Infections of the Nervous System
In comparison to studies on infections of the nervous system in western societies, studies on diseases of such nature in the developing world have been neglected. This is paradoxical as neurotropic pathogens are frequent in the developing world and contribute significantly to human suffering and disease burden. Moreover living with neurological handicap and/or cognitive dysfunction will have a significant impact on socio-economic development. As the central nervous system is usually not the primary target site of infection, a window of opportunity exists to interfere with pathogen spreading. The Gordon Research Conference on "Infections of the nervous system" will advance knowledge in the field and promote exchanges between medical research centers in resource-rich and -poor regions. The format of GRC (community-based, small audience, focus on unpublished material) is ideal to create a multidisciplinary dialogue that will involve both clinicians and scientists studying disease mechanisms and host genetics, the molecular make-up of neurotropic infectious agents, and the innate and adaptive immune response to neurotropic pathogens. In addition, groups working on developing new technologies for diagnosis and prognosis will be included. This new series will bring together renowned clinicians and scientists, who investigate clinical disease manifestations and the molecular mechanisms underlying worldwide infections of the nervous system in humans. This will foster collaborations to accelerate/expand investigations and use new technologies allowing fast development of diagnostic/prognostic tools and pioneering drug discoveries. The establishment of a strong community of top-ranked scientists working on infections of the nervous system will also increase the awareness of world-leading research institutions on the impact and challenges in this field and foster new research and training programs in that topic. The sessions address in detail: how ways of invading the nervous system vary between pathogens; what are the specific neural target cells and their receptors for neurotropic pathogens; what are the characteristics of the immune and neural responses to invading pathogens; how clinical and pathogenesis studies can elucidate the nature of the nervous system damage caused by different pathogens; what are the new prospects for therapies and diagnostic in some of the diseases covered. Another important objective of the conference will be to attract from all continents an audience of young researchers/trainees in the field, particularly those where these diseases are prevalent. These young trainees will present posters and/or short oral presentations, giving them ample time to discuss their work with the experts, which may trigger new collaborations and other research opportunities.
What is a GRC? Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) are 5-day meetings that bring scientists together from around the world to present and discuss unpublished research with other leaders in their field.