This grant application is to obtain funds to partially support planning, organizing, publicizing and hosting the 31st Annual Symposium on Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS. This symposium is a critical scientific forum that facilitates the dissemination and exchange of new research findings, ideas and directions, and encourages increased collaboration among investigators engaged in HIV/AIDS research using nonhuman primates (NHPs). The meeting, the only one of its kind in the world, convenes an international group of scientists whose research focuses on the study of natural and experimental immunodeficiency virus infections in NHP models as well as on the development of vaccines and alternate infection-prevention strategies and novel therapeutic options. The Yerkes National Primate Research Center will host the 2013 Symposium November 3-6, 2013, at the JW Marriot Atlanta Buckhead Hotel. Drs. Rama Amara and Stuart Zola will serve as Scientific Co-Chairs, and members of the Scientific Program Committee and the Organizing Committee will support them. The symposium program will comprise four half-day scientific sessions including "Latency and Reservoirs," "Natural hosts/New models," "Pathogenesis/Early events" and "Vaccines/Immunology," and two quarter-day scientific sessions, "Virus host interactions" and "Therapy/Microbicides." This year, we are offering innovative additions to the program to leverage our extensive local scientific expertise. We will host three consecutive 60-minute "Meet the Expert" breakout sessions ("Dendritic cell analyses in macaques," "Nonhuman primate genomics" and "Comparing immunogenicity in macaques and humans"), and we will implement "Conclusions and Takeaways" summaries by the session chairs at the conclusion of each scientific session. The symposium will also offer an educational outreach training session for local science teachers. The Symposium will begin with the breakout sessions. Following these will be the welcome reception and keynote speaker presentation. The next two and a half days will feature the scientific sessions as well as a poster reception and banquet. The 16-member Scientific Program Committee will review abstracts and assign oral and poster presentations for each of the scientific sessions. The committee will also award fellowships to the most meritorious abstracts from postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. In addition to any R13 grant support, registration fees and corporate sponsorship will help defray costs and fund the symposium. We are confident the knowledge gained from this symposium will shed light on how HIV and SIV cause disease and will bring us steps closer to developing an effective AIDS vaccine as well as novel therapies to control/cure HIV infection.
Currently there are nearly 1.3 million people living with HIV in the United States and 33 million people infected with HIV worldwide. There is a great need for the development of vaccines and therapies to prevent/control AIDS. Such ambitious research efforts critically depend on NHP models because they are the only models able to replicate infection and disease seen in HIV-infected humans. The Annual Symposium on Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS represents an important scientific gathering during which researchers exchange the latest research findings, initiate new collaborations and present the latest models and their refinements. The goals of defining and testing a vaccine to prevent transmission of HIV and developing treatments for those currently living with HIV are within reach, in part, because of this forum and the exchange of information it facilitates.