A new Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Cell Polarity Signaling was held in 2014 and 2016, and filled a very important but unmet need because prior to the initiation of this GRC there were no regular conferences on Cell Polarity either in the US or elsewhere. Based on highly positive feedback from the first two GRCs we are organizing a third meeting for 2018 to establish an ongoing forum for the very dynamic cell polarity field. Polarity is fundamental to all of biology, with profound implications for cell and tissue organization in normal development, homeostasis, and in numerous diseases such as cancer, as well as wound healing and other regenerative processes. For these reasons, cell polarity has become a hot area of research that has caught the imagination of many hundreds of investigators. A new addition to the 2016 conference was a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), organized by two trainees. A GRS will also be held in 2018 and is expected to attract about 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to present and discuss their research immediately prior to the GRC. In order to promote interdisciplinary and teamwork, the GRS will foster networking and collaborations between those scientists actually working full-time at the bench to help them develop their future careers. It will also provide a valuable learning experience for those involved in organizing the Seminar. Several senior investigators in cell polarity will be invited to the GRS to discuss their research and provide mentoring and feedback. A round-table lunch session with discussion leaders will facilitate mentoring. Sessions at the GRS and GRC will range from basic cell biology of model organisms to translational studies in cancer biology, wound healing, and regenerative processes. The speaker/discussion leader list for 2018 will be entirely different from that of the 2016 conference, and only overlap by 30% with the 2014 GRC, so as to keep the meeting fresh and to broaden the number of investigators who can present their research. Participants include established investigators from disciplines both within and outside the cell polarity field, and several junior PIs. Among the 32 invited speakers/discussion leaders from multiple countries we have 38% female representation. 15 short talks will be selected from submitted abstracts. Interactive poster presentations will take place on 4 afternoons. Part of the program is also a ?power hour? to discuss the challenges women face in academia. We will promote diversity in the programs for the GRC and GRS, through GRC minority fellowship funding, advertising, and through the Committee on Minority Affairs of the American Society for Cell Biology. We envision that this GRC/GRS will facilitate discussion of cutting edge research in cell polarity and will foster collaborations that will help drive the field forward.
Cell polarity is of fundamental importance to all of biology and to human health, and is perturbed in numerous developmental diseases and in cancer. It provides a mechanism by which stem cells produce different types of cell, and for the organization of tissues in the body. This application aims to support a Gordon Research Conference and Research Seminar to bring together investigators and students working in this exciting field to share ideas, and to encourage cross-fertilization between basic discovery science and translational research.