Our understanding of the biology of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—including the microbiota, epithelial/stem cell biology, mucosal immunology, microbiology, and barrier physiology—is evolving at a rapid pace. Furthermore, the ubiquitous crosstalk between different topic areas requires researchers to have a broad knowledge base across the field in order to increase the impact of their own work. Thus, the “Gastrointestinal Tract XVII: Current Biology of the GI Tract, Mucosa, Microbiota, and Beyond” conference will serve as an important venue for sharing the most current scientific discoveries in GI research and for establishing new collaborations between topic areas.
This meeting will span the entire range of investigation in gastroenterology, from molecules to cellular interactions to microbiota to intact organisms. There will be a focus on comparing and contrasting normal biology/physiology with disease pathophysiology and on providing a clinical context for basic research observations. Eight thematic sessions have been organized to encompass rapidly developing areas in GI research: a) Monitoring and Responding to the Microbiota, b) Mucosal Injury and Restitution, c) Microbiota-Host Crosstalk, d) Signaling Mechanisms Coordinating Gastrointestinal Homeostasis and Response to Inflammation, e) The Stem Cell Niche, Inflammation, and Cancer, f) Transport and Barrier, g) Host-Pathogen Interactions, and h) Novel Approaches to GI Biology. The format is designed to facilitate the rapid translation of basic biology discoveries into new medically relevant approaches to human disease.
In addition to the platform talks from established investigators and early-career rising stars, a number of abstracts from trainees and young investigators will be selected for short talk presentations, and two poster and two oral presentation sessions of rapid-fire “ePoster” presentations will be held to maximize the number of investigators given exposure. This conference will not only provide a strong overview of cutting edge GI research but also provide a critical venue for trainees and early career investigators to showcase their work.
Alongside the scientific sessions, the meeting will have several important career development components. “Meet-the-expert” breakfast mentoring sessions will provide small-group mentoring opportunities for junior investigators. Workshops on grant-writing and publishing featuring NIH staff, editors of major GI journals, and experienced investigators in the field are planned, adding a rich component of mentoring and development for junior trainees at the meeting.
This conference will facilitate face-to-face interaction between investigators in multiple aspects of GI biology and disease. It will bring young researchers into contact with established investigators who can contribute to their mentoring and career development driving new collaborations and promote synergy in the field.