The FASEB Summer Research Conference on Virus Structure and Assembly will address recent developments in the area of virus structure determination, such as single particle electron-microscopic image reconstruction, tomography, and asymmetric reconstruction. The conference will emphasize the convergence of genetics, molecular virology, cell biology, biophysical virology, and structural virology in the study of many viral systems, some that serve as important models for understanding biological phenomena. In addition, there will a focus on other biophysical technologies that complement structural analysis and that can be used to interrogate these complex biological processes. This is a multi-faceted meeting that will serve as a forum for integration of research findings from many viral systems towards our fundamental understanding of the events in the viral life cycle, from the initial host cell receptor attachment and entry, cellular trafficking, genome replication, virion assembly/genome packaging, to interaction of viruses with the host immune machinery.

Broader Impact This meeting, which has evolved into a broadly attended conference, will attract 150-180 participants from around the world. Traditionally the FASEB Virus Structure and Assembly conference has had an excellent history of including women, with the percentage of attendees steadily increasing over the years, due to the efforts of the organizers. In the past 10 years the percentage of women attending the conference has been 32% (2000), 29% (2002) 34% (2004), 33% (2006) and 40% (2008). The percentage of women speakers has not differed significantly from the percentage of women in attendance. Women scientists have served as session leaders, speakers, and poster presenters. In the present conference 15/38 (40%) of the invited session chairs and speakers are women (including one under-represented minority). Our goal for this meeting is to continue this tradition of outreach by increasing the participation by under-represented minority junior scientist, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and beginning principal investigators. In an effort to accomplish this goal both women and under-represented minority attendees of previous meetings will be contacted and alerted to the dates of the 2010 conference and encouraged to attend; all prior attendees will be encouraged to bring their under-represented and female graduate students. These junior investigators are an important group of future scientist with the potential to make significant contributions to the field. Exposure to cutting edge findings in this important field of research is an essential component of their training.

This conference is co-funded between the Biomolecular Systems Cluster and the Genes and Genome Systems Cluster in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Project Report

The 2010 FASEB Summer Research Conference on Virus Structure and Assembly emphasized the convergence of structural virology with cell biology, biochemistry, and genetics; three disciplines used to study virus entry, exit, and host interactions. As the field of structural/biophysical virology has come to the forefront in recent years, emphasis on experimental technologies and their application to dissecting the mechanisms of virus infection and capsid assembly were emphasized in the 2010 conference. As with past conferences, the most recent developments in structure determination, tomography and asymmetric reconstructions, were highlighted. The conference participants included scientist at all stage of their careers, tenured principal investigators, tenure-eligible principal investigators, post-doctoral scientists, and graduate students. Participants from industry were also present. There were 167 attendees, 37% of whom were women. Junior scientists, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows, represented 45% of the participants. This NSF grant was used to help defray the conference registration costs for women and underrepresented minority scientists invited as speakers. Significantly, funds from this NSF grant also afforded nine junior scientists (e.g., post-doctoral fellows and graduate students); eight were women and eight were minority scientists; the opportunity to give oral presentations through the award of travel grants. These awardees were selected based on abstracts submitted for poster presentations following review by the conference organizers.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB)
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Michele McGuirl
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Federation of Amer Societies for Exper Biology
United States
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