SILVERTHORNE, CO - July 19, 2012 - Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology is pleased to announce that it has received a fourth grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote discoveries that will solve urgent global health problems via support of infectious disease conferences in the "Keystone Symposia Global Health Series." The grant also funds Global Health Travel Awards for investigators from developing countries, a pre-meeting workshop for Travel Awardees, and registration costs for local participants at the conferences that are based in developing countries.
A Colorado, USA-based nonprofit organization, Keystone Symposia received three previous grants from the Foundation, beginning in 2004 and ending with the December 2012 conference on "Immunological Mechanisms of Vaccination" in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, which will be held following the conclusion of the Grand Challenges meeting for that program's grantees. Keystone Symposia typically holds one Global Health Series conference each year in conjunction with the Grand Challenges meeting.
The new grant will provide support for conferences in 2013, 2014 and 2015. It consists of $2.25 million in funding over three years - or $750,000 per year.
The five 2012-2013 season Keystone Symposia conferences funded by the new grant are: "Malaria" in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA in January 2013; "HIV Vaccines" in Keystone, Colorado, USA in February 2013; "Tuberculosis: Understanding the Enemy" in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada in March 2013; "Immune Activation in HIV Infection: Basic Mechanisms and Clinical Implications" in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA in April 2013 and "The Innate Immune Response in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease" in Ouro Preto, Brazil in May 2013. The latter will be the first conference for Keystone Symposia in Latin America.
More than half of the grant is used to fund Global Health Travel Awards for investigators, clinicians, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from developing countries where the health issues of the meeting topic are endemic. Without these awards, these individuals would not be able to attend the conferences and participate in the valuable knowledge-sharing and collaboration-building that result. To date, more than 1,100 individuals from at least 50 countries have participated in Keystone Symposia conferences as a result of Global Health Travel Awards.
A unique component of the Global Health Series meetings that the funding also supports is a pre-meeting workshop for Travel Awardees in which three to four speakers provide an overview of the field, its current status and primary challenges. This has proved enormously valuable to participants who may be more involved in field work and therefore not as close to the latest research.
The grant will also help fund some registration costs for local scientists, postdoctoral associates and students when the conferences are held in developing countries. This promotes sharing of the latest research advances with those on the frontlines of battling global health challenges. It also stimulates growth of the research enterprise in developing countries.
James Aiken, Chief Executive Officer of Keystone Symposia, expressed his deep appreciation for the grant: "The support from the Foundation is an essential base that we build upon to expand our global science educational activities and to enhance science capability worldwide."
Added Dr. David Woodland, Keystone Symposia's Chief Scientific Officer, "This partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promotes global scientific collaboration, elevates scientific capability in the developing world and accelerates the discovery of solutions to critical infectious disease problems, such as malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. A prominent feature of the Global Health Series is also to expose talented young trainees from around the world to cutting-edge infectious disease research with a view to developing the next generation of scientists that will tackle global health problems."
About Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology
Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been conducting internationally renowned, open scientific conferences since 1972 and has been headquartered in Summit County, Colorado since 1990, when the organization left the University of California at Los Angeles. Annually, Keystone Symposia holds more than 50 meetings involving more than 13,000 scientists from around the world. Registration fees are supplemented by generous monetary support from corporate, foundation and individual donors as well as government grants.
The organization is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012 and will convene 53 conferences in its 2012-2013 season. In addition to the Global Health Series conferences, other meetings cover topics such as aging, asthma and COPD, neurodegenerative disease, pulmonary vascular disease, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, nutrition and epigenetics, cancer, and the gut microbiome.