The basal ganglia are a richly interconnected set of forebrain, diencephalic and mesencephalic nuclei that control movement and thought. Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, dystonia, Tourette's syndrome and schizophrenia are widely viewed as disorders of the basal ganglia. The growing awareness of their clinical importance and the rapid expansion of experimental tools available for their study have led to an explosion in basal ganglia research in the last decade. In spite of the explosion of work in this area, there is only one meeting devoted to basal ganglia research: the triennial meeting of the International Basal Ganglia Society, which is generally held outside of the U.S. Thus, there is a compelling need for a more frequent, domestic meeting that will provide a forum for mapping the present and future of basal ganglia research. The proposed Gordon Research Conference (GRC) meeting brings together leaders in the field to critically discuss emerging topics in the field and to identify new directions for research. The inaugural Basal Ganglia GRC meeting will be held February 2-7, 2014 in Ventura, California and will recur biennially. The well-tested GRC format creates a unique opportunity for students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty to gain a deeper understanding of fundamental questions facing the basal ganglia field and to build cross-cutting collaborations that could lead to breakthroughs. Enrollment is expected to be 200. The NIH is being asked to help cover the registration costs for 25 early career investigators. These investigators will be chosen from the invited speakers and those with outstanding poster abstracts.
The basal ganglia are a collection of brain regions intimately involved in a range of neurological diseases, including Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, dystonia, Tourette's syndrome and schizophrenia. The growing awareness of their clinical importance and the rapid expansion of experimental tools available for their study have led to an explosion in basal ganglia research in the last decade This conference brings together world leaders in the study of these regions to brainstorm about current research and ways of translating our understanding into new treatments for disease.