Parkinson's disease (PD) is a devastating degenerative disorder that affects about 1 million Americans alive today. With the greying of the Western World, the burden of this disease is set to rise steeply over the next 35 years. Research is beginning to shed light on common pathways and networks of pathogenesis and pathophysiology; this represents an incredibly exciting time of discovery in PD research. Critical to accelerate the pace of discovery and its translation is the integration of knowledge across disciplines. In this context, the specific aims for this meeting are:
Aim 1 : To create an international meeting dedicated to basic research on PD. We are organizing a program dedicated exclusively to the pathogenesis, pathophysiology and experimental therapeutics of PD. This PD GRS/GRC will be held June 22-June 28 at Sunday River in Maine, which is 3 hours north of Boston and readily accessible from around the world. Of 200 expected attendees (the GRC maximum), the NIH is being asked to help cover the registration costs for 20 early-career investigators (PhD students & postdocs).
Aim 2 : To create a highly interactive format that engenders discussion of cutting-edge, unpublished results and meaningful dialog. Successful GRC meetings require interaction, engagement, and lively discussion. The following features are designed to accomplish our goal: (i) a joint GRS/GRC meeting, that provides the opportunity for students and postdocs to establish a rapport and dialog prior to the GRC (ii) mandatory attendance for the 5 days, (iii) communal dining, (iv) 2:1 ratio of talk to discussion time, (v) afternoon social time, (vi) well-attended, interactive poster sessions, and (vii) presence of major thought leaders in a non- intimidating, approachable setting. The meeting program was designed with input from a committee of 10 scientists (5 men/5 women) with diverse interests and backgrounds, representing North America, Europe and Asia. This program is intended to give scientists with diverse expertise an understanding of state-of-the-art research across disciplines and an appreciation of the critical questions that remain to be addressed.
Aim 3 : To promote participant diversity. We will actively encourage participant diversity in many domains: career stage, institutional environment, geographical location, gender, age and ethnicity. The GRC preliminary program features females in 6/8 (75%) Discussion Leader slots and 12/28 (41%) Speaker slots ? and, overall, 18/37 (49%) speaking slots programmed to date. The proposed program also has strong international representation, with 30% 0f speakers and Discussion Leaders from outside North America. About 30% of speaking slots assigned so far are filled by junior investigators, and each of the 8 sessions will also have a 10-minute talk by a junior investigator chosen from the submitted poster abstracts.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting 1 million Americans living today ? and with the aging of the Western population, the number of people affected by this debilitating disease will increase dramatically over the next 20 years. The first 2 Gordon Research Conferences (GRCs) on PD were highly successful, and the second GRC incorporated a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS), organized by and for trainees. We will continue this tradition in the 2019 combined PD GRS/GRC, which will bring together in one venue diverse investigators with distinct scientific backgrounds who work on disparate aspects of PD, with the goal of educating and informing all attendees in order to facilitate new scientific and therapeutic approaches to the disease.