?The Auditory Systems? Gordon Research Conference (?Auditory GRC?) consisting of ~125-150 scientists with diverse expertise will convene on July 8-13, 2018 at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, to discuss and debate new findings in hearing research and related fields. The Auditory GRC is preceded by a smaller Gordon Research Seminar (?Auditory GRS?, July 7-8) and will include talks and posters by 40-50 investigators- in-training, thereby serving as a gateway to the GRC. Together the Auditory GRC & GRS offer a unique combination of features, including: breadth of research, cutting-edge emphasis, mingling of investigators from all ranks and diverse sub-fields and locales, intimate size and extended discussion time, allowing for close and sustained interactions. Some of these features arise from unique qualities of the hearing research field and others from the Gordon Conferences' established nature and highly successful format. Since the 1920s, the GRC organization has supported meetings famous for their unfettered debate and discussion of emerging data. The program for the 2018 Auditory GRC will emphasize the Function, Dysfunction and Restoration of the auditory system. As such, the conference will range from basic science discoveries on native mechanisms in developing and mature auditory systems, to pathological aspects of the auditory periphery and central pathways to the latest translational efforts to preserve and restore auditory function using, small molecules, gene therapy, cell and regenerative therapies, development and use of next generation prosthetic devices. Each session will include a mix of these three broad topics and will include an array of cutting-edge techniques from identification of novel signaling pathways to generation of inner organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells to advanced optogenetic stimulation of central auditory pathways. Over the past ten years of hosting Auditory GRCs, we have learned from experience to design sessions that have something that will appeal to scientists with diverse backgrounds. As such, we will endeavor to highlight different model systems, from zebrafish to humans, and technologies from molecular & genetic to systems and behavior. Throughout the sessions we will include a broad mix of talks that focus on studies of central and peripheral auditory neuroscience and will include the broader thematic topics for the 2018 Auditory GRC. Our goal is to encourage unusually high attendance throughout the meeting and cross-fertilization across disciplines. For the Auditory GRS, talks will be selected from submitted abstracts and anchored by a keynote address by an invited mentor-participant who is at the assistant professor level. In addition, mentoring is an active component of the GRS. The keynote speaker, as well as the GRC organizers, will be available for informal and formal discussions including a research funding session, featuring a representative from NIDCD, and a career session, featuring individuals working in diverse fields, such as academia, industry, publishing and policy.
The healthy human auditory system performs complex and exquisite analysis, permitting localization and identification of sounds, processing speech and appreciation of music. Loss of these functions through inherited genetic factors, aging, noise, trauma, or disease results in major personal and societal costs. Unfortunately, treatment options for auditory dysfunction are limited. The 2018 Auditory Systems Gordon Research Conference will convene scientists from around the world, at all career levels, to share and discuss novel and unpublished experimental data regarding the function, dysfunction and restoration of the auditory system with the goal of accelerating an understanding how the auditory system works, what goes wrong when it does not work and what can be done to fix it.