This proposal requests support for partial funding for the 2014 'Barriers of the Central Nervous System (CNS)'Gordon Research Conference (GRC): Expanding the understanding of CNS barriers in health and disease, and the accompanying Gordon Research Seminar (GRS): The neurovascular unit - partners for life, that will be held at Colby Sawyer College, New Hampshire, on June 14 -15, 2014 (GRS) and June 15 - 20, 2014 (GRC). The overall goal of this international conference is to increase understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying the structure and function of the brain barriers, including the blood-brain barrier (BBB), in health and disease. Major themes of the 2014 conference will include cutting edge research on changes in CNS barrier structure/function occurring with neurogenerative diseases, tumors, strokes, and CNS infections. Special focus will be on expanding knowledge of model systems for barrier function, e.g. zebrafish and drosophila models, and the state and development of new translational knowledge for the clinic. Another important theme will be to highlight novel delivery strategies especially for larger molecules, that can circumvent the barriers for effective CNS treatment.
The specific aim of the Barriers GRC is to bring together international experts as well as young investigators, postdocs, and students from across the world with a broad range of interests in barrier issues, for a five-day conference focussed on facilitating knowledge and discussion of critical, not yet published, cutting- edge findings in the CNS barriers field that could shift research directions and treatment paradigms. The program will include 2 keynote lectures on Keys to Crossing the BBB, and 8 sessions addressing: Structure and Function of the CNS barriers, Delivery Strategies to Improve Treatment of CNS Diseases, Barrier Function in Disease, the Role of Fluids of the CNS, Model Systems of CNS Barriers, Imaging of Brain Function, Transporters and Signalling at the Barriers, and Translational Understanding of Barrier Function and Disease. The Barriers GRC fills a critical niche which otherwise does not exist among other major international and national conferences to bring together barrier scientists from diverse fields and countries for a focussed meeting on barrier issues, broadening the understanding from molecular mechanisms to drug delivery. The preceding 2-day "Barriers" GRS is organized by junior investigators at the postdoctoral level. It is intended to introduce younger scientists (postgraduate students, post-docs, junior faculty) to the relevant methods and issues of the field and to facilitate networking between junior and more senior researchers. This Gordon Conference is a major international conference held on this specific topic. The application has significant relationship to health, in that the presentations and discussions will expand the understanding of the brain barriers in development and progression of CNS diseases, addressing translational issues from models to humans, and will identify novel strategies to improve treatment and prevention of neural disorders.
The Barriers of the CNS Gordon Research Conference and accompanying Research Seminar will help scientists from across the world to better understand the function of the brain barrier systems in health and disease, and, through this knowledge, to develop improved strategies to overcome the barriers for the treatment of human CNS diseases. Specific focus is put on translating knowledge from the lab into the clinic to serve the patient population the best. This conference will allow scientists to challenge established dogmas in focused discussions, explore new areas of future promise or need, and to mentor new scientists in the field.