This proposal requests partial support for an international meeting on Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology as part of a Gordon Research Conference series to be held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology June 6 to 11, 2010. The overall goal of this conference is to increase our understanding of fundamental mechanisms that control development and function of the nervous system in health and disease. In particular we wish to promote scientific interactions between American and Asian scientists to advance this objective. For this purpose, we have identified 30 speakers, including one Nobel Laureate, who will deliver presentations on recent developments in their laboratories to approximately 180 attendees. We have also reserved several time slots for presentations by less established scientists with speaker choice to be based upon submitted abstracts. Poster sessions will provide an opportunity for every attendee to present his/her work. First organized in 1998, this conference has provided a unique bridge between American and Asian neuroscientists. Although initially, much of the information transfer was unidirectional, the interchange is now much more balanced. China, in particular, has initiated scientific efforts in some areas that are unlikely to be duplicated in the United States, such as a massive forward genetic transposon mutagenesis project in mice. This conference will provide an opportunity for leading American and Asian scientists to meet and exchange ideas and hypotheses and establish collaborations. Research into mechanisms of brain function is essential if our society is to conquer neurological diseases that afflict a large portion of our citizens, including autism and mental retardation in children, addiction and mental illness in children and adults, and neurodegenerative diseases that are most prevalent in our senior citizens. The conference covers a broad range of neuroscience from molecules and cells to circuits, behavior, mental illness and neurodegeneration. The conference is directed at communicating exciting new developments in these areas and stimulating discussion among participants from different disciplines and nationalities that will accelerate our efforts to understand mechanisms that control human brain development and function.
This conference will identify issues in basic brain research that are limiting our ability to address effectively diseases and disorders that affect brain function. Speakers at the conference will describe recent progress in studies important for understanding afflictions that include autism, mental retardation, addiction, mental illness, neurodegenerative diseases and postinjury regeneration. The conference venue will provide an opportunity for interactions between scientists of many nationalities who otherwise have few opportunities for exchange of ideas and establishment of collaborations.