This application is for partial support of the 14th biennial Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) summer conference on """"""""The Biology and Chemistry of Vision"""""""" to be held on June 15-20, 2011 in Carefree, Arizona. Since its inception in 1985, this has been one of the premier and most successful meetings focused on photoreceptor biology. The goals of the 2011 are to provide a uniquely intimate and interactive forum for the integration across disciplines and career stages of research efforts and ideas focused on photoreceptors, their downstream and upstream cellular partners, and the diseases that affect them. The conference is planned to have 37 platform speakers plus a keynote speaker. Of these, 26 are identified speakers who will be new this time (have not spoken in last two conferences), 3 are identified junior investigators, and four will be junior investigators, selected as the meeting approaches, to highlight exciting new results from young researchers. There will also be two innovative"""""""" data blitz"""""""" sessions, first instituted in the 2009 meeting, with short talks selected from submitted poster abstracts, which will provide speaking opportunities for another 10 junior investigators, students, or postdoctoral fellows. Another innovation will be a """"""""Meet the Experts Session"""""""" designed to maximize interactions between senior and junior participants. Organizing will include efforts to optimize the inclusion of women, members of underrepresented groups, and those with disabilities. The lion's share of the requested funding will go to support participation by junior investigators and trainees.
Blindness and visual deficits represent major problems for health and quality of life of the population. Major blinding diseases of the retina, such as retinal degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, are increasing in incidence as the population ages. This conference plays a vital role in integrating the research efforts of leading laboratories focused on the biology and diseases of the retina, so that state-of-the art approaches can be applied to this daunting problem in human health and well-being. Many new ideas for research directions and collaborations are likely to emerge from this conference.