UT Health Science Center Hosts Pigment Cell Research Conference

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From September 4 to 7, the Hamilton Eye Institute and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UTHSC will host the 15th PanAmerican Society for Pigment Cell Research (PASPCR) conference.

For all too many Americans talking openly about skin color is still an uncomfortable subject. In early September, 150 scientists are expected to talk frankly and in depth about skin pigmentation for four days straight. From September 4 to 7, Hamilton Eye Institute and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will host the 15th PanAmerican Society for Pigment Cell Research (PASPCR) conference. (Please visit http://paspcr.med.umn.edu/PASPCR2009meeting.pdf.)

The PASPCR conference theme is “The Pigmentary System: Securing a Place Under the Sun,” and the program will represent a unique blend of basic, translational and clinical science. The event is open to dermatologists, pathologists, ophthalmologists, basic science researchers from both academic and industrial backgrounds, plus residents and students interested in current problems in pigment cell research. The conference will be held at the UTHSC Hamilton Eye institute, 930 Madison, 3rd floor, in Memphis.

Topics during the conference will include melanin pigmentation in humans and the animal kingdom, pigmentary disorders, melanoma biology, and clinic, cutaneous and systemic effects of solar radiation. The conference provides an opportunity for physicians and scientists, as well as specialists from related health care fields, to learn about new advances in pigment cell biology within such areas as neurobiology, endocrinology, immunology, photobiology and cancer research. The central objective of the PASPCR conference is to provide a forum for researchers and clinicians to share information on skin pigmentation. The conference will update investigators on the most novel findings in the field of pigment cell research and the clinical advances in skin disease treatment.

“Within the vast field of medicine and science, pigmentation is a growing area of interest. The theme of this meeting, therefore, touches on unique facets of life sciences and health care, from the environmental effects of solar radiation, health disparities and pigmentary disorders, to the inheritance of skin coloration and sociobiology,” said Andrzej Slominski, MD, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UT Health Science Center. “These topics share conjoined areas of interest that allow basic researchers and clinicians to communicate novel and unpublished data, and treatment outcomes. Importantly, realizing that pigmentation is also linked with the racial and ethnic background, the PASPCR conference opens the necessary space for discussion on health and social issues.”

Dr. Slominski observed, “It is a genuine privilege for Hamilton Eye Institute and the UT Health Science Center to host this meeting, which will attract distinguished scientists and clinicians who are leaders in their corresponding fields of science and medicine.” The conference will draw participants from across the United States and Canada, as well as from Japan, Europe and Asia.

Conference speakers will include presenters from several prestigious health care and academic institutions including the University of Alabama; Boston University; University of California Irvine; Emory University; University of Pennsylvania; Stanford University, University of Texas; Yale University, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in addition to several UTHSC researchers. The event is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, the Amway Corporation, L’Oreal, Memphis Dermatology Clinic, Proctor and Gamble, Avon Products, Inc., and Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. Methodist Healthcare designates this educational activity for a maximum of 26 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. For more details, visit http://paspcr.med.umn.edu/PASPCR2009meeting.pdf.