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2010 Gordon Research Conference On Mutagenesis To Be Held August 1 Through August 6, 2010, At Colby College In Waterville, Maine

Investigators
Maizels, Nancy; Gray, Nancy
Institutions
Gordon Research Conferences
Start date
2010
End date
2011
Abstract

The 2010 Mutagenesis Gordon Research Conference will address in molecular detail how mutations occur, how conserved pathways promote repair of such mutations, and how mutations can affect cellular processes. As the source of biological diversity, mutations enable subsets of organisms to survive despite changing conditions, and thus have been essential for life from its start. Mutagenesis drives the emergence of organisms which are better able to survive changing environmental conditions, but also promotes emergence of novel pathogens. Some mutations are spontaneous and inevitable, while others are induced by mutagens present in the environment either naturally or as a result of human negligence. Using experimental tools that span genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and structural biology, scientists have made dramatic progress in defining mechanisms of mutagenesis in recent years. Much of this progress has depended upon basic insights gained from experimentation with simpler microbial systems, especially the bacterium E. coli and the yeast S. cerevisiae. There is a growing understanding of how oxidative DNA damage, which may be an inevitable consequence of respiration, promotes mutations that contribute to genomic instability and aging; of how specific genomic sites and regions may be hotspots for mutagenesis; and of how regulated mutagenesis is essential to the pathogenesis of microorganisms and to the immune response. Mechanisms of mutagenesis and repair have proven to be highly conserved, and there has been continuous and fruitful interactions between investigators using a wide range of organisms and approaches. The 2010 Mutagenesis GRC will bring together a diverse group of scientists whose interests focus on mechanisms of mutagenesis and its consequences, in a format that promotes active discussion, presentation of new ideas, and development of collaborations that transcend disciplines and national boundaries. The Mutagenesis Gordon Research Conference seeks to bring together leading investigators, both those who are established and those whose careers are still in their early stages, for a highly interactive meeting in a retreat-like environment. Participants will represent a wide range of research interests in areas including replication and repair fidelity, DNA modifications (both natural and synthetic), carcinogenesis, evolution and genetic toxicology. The chair of the 2010 meeting is a woman and it is anticipated that the speaker roster will be at least 25% women, with at least one Hispanic speaker. The organizers will strive to ensure that women, junior scientists (recently independent investigators, post-docs and graduate students) and underrepresented minorities are selected to attend the meeting, giving preference to such individuals when selecting meeting participants. The spectrum of topics and the breadth of expertise, perspectives, approaches and systems will set this meeting apart from more specialized conferences. This breadth, together with the intensity of a focused meeting with a limited number of participants, fosters the cross-fertilization of ideas and the collaborations that ultimately will lead to novel insights into mutagenic mechanisms and their results. The small size and unusually collegial and informal nature of the Mutagenesis Gordon Research Conference, along with its emphasis on discussion among investigators with diverse expertise, make it unique within the mutagenesis field. Through this meeting new collaborations will form and new knowledge will be disseminated. Funding from the National Science Foundation will help support the participation of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and investigators whose careers are just getting underway.

Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
Project number
964978
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Escherichia coli