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2012 International Conference on Anaerobic Parasites (ICAP)


Description (as provided by the applicant): Scientific and medical advances in the latter half of the 20th century have revolutionized the ability to manage or cure diseases that previously had far greater fatality rates. Nevertheless many parasitic diseases still plague developing countries and research directed at understanding these evolutionarily diverse, unicellular eukaryotes has lagged behind that of model organisms. A greater focus towards understanding the biology and pathogenic properties of parasitic infections is necessary to extend lifespan and improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. This application seeks support for th International Conference on Anaerobic Parasites V (ICAP V). This meeting will focus on 3 related anaerobic human parasites, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia intestinalis, and Trichomonas vaginalis with worldwide distribution, presenting public health problems in the USA. These unicellular parasites are lumen-dwelling, extracellular pathogens with common biochemical and subcellular properties that each exploits to parasitize its human host. The major objective of this meeting is to promote scientific data exchange and stimulate vigorous discussion of recent research, as well as current technical challenges common to researchers studying these related parasites. <P> The specific goals of ICAP V are to (a) promote information sharing and support the advancement of research by bringing together researchers with common interests in these parasites, (b) support outstanding junior investigators in the field, diversity and international communication and collaboration and (c) to promote collegial interactions, open discussion and sharing of methodologies among researchers working on the same parasite and those working on related organisms. The meeting will be divided into 15 sessions; talks of ~30 minutes each will be given by invited faculty in nine sessions. Two sessions will be devoted to 15 minute talks given by PhD students, postdocs and pre-tenured faculty to be selected from submitted abstracts by the organizing committee. There will also be 2 poster sessions for students and postdocs to present their work. Two workshops, devoted to round table discussions of the current status of genetic manipulation of anaerobic parasites and updates on current genome analyses and proposed new genome projects, are also scheduled. Breakout sessions for informal discussion of common topics and problems of interest, previously suggested by participants or ones that arise as the meeting proceeds will also be organized.<P> The previous 4 ICAP meetings, held in 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2008, have been the only meetings to bring together scientists studying these 3 major human-infective anaerobic parasites. No other meeting offers our community the opportunity to discuss, both formally and informally, the many research topics and technical issues of common interest that need critical attention to accelerate the progress of research on these human pathogens.

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Public Health Relevance: <br/> This conference brings together scientists from 13 countries to discuss recent basic science research and technology development for the most 3 prevalent and medically important human-infective, anaerobic parasites, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis. Research topics to be discussed include pathogenesis, signal transduction and development, gene expression and genome analyses, biology of mitochondrial-like organelles, cell biology, host:pathogen interactions and parasite subcellular organelles adapted for pathogenesis. The conference will lead to a better understanding of the biology and pathogenesis of these human parasitic infections by stimulating information exchange and increasing interactions and collaborations among researchers with common interests and goals.

Johnson, Patricia Jean
University of California - Los Angeles
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