9th International Conference on Tularemia
This proposal seeks support for the 9th International Conference on Tularemia, which will be held from October 16 - 19, 2018, in Montreal, Canada. Tularemia is a rapidly progressive and potentially fatal zoonosis of humans caused by the intracellular bacterial pathogen, Francisella tularensis. Because of its low infectious dose and lethality when inhaled, F. tularensis was developed as a bioweapon by three countries, and remains a potential bioterroist agent. Research and understanding of tularemia pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention have been significantly advanced by the International Conferences on Tularemia, the first of which was held in Umea, Sweden in 1995. Attendance and impact of this triennial series of meetings has grown steadily in subsequent years. At present, this conference is a unique venue that brings together scientists and interested parties from the U.S., Canada, Scandinavia, Europe, Russia, and Japan. Notably, FDA has an ongoing interest in and commitment to facilitating development of medical countermeasures for bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases. Advancing development of medical countermeasures is an explicit goal of this meeting. Research scientists, clinicians, and trainees at all levels attend; attendees with knowledge and interests outside the Francisella community per se also bring perspective and instructive comparisons. To advance scientific research and promote public health, the conference is designed to provide an environment that fosters collaboration and a free exchange of ideas. Highlights from past meetings include announcing the discoveries of the Francisella pathogenicity island (FPI); the Type VI secretion system encoded by the FPI; development of new animal models; detailed genomic and proteomic characterizations that inform epidemiology of disease and development of new therapeutic options; and identification of immune evasion strategies of the bacterium that advance vaccine development. Continuing with this strong track record of success, the 2018 conference will include a keynote address as well as six plenary sessions, poster previews (flash talks) and three poster sessions, and additional opportunities for networking during shared meals and social activities. The six plenary sessions will focus attention on and highlight the latest advances in diagnosis and treatment of human tularemia, vaccine development, host responses to infection, epidemiology and bacterial ecology, bacterial physiology and gene regulation, and pathogenesis and cell biology. Each plenary session will be chaired by scientists who are recognized leaders in the field. As a means to feature the most up-to-date and exciting science, over 90% of speakers will be selected based on the merit of submitted abstracts. This structure will also provide maximum presentation opportunities to trainees and early career investigators. To achieve these goals, we seek support for meeting logistics that will allow dissemination of research findings as well as professional development of attendees. Specifically, we request support for rental of presentation equipment (audiovisual services and poster boards), conference management and web site development, and travel support for attendees with financial and educational needs.