This grant application seeks funding to support the 2018 Santa Cruz Developmental Biology Meeting, which will be held in California on the campus of UC Santa Cruz on August 11-14, 2018. This biennial grass-roots meeting has run continuously since 1992, being organized by and for the scientific community working at the cutting edge of stem, regenerative and developmental biology. The Santa Cruz meeting occupies a unique niche by combining its international reputation with a relatively small size (140-180 attendees) and a wholly new invited speaker line-up at each gathering. As detailed in our application, we have planned for considerable participation by graduate students and postdocs by including short talks, posters, and two workshops aimed at career issues. The meeting format is single platform sessions, with two non-overlapping poster sessions so that all participants are engaged with the same topic and activity for the duration of the meeting. The theme of the 2018 meeting, ?Old and New: Modern Answers to Enduring Questions in Developmental Biology?, is meant to highlight how advances in technology and the increasing use of highly interdisciplinary approaches have enabled rapid new progress on fundamental questions in animal development. One chief goal of this meeting will be to bring together diverse researchers in an informal setting to highlight work across a broad spectrum of relevant systems, fostering cross-interaction between research fields and synthesis of new ideas. A second major goal will be to provide a forum for up and coming undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows to present their work to leaders in the field through talks, poster sessions, and informal discussions fostered by an isolated and informal campus setting. Along with a distinguished panel of four senior keynote speakers, the 2018 session topics will feature scientists working with a wide range of model organisms in the areas of Cell Polarity, Organogenesis, Neural Development, Dynamic Control of Cell Identity, Evolutionary Developmental Biology, and Collective Dynamics of Tissue Patterning and Morphogenesis.
Research in developmental biology has made many fundamental contributions to our understanding of congenital disease, stem cell biology, oncology and regenerative medicine. Elucidating the genetic, molecular, and cellular control of developmental processes will help us decipher the logic of multicellular life, illuminate causes of birth defects, and ultimately lead to new techniques for diagnosis and treatment of human disease. The 2018 Santa Cruz Developmental Biology meeting will bring together experts working on fundamental developmental mechanisms in order to stimulate new research directions and accelerate discovery in this dynamic and rapidly evolving field.