Xenopus is a widely-used model organism for basic biomedical discovery. This application requests funds to support the 15th International Xenopus Conference. Held every two years since 1984, this biennial meeting's prime objective is to provide a forum for information exchange and interaction amongst researchers using Xenopus as a model organism for biomedical research. The last iteration of this meeting (in France) being attended by over 350 researchers from all over the world. In addition to serving as a platform for information exchange, this meeting will also provide 1) a venue for introducing younger scientists to more established members of the field, 2) an opportunity for the Xenopus community to learn about the latest technologies and to coordinate its infrastructure, and 3) an opportunity to introduce this powerful model organism to students from under-represented groups. This meeting will have a significant impact because Xenopus is widely used in developmental biology, cell biology, molecular biology, and neurobiology, and many of the most exciting discoveries now are coming from the interfaces between these disciplines. By bringing together researchers with divergent research interested, but a common model system, the meeting should foster outstanding interdisciplinary thinking. Modern biology demands that we be well-informed, broad-based, organized, and collaborative in our approaches, and the International Xenopus Conference will facilitate exactly that style of science.
Animal models serve an essential function in basic biomedical science. With the exception of clinical trials, all research on humans must be undertaken with cells in the artificial setting of tissue culture. Because the context of the animal has tremendous impact on the function of cells, in vivo experimentation is central to gaining an understanding of biology. The frog Xenopus has been a widely-used model organism for basic biomedical discovery for many decades, and it remains a powerful model today. Xenopus is widely used because of its unique combination of experimental tractability and close evolutionary relationship with humans. Indeed, the recent commitments to the NIH-funded National Xenopus Resource at the Marine Biological Laboratory and the European Xenopus Resource Center at Portsmouth, UK reflect a growing interest in the use of Xenopus as a biomedical model organism. This proposal seeks funds to provide scientists-in-training an opportunity to attend and present their work at the 15th International Xenopus Conference, an important venue for scientific interaction and information exchange. The meeting will be of great value to the scientific community because Xenopus is a major driver for discovery in developmental biology, cell biology, molecular biology and neuroscience and many exciting discoveries now are coming from the interfaces between these disciplines. Modern biology demands that scientists be well-informed, broad-based, organized, and collaborative in their approaches. The International Xenopus Conference that we propose here will facilitate exactly that style of science.