This SRC is focused on protein aggregation, which plays central roles in health and in disease and a converged understanding of these dual roles is absolutely essential if we are to understand the emergence of biological complexity and the onset and progression of devastating systemic and neurodegenerative diseases. Importantly, protein aggregation and aggregates are also central in numerous biological functions as is evidenced in the growing number of accounts of functional aggregates and their roles in fungi, bacteria, and in the innate immune system of humans. Recent studies have highlighted the role of phase separation driven by a form of protein aggregation that gives rise to functional, non-stoichiometric assemblies, known as membraneless organelles.
The intent of this meeting is to bring together scientists working on biophysical and biological aspects of protein aggregation and connect physical understand of aggregation to its biological consequences in post mitotic cells. The conference will begin with keynote talks by two leading figures, Dr. Virginia Lee and Dr. Sheena Radford. Their talks will highlight the translational aspects and biophysical underpinnings of protein aggregation.
The remainder of the conference will be organized around specific thematic sessions that focus on specific proteins or collections of proteins and work up to uncovering the impact of protein aggregation on cellular processes and disease states. This conference will span a range of topics. These include a discussion of emerging technologies to study protein aggregation in vitro and in cells, advancements in our understanding of cellular stresses induced by protein aggregation, our ability to target the stress response pathways therapeutically as a route to finding cures for devastating neurological and systemic diseases, routes that connect aggregation mechanisms and specific aggregates to disease, methods to target aggregation or particular species in order to cure disease, the emerging synergy between protein aggregation and phase separation in the context of form liquid-like membraneless bodies within cells, and the functional role of protein aggregates, a theme that continues to be paradigm shifting in biology. Taken together these sessions will give the participants an integrative view of protein aggregation and the impact it has on health and disease.
The cross-disciplinary nature of the conference is accentuated by the program, which brings together biophysicists, structural biologists, and bioengineers with cell biologists and clinical scientists.