This conference has been deferred to 2023 due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check back soon for the 2023 schedule.
The lifecycle of a typical virus is a remarkable manifestation of evolutionary design. In many virus families, formation of an infectious virus requires that hundreds or thousands of proteins co-assemble with other components, without external guidance or control, into a particular three-dimensional structure. Viral particles must exit a host cell during or after assembly, target and infect new cells, and hijack cellular machinery of infected cells to manufacture the components for new viral particles. Some viruses completely redesign the interior of their host cell, creating new compartments and complex processes to transport components.
As such, virology requires understanding processes over a wide spectrum of complexity levels. At the global level, viral epidemiology depends on modes of transmission and social networks; at the cellular level viruses repurpose protein interaction networks and remodel cellular compartments; on the local level the assembly and disassembly of a virus is governed by (and reveals) physical principles. Viruses also bridge multiple scientific disciplines. In biomedicine, understanding viral lifecycles provides essential information for developing antiviral agents that block infection. In more fundamental sciences, viruses are ideal model systems for studying mechanisms underlying self-assembly, genome packaging and release, allostery, membrane dynamics, and the efficient passage of nanoscale particles through membranes. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for these cross-disciplinary approaches to understand viral biology, predict their global spread in impact, and develop new treatments. In addition to advancing antiviral strategies and cell biology, the knowledge acquired from these studies and the viral particles themselves are enabling researchers to engineer virus-based platforms for biomedical and nanomaterials applications, such as gene delivery or optoelectronics.
This natural diversity requires collaborative efforts of researchers with a wide range of expertise. Therefore, this conference brings together scientists and engineers from a spectrum of disciplines bridging basic and applied science, including material science, biology, physics, biochemistry, mathematics, biomedical engineering, computer science, and chemistry. To foster cross-disciplinary communication and identify complementary areas of expertise, sessions include speakers from different disciplines focusing on similar aspects of virology. Presentations about emerging science on COVID 19 are integrated into the sessions.
In addition to the GRC, a Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) is organized by graduate students for graduate students and post-docs. The GRS is held in conjunction with the GRC and incorporates the goals and diverse scientific background of the parental GRC.