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Grant Abstract

Grant Number: 1R13NS070318-01

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Partial support is requested for the 11th Gordon Research Conference on Pineal Cell Biology to be held February 7-12 at Hotel Galvez in Galveston, Texas. The major objectives and long-term goals of the 2010 Gordon Research Conference on Pineal Cell Biology are to increase our understanding of the molecular and cellular function of the pineal gland, of how the rhythmic synthesis and release of the pineal hormone melatonin contributes to vertebrate physiology, and the importance of circadian rhythms in physiological functions and disease. Melatonin has a wide range of functions, ranging from effects on the sleep/wake cycle in humans to the control of photoperiodic responses in seasonally breeding mammals, and it is widely used as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. Thus, it is important that the physiology of the pineal gland and its principal output hormone, melatonin, be understood. The study of the pineal cell biology is inextricably linked to the study of circadian rhythms. An objective of this meeting is thus to explore aspects of circadian rhythms that are at the interface with melatonin and melatonin action, including regulation of sleep and circadian rhythms, metabolism, reproduction, retinal function and tumor growth. The specific aims of the Gordon Conference on Pineal Cell Biology are: 1) To provide a forum for communication of recent advances in the areas of Pineal Cell Biology, melatonin action, and circadian rhythms, leading to identification of key opportunities for future study, 2) To stimulate interaction among researchers studying different species and using a wide range of experimental and technical approaches, so as to promote understanding of the potential for interdisciplinary and collaborative research, 3) To promote collaboration by bringing together scientists from many different research groups and countries, and at different levels of training, and 4) To promote translational research by bringing together investigators studying human subjects in pineal and circadian research with those investigating other species. The Conference will achieve these aims by providing a forum for presentation of the latest advances. The Conference will bring together a diverse group of approximately 130 scientists from leading academic, industrial and government laboratories around the world to discuss current research directions and themes, and is expected to provide stimulating and intense discussion leading to insights and general principles emerging in pineal cell biology and related topics. The Gordon Conference format consists of lecture sessions in the morning and evening, with ample time for discussion. Poster sessions will allow additional participants to present data and receive feedback. The confirmed Invited Participants (listed in the Tentative Program) include experts using a broad variety of approaches, and from diverse disciplines, include neuroscience, (retinal biology, neurodegenerative diseases, and sleep medicine), developmental biology, genetics, metabolism, and oncology. Through convening such an interdisciplinary group of experts, the Conference will identify key areas for future research into the impact of melatonin and circadian rhythms on human health and disease. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The pineal hormone, melatonin, influences circadian organization, sleep/wake cycles, retinal function, metabolism and tumor growth. The Conference objective is to bring together leading scientists to discuss new developments in the field, to increase the level of interaction and cross-fertilization between disciplines and thus promote collaboration and translational research. The meeting will have health relevance through promoting an understanding of the contribution of melatonin and circadian rhythms, (and the therapeutic potential of manipulating them) in areas including sleep/wake regulation, and neurodegenerative, endocrine and metabolic disorders.

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