Adult epithelia regenerate during adult life due to the constant activity of stem cell pools. Stem cells maintain tissue homeostasis and repair injury by close communication with their tissue environment, known as niche. Niches are complex, structured arrays of different cell types that guide tissue stem cell dynamics. The ultimate goal of understanding epithelial stem cell regulation is to repair or replace cells or organs damaged by injury, disease, and aging. The strategies vary from generating cell types and tissues in a dish for transplantation purposes, to directly stimulating the damaged organ in the living organism. This field has been exponentially growing for the past decade. Tissues such as human skin and cornea have already been grown in 3D cultures and used in clinics to fight otherwise incurable medical conditions. The GRC Tissue Niches and Resident Stem Cells in Adult Epithelia? will focus on comparative principles of adult epithelial stem cell dynamics and niche signaling in the homeostasis of different tissues. This conference will include work on the molecular control of stem cell function from the epidermis and its appendages, intestine, lung, mammary gland, cornea and retina, epithelial transition zones, and emerging work from other epithelial tissues. All model organisms are welcome. This GRC had its inaugural meeting in 2016, and we now seek to build on the momentum and excitement created there for the 2018 meeting. We hope to continue to build a principle of alternating speakers that will allow a variety of participants to contribute to this exciting meeting over the coming years. In particular for the 2018 meeting we have built a scientific program that emphasizes key cutting edge areas in epithelial biology including organoid techniques, imaging and single cell analysis, cell-cell interactions in the niche, developmental pathways, modeling disease, DNA repair, aging and epigenetic regulation. In addition, we will support the attendance of graduate students, post docs, and early career scientists as they make their way into this exciting field of study by hosting a GRS in the two days prior to this GRC. A critical feature of the GRC?s scientific mission is to engage the next generation of scientists. We are introducing a two-day Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows that will precede this GRC. The GRS will allow students and fellows to share and discuss unpublished data and technical breakthroughs, favouring collaborative efforts and sparking provocative hypotheses to be discussed on the floor of the main conference. Furthermore, the participants will have the opportunity to establish tight professional relationships from which they will benefit from throughout their career. GRS participants will be expected to stay for the GRC, further contributing to the educational value of this conference.
Understanding epithelial stem cell regulation within tissues will serve to repair or replace cells or organs damaged by injury, disease, and aging. The strategies vary from generating cell types and tissues in a dish for transplantation purposes, to directly stimulating the damaged organ in the living organism. This field has been exponentially growing for the past decade and this conference will allow bringing together scientists from currently disparate areas, which will create synergy and result faster progress in this field that is highly medically significant.