to the training of the next generation of sleep researchers.
Sleep Regulation and Function 2014: To advance our understanding of sleep regulation and function, this conference will bring together scientists from within and outside the sleep research community who will contribute to a highly integrated meeting in which sessions are thematically linked. This forum for discussion of the latest research in the field will contribute to the training of the next generation of sleep researchers. y gaining much needed insight into the regulatory mechanisms and neurobiological function(s) of sleep, we hope that the treatment of sleep disorders can progress beyond symptom management.