In the past few years, the NIH has placed increasing emphasis on improving our understanding of beta cell biology as a necessary step towards developing a definitive therapy for diabetes. In particular, NIDDK is promoting collaborative interinstitutional efforts in this area as evidenced by the upcoming formation of a national beta cell consortium. To further facilitate progress and cooperation in the area of beta cell biology, the idea of starting a Western Region Islet Study group was proposed in the summer of 2000 to bring together 60-100 participants at an annual meeting to meet and exchange ideas. A strong emphasis on the participation of young investigators at the graduate and postgraduate level was proposed. An organizing committee was chosen of established researchers in basic islet and diabetes research from 6 geographically dispersed centers, namely Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. The members of the committee have contacted research groups within their geographical region and a membership database has been compiled centrally. It is planned to hold the inaugural meeting of the group at the Marconi conference center about 90 minutes north of San Francisco near Tomales Bay beginning on Friday, September 28th and ending on Sunday, September 30th. Six topic areas will be covered: Embryological development of the endocrine pancreas Post-natal islet development and homeostasis of islet cell mass. Stimulus-secretion and stimulus-biosynthesis coupling of pancreatic hormone secretion. Cell biology of insulin secretion. The islet in diabetes. Novel therapeutic approaches to diabetes. The meeting will center around 6 scientific sessions of 2 hour covering the above topic areas. Oral presentations of 20-minute duration will be delivered from abstract submissions reviewed and selected by the organizing committee (see below). A strong bias will be made towards young investigators in the selection process but consideration will be also given to favor women, underrepresented minorities and individuals with disabilities. Outside of the main program there will be one invited lecture and informal discussion groups. Facilities will be provided for job seminars if requested and a bulletin board for positions vacant and wanted will be displayed. The primary goal of the meeting is to bring together as many of the young investigators in the islet research field in the region and to foster communication and collaboration between these individuals and their supporting group. The meeting will be more than just a conference focused on a topical area of great scientific and social importance. It will be an important step in catalyzing further development in the field and unifying researchers for the task ahead, one which will involve the generation of research consortia and strong liaison between academia and industry.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Conference (R13)
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Study Section
Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases B Subcommittee (DDK)
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Tondravi, Mehrdad M
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University of Colorado Denver
Schools of Medicine
United States
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