The 2014 Gordon Research Conference on Membrane Transport Proteins will bring together approximately 150 investigators from diverse scientific disciplines, including structural and computational biology, genetics and medicine, cell biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and bioengineering, to focus on the newest developments and challenges in the field relating to "Structure, Function, Physiology and Targets in Disease". The GRC has a unique tradition of bringing together top notch established and junior investigators whose fields do not normally intersect, in a collegial and informal setting that maximizes exchange of unpublished and cutting edge science. Many interdisciplinary and inter-continental collaborations have stemmed from these meetings. The conference, to be held for the 9th time on July 13-18, 2014 at Mount Snow Resort, West Dover (VT), has a highly interactive format with ample time for poster viewing, informal gatherings at meals and social excursions that foster a collaborative and stimulating environment. A major goal of this conference will be to integrate exciting new technological advances with a wealth of emerging functional information for a deep, mechanistic understanding of human pathologies including neurological disorders ranging from Autism to Wilson Disease. The conference, to be chaired by Professors Poul Nissen (Aarhus University, Denmark) and Rajini Rao (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore), will cover the spectrum of membrane transporters, from anion channels to cation/proton exchangers, transient receptor type channels, ion pumps, neurotransmitter transporters and lipid flippases and will incorporate molecular structure, physiology and disease relevance into each session. Included in the highlights will be the role of disease associated genetic variants in transporters, translational research using clinical studies or transgenic anima models, optogenetics and photoswitchable ligands controlling membrane transporters, and new atomic structures of important transporter families both from X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy. Each session will include both invited speakers as well as junior investigators selected from the abstracts. An opening session on hot topics will feature the most recent findings and a final keynote session will highlight the newest developments of optogenetics that at the same time summarizes the conference and the field and points to the future. A concerted effort will be made to be inclusive of women, minorities and persons with disabilities. To support the international aspect of the conference it has unanimously been voted earlier to alternate between European and U.S. venues. This generates an ideal platform for new interactions and collaborations at an international level as well as the exploration of possibilities for both mentos and trainees.
Membrane transporters are central to all life processes as they move ions, nutrients, neurotransmitters and therapeutic drugs in and out of cells and across various compartments within a cell. They are targets for blockbuster drugs and implicated in many diseases ranging from autism, depression, cancer, heart and kidney disease, migraine and rapid onset dystonia with parkinsonism. By bringing together an international pool of top-notch researchers from different fields, this GRC on Membrane Transporters will lead to a better understanding and treatment of human disease.