This application requests funds to support an international conference entitled AHR 2016: The aryl hydrocarbon receptor as a central mediator of health and disease which will be in Rochester, NY in August 3-6, 2016. Specifically, funds from this R13 application to the NIEHS will be used to support disadvantaged poorly represented and/or junior investigators who submit research abstracts and wish to participate in the meeting, but who otherwise might not be able to attend. Their participation will undoubtedly strengthen the conference and the field as a whole. This conference covers a topic that is highly relevant to toxicology and environmental health sciences, and which is also gaining tremendous attention from other sectors, including basic immunology, developmental biology, pharmacology, and pharmaceutics. However, there are no regular (or as far as we know, planned) scientific conferences focused solely on the AHR. Given the rapid but poorly integrated advancements in the field, there is pressing need to bring together toxicologists, basic biologists, and clinical/translational researchers who are all interested in the AHR and its many ligands? Therefore, in addition to fostering the participation of junior investigators, women, minority groups, and the disabled, other goals of this conference include the following: promoting greater interactions among scientists of diverse backgrounds; creating the opportunity to discuss cutting-edge science, and building the foundation for cross- disciplinary communication and collaborations to advance the field. This conference will advance the pace of science by identifying key knowledge gaps and developing strategies to address them, pinpointing critical implications for environmental health and clinical medicine, and building consensus for addressing specific research priorities that relate to these issues. As a consequence of these goals, the meeting is expected to promulgate cutting-edge information that will catalyze new discoveries to improve health and well-being. Also, as a more tangible output, the Organizing Committee plans to develop a review article to be submitted after this conference. Based upon meeting attendance, presentations, and discussion, the organizers will assess the potential for a more expanded set of research and/or review articles based on this conference, as well as evaluate the potential for a future conference on this topic.
This proposed conference will create a unique opportunity to synthesize current knowledge, identify new research opportunities, gaps, and challenges, build collaborations, and integrate basic and applied research across the growing sub-disciplines with interest in the AHR. Given the anticipated attendance and participation of established scientists, students, and post-docs from diverse areas, this meeting will stimulate new thinking, breakdown barriers, and catalyze the field.