This proposal requests support for partial funding of the 2018 ?Barriers of the Central Nervous System (CNS)? GRC and GRS that will be held at Colby Sawyer College, New Hampshire, on June 16-17, 2018 (GRS) and June 17-22, 2018 (GRC). The overall goal of this international conference is to improve understanding of the highly complex cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating the function of the endothelial (e.g. blood-brain barrier (BBB)) and epithelial (e.g. blood-CSF barrier (BCSFB)) brain barriers in development, maintenance and disease. The 2018 meetings will achieve this goal by covering major aspects of CNS barrier sciences and by making a special effort to include novel research methodology such as advanced intravital microscopy, mathematical modelling, bioinformatics and bioengineering; which will allow participants to obtain insights in brain barrier function from novel angles. This interdisciplinary knowledge exchange will be fostered by invited talks and daily poster presentations. The meeting will start with a keynote session on the role of the brain barriers in regulating CNS immune privilege and conclude with a trendsetting keynote session on chip technology for bioengineering the brain barriers. An additional 7 sessions will address: i) the role of brain barriers in CNS fluid flow, ii) the brain barriers in development and homeostasis, iii) brain barriers bioinformatics including introduction of a novel data-mining platform, the BBBHub, iv) molecular mechanisms regulating barrier integrity, v) the role of brain barriers in tumor growth and brain metastases, vi) novel concepts in drug delivery across the brain barriers, and, vii) brain barrier microenvironment in health and disease. The GRC Barriers of the CNS stands out from other brain barriers conferences by bringing together a multidisciplinary group of senior and junior, academic and non-academic, basic and clinical scientists from around the world. The conference provides a protected environment for presenting ongoing and unpublished research promoting new ideas and novel interdisciplinary and translational collaborations. The preceding 2-day ?Barriers? GRS is organized by junior investigators at the postdoctoral level and is intended to introduce younger scientists (postgraduate students, post-docs, junior faculty) to the field's methods and issues and to facilitate networking and provide mentorship opportunities. This application addresses a major public health concern, diseases of the CNS. Improving our knowledge regarding brain barrier structure and function is prerequisite to overcome these barriers to achieve appropriate diagnosis and therapy of neurological disorders ranging from brain tumors to Alzheimer's disease, which is presently limited to symptomatic and palliative measures. Instructing young researchers to think of innovative and novel solutions and to bridge disciplinary interfaces will advance the capacity to bring new approaches to realize the untapped potential for the treatment of CNS disease.

Public Health Relevance

The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and accompanying Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) Barriers of the CNS will provide a platform for senior and junior, academic and non-academic, basic and clinical researchers from around the world to advance understanding of the complex mechanisms regulating brain barriers integrity in health and disease. In their function to protect the central nervous system (CNS) from neurotoxic compounds the brain barriers also block delivery of drugs to the CNS, thus hindering diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. The meetings are dedicated to provide a unique trans-disciplinary environment giving attendees the opportunity to bridge knowledge gaps in the field to overcome the unmet need for the development of innovative approaches to treat these common and often devastating diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Conference (R13)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
Program Officer
Bosetti, Francesca
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Gordon Research Conferences
West Kingston
United States
Zip Code