This proposal is submitted as a request for partial support for an international meeting on Ion Channels, as part of the Gordon Research Conference series, to be held at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, July 6 - 11, 2014. The long-term goal of this conference is to increase understanding of the fundamental structure, function and physiological roles of ion channels as well as their dysfunction and modulation in human disease.
The specific aim of this meeting will be to convene 40 speakers and discussion leaders that represent critical areas of ion channel research together with 140 participants-at-large for a maximum of 180 participants for a five-day meeting in a relatively secluded setting. For the 2014 meeting we will specifically aim to strengthen the linking of fundamental mechanistic understanding to physiological and disease mechanisms. To encourage this outcome, the sessions have been thematically developed around the 'life'of ion channels, rather than the relatively unconnected topic sessions that have traditionally been employed. The program will consist of nine sessions that address current issues in ion channel mechanisms in human health and disease. In addition, four poster sessions will permit all participants-at-large to present their own work on these topics. The significance of this meeting is as the premier meeting for discussion of fundamental mechanisms among the established meetings that fertilize ideas and research in the international community of ion channel biologists. The small size and intensive discussions engendered by the Ion Channels GRC make it uniquely important for the catalysis of new ideas and directions among the participants. The health-relatedness of this application is that the discussions will define questions that require experimental resolution in a wide variety of areas that affect human development and health.
Ion channels are proteins found in the membranes of every cell of the body. They affect human development, and function of every tissue and organ system, including the central nervous system, sensory organs, the pancreas, cardiac, smooth and skeletal muscle. Disorders in ion channels cause myriad diseases. The Ion Channels GRC is a meeting that brings together international leaders in the field of ion channel research together with trainees and junior researchers in a secluded setting that allows and promotes detailed discussion of cutting edge research that define and answer the questions that require experimental resolution to bring further understanding of these processes and lead to novel therapies for a variety of human diseases.