Aquatic animal models have played important roles in advancing our understanding of the origins of human disease and have also contributed to the study and identification of drug targets and tests associated with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. In many cases, the best choice for an animal model of human disease is aquatic;the most-widely known is zebrafish but the community of investigators exploiting the unique attributes of extremely varied aquatic animals to address heretofore unapproachable questions related to human disease is growing. These unique aquatic animal models represent a wide-range of innovative studies, methods and technologies that improve the conceptual understanding of the complexity of human disease. The Aquatic Animal Models for Human Disease Conference is the primary conference that focuses broadly on multiple aquatic models used to investigate the full range of human diseases. It is unique compared to any other conference or venue in providing a forum for the entire breadth of investigator's approaches to a wide collection of aquatic models that are employed to better understand a large spectrum of human diseases. The 7th conference in this series seeks to bring together researchers from the U.S. and around the world that employ aquatic animal models in their studies of human diseases, The conference will be hosted by the Texas State University and held outside Austin, Texas on December 13-18, 2014. The program has been designed by recognized leaders in the field to provide state-of-the-art information on advances in the use of aquatic animals in biomedical research. The dissemination of information, formal and informal engagement in discussion, and collaborative exchange of ideas will be achieved through a series of platform and poster sessions as well as four "break-out" workshops. New investigators, women, investigators with disabilities and under-represented minorities will be actively recruited to participate in this meeting through mechanisms such as travel awards. Representatives from funding institutes will be invited and encouraged to participate in all aspects of the meeting, especially the final session on priorities of human disease research and strategies for guiding extramural support. The proceedings from past meetings have been published in special issues of a scientific journal and we will continue that mechanism for dissemination as well as attempt to publish a book that will provide a comprehensive review of the state of aquatic animal models and their use in human disease research. The science presented at this meeting will have a great impact in providing new approaches to the study of human disease and will simultaneously provide a forum to recruit new investigators into this field. One outcome of these gatherings and this meeting in particular, is to provide new investigators with the ideas, background and mentoring required to improve the quality of grant applications submitted to multiple NIH institutes. Relevance to Public Health: The focus of this conference is on the development and application of animal models to study human disease. Aquatic animals have many advantages and attributes that can make them superior choices compared to rodent or other mammalian models to investigate complex scientific questions. The main outcome of this meeting will be dissemination of this knowledge, training and mentoring of new investigators in this field and will result in the pursuit of novel and innovative approaches designed to provide results, information and knowledge that will contribute to improving human health across a broad collection of diseases.
Aquatic animals have demonstrated tremendous value to biomedical research as models of human disease. This conference will bring together senior scientists, new investigators, and graduate students from the US and around the world to explore the recent developments in technology, study design and data analysis and the latest applications of aquatic animals in the study of human diseases.