Meeting topic: The Hippo signalling pathway
Why is it important for this conference/topic to be included in the portfolio?
The study of developmental signals (e.g. Hedgehog and Wnt) has led to major leaps in our understanding of stem cell function, normal physiology and disease. The Hippo pathway not only defines final tissue size by controlling developmental growth, but is also key to specifying stem cell identity and proliferation, to regeneration and tissue repair, as well as numerous cell fate decisions. The meeting will provide a forum for new ideas and an opportunity for new investigators to enter the field.
Why is this the right time to develop this conference/topic?
Many major pharmaceutical companies are currently targeting the Hippo pathway. These drug development projects will be maturing in 2018, and would greatly benefit from input from the field. The timing is therefore ideal. Furthermore, this is the only major international conference on Hippo signaling (it has previously been held in 2013 and 2015) and is therefore crucial to encourage new collaborations.
What are the important concepts that will be included?
The field has only explored some of the potential functions of the Hippo pathway, and its relationships with other signalling pathways. Therefore, these relationships will be a central theme of the conference. The conference will also emphasize the fact that Hippo signaling sits at the interface between diverse inputs (cell-cell contacts, polarity, mechanical forces, and metabolism). This will attract scientists from developmental and stem cell biologists, systems biologist, biophysicists, and tissue engineers to clinicians.
Where do you recommend that the conference be held (country or continent)?
Given the current demographics of the field, we suggest North America as a venue, with Europe as an alternative choice.
What industry perspectives will be included in the conference (if relevant)?
There is increasing evidence, (e.g. YAP as a key mediator of resistance to Raf and MEK inhibitors), suggesting that Hippo pathway members are promising targets for tumor therapy and regenerative medicine. Potential therapeutic target molecules in these pathways will be highlighted in the conference.