About the Event
In 2006 we initiated the Summit series with a conference that had a biomedical focus on clinical and translational research. In 2007 we broadened the approach and included parallel sessions for basic research and translational or clinical research. We received NIH funding for the 2007 conference from NCI, NIEHS and NHLBI. In 2009, the theme was The Microbial World and Beyond. In 2011, the theme was Molecular Networks and Disease. During the course of the 2011 Molecular Networks and Disease conference, we tested the idea of an aging-related Systems Biology Summit by having one session on systems biology and aging. The response was very positive, with the aging session receiving high marks. Consequently, we have decided to proceed with a full conference on the topic. Each conference has been considered an outstanding success, and for 2013, we wish to pursue a specific focus on the systems biology of aging. We will hold the Fifth Summit on Systems Biology: Systems Biology of Aging, October 17-18, 2013, in historic Richmond, Virginia, located two hours south of Washington, D.C. off Interstate 95. The conference will have a major focus on research into the genetic and molecular factors involved in aging and the interactions among them.
In addition to the funding provided by the NIH, the 2007 conference was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Nature Publishing Group, Biogen-Idec Innovation Incubator, Philip Morris USA, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Science, the College of William and Mary, Illumina, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, George Mason University, Roche, Applied Biosystems, Beckman Coulter, Systems Biology Special Interest Group, the University of Virginia, GeneGo Inc., Clark Enterprises, Inc., the University of Mississippi Medical Center, VCU Life Sciences, VCU College of Humanities & Sciences, VCU School of Medicine, VCU School of Engineering, VCU School of Pharmacy, Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, and the Virginia Biosciences Development Center. This conference established considerable momentum and was extremely well-received. The 2007 conference was sold out, registration being cut off at over 300. The 2009 conference focused on microbial systems with a workshop on gene networks and disease. This was also a highly successful conference with engagement of our state and regional institutions as partners in the conference. The 2011 conference was also very successful on the topic of Molecular Networks and Disease.
While the original work in the field of systems biology of aging occurred in the early 1980’s with the nearly simultaneous and independent publications of Koltover, Gavrilov and Witten, little experimental data was then available to test the predictions of their theoretical constructions. It has only been since the advent of databases such as KEGG, the SAGE Gene Database and other publically available database systems that we have been able to actually construct longevity gene-protein networks. And, as a result, we are now able to test some of the past theoretical predictions in the field of the biology of aging. The first workshop to bring systems biology of aging to the fore occurred at the Santa Fe Institute in 2007. It brought together many of the then known leaders in the field of the biology to meet with a small cadre of mathematicians and physicists to discuss the "Complexities of Aging in Biological Systems." Similar workshops were held in 2008 and 2009 at Arizona State University and NIH-NIA under the title of "Systems Biology in Human Aging." The most recent Systems Biology of Human Aging 2010 was held at Drexel University. The PI of this R13 proposal was the invited raconteur for the 2010 meeting. While this meeting series is not part of a series of periodic meetings sponsored by a permanent sponsoring organization, its ongoing existence certainly establishes its importance and the desire of the scientific community to continue the dialogue that has been established in this field.