This is an application for partial support of the 8th biennial FASEB Science Research Conference on Ion Channel Regulation. The objective of this conference is to stimulate discourse, seed new ideas, and facilitate collaboration in ways that will accelerate new discoveries about ion channels at the basic and translational levels, and to provide a forum for trainees to participate in scientific sessions and in career development activities. Regulation of ion channel function is essential for physiological functions including nervous signaling, pain transduction, and the beating of the heart. Accounting for ~1% of human genes, ion channels are subject to numerous disease-causing mutations. There are more than 55 inherited disorders that are attributed to mutations in genes encoding ion channels. These ?channelopathies? affect the brain (e.g., epilepsy, migraine, ataxia, autism), the heart (e.g., cardiac arrhythmia), and other tissues (e.g., pain, hearing and vision impairment, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, muscle disease). Not surprisingly, ion channels are major drug targets in the treatment of epilepsy, neuropathic pain, hypertension and cardiac arrhythmia. Dysregulation of ion channels is strongly associated with mental illness and cancer, both of which are profound global health concerns. Thus, the topic of our conference is both timely and highly relevant for a broad population of scientists, clinicians, and the general public. The Co-chairs of the 2017 conference will be Drs. Mark Dell?Acqua (University of Colorado Denver) and James Trimmer (University of California Davis); both recognized leaders in ion channel biology with an emphasis on ion channel regulation. The Program consists of nine scientific sessions, one keynote address, and two breakout sessions, one focused on careers in industry, and one on careers in academia/NIH, etc. There will also be career development lunches with individual tables focusing on fellowships, other funding, strategies for applying for postdocs and faculty positions, early career strategies, etc. Most scientific sessions were organized around general themes rather than ion channel subtype, to foster crosstalk between fields typically kept separate in traditional conferences. Several of the planned talks focus upon novel approaches to study ion channel regulation including state of the art techniques in imaging, chemical engineering, generation and characterization of mouse models of human disease, etc. There will be 36 session speakers giving full talks, including at least 17 women (47% of speakers) and 9 session chairs (5 of whom are women, 55%). Most of the invited speakers have not presented at this conference. Of the 36 session speakers, we are planning to include 6 early career stage investigators and 6 members of under-represented minorities in science (17%), numbers that will be bolstered in 14 short talks to be selected from submitted abstracts; we will also work with institutions from historically underfunded states within the West to encourage their participation and promote novel collaborations.

Public Health Relevance

Ion channels and transporters are proteins that provide a pathway for movement of aqueous ions across cell membranes. Regulation of ion channel function is essential for physiological functions including nervous signaling, pain transduction, and the beating of the heart. Ion channel dysfunction causes diseases including epilepsy, chronic pain, migraine, diabetes, periodic paralysis and sudden cardiac death, as well as linkages to Parkinson?s disease and autism. As such ion channels represent not only a broadly utilized set of targets for existing therapeutics, but also hold vast untapped potential for future development efforts. This grant will provide financial support for trainee attendance at a conference that brings together scientists from a wide variety of disciplines but with several common goals: a fuller understanding of how ion channels function, how they are regulated, what happens when they dysfunction, and how can this be prevented or treated. The conference also provides trainees with a forum for networking with established scientists from academic and industry, participation in the conference scientific proceedings, as well as focused career development activities. The primary aim of this conference is to provide a synergistic environment fostering cross- disciplinary interactions and training opportunities to improve our understanding of ion channel regulation and how it influences human health and disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Conference (R13)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
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Silberberg, Shai D
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Federation of Amer Soc for Exper Biology
United States
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