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Bratislav Stankovic braco_stankovic at ncsu.edu
Wed Jan 21 08:43:14 EST 1998


Evolution of Gravitational Sensing and Interaction with Other Sensory

JULY 12 - 17, 1998

Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH

(Michael L. Evans, Chair and Ruth Anne Eatock, Vice Chair)

This conference will be the last such conference of the 20th century and
this perspective has led us to select an evolutionary theme as our focus,
with a secondary theme of the overlapping of environmental response systems
as a consequence of evolution. The conference will begin with a
consideration of the physical limitations of gravisensing (quantitative
treatment) and then address gravisensing/response from simple to more
complex systems.  This will include talks on the nature of gravisensing and
response in microorganisms (bacteria/single celled eukaryotes) to
multicellular lower organisms to complex plants and animals. The theme will
include a consideration of the evolution of loadbearing structures both at
the cellular (cytoskeletal) level and the whole organism level. In addition
there will be symposia on the mechanisms of gravisensing and on the overlap
of gravisensing/response systems with other response systems (e.g.
gravitropism/phototropism interaction). We will extend the level of
complexity theme all the way to the influence of gravity on the evolution
of ecosystems with a novel symposium on astrobiology during which we will
consider how the strength of the gravitational force influences the
evolution of life and ecosystems.

List of general topics, speakers and tentative titles. Three remaining
speakers to be added.

(For additional information and instructions on registration procedure,
visit the Gordon Research Conferences web site at  http://www.grc.uri.edu/
or the web page for this particular conference at

Limits of Gravisensing

Paul Todd, Univ. of Colorado.  Physics of gravisensing

David Klaus, Univ. of Colorado.  Effects of microgravity on the development
of microorganisms

Evolution of Gravisensing/response Systems: Cytoskeleton/Extracellular
Matrix Interaction

Paul Blount, Univ. Texas Southwestern.  Bacterial mechanosensitive
channels, from genes to physiology

Mike Gustin, Rice Univ.  Stretch activated channels and osmosensing in yeast

Owen Hamill, Univ. of Texas, Galveston.  Stretch-activated channels

Richard Cyr, Penn State Univ.  BY cells as model systems for subcellular
effects of gravity

Evolution & Transduction Mechanisms in Load Bearing Systems

Karl Niklas, Cornell Univ.  Evolution of Load Bearing Systems in Plants

Zigmunt Hejnowicz, Silesian Univ.  Plant responses to mechanical stress

Teresa Nicolson, Max Planck Inst, Tubingen.  Mechanotransduction mutants in

Evolution/Genetics of Gravitropism and Mechanosensing 

Fred Sack, Ohio State Univ.  Evolution of gravisensing/response systems in

Monica Driscoll, Rutgers Univ.  Genetics and models of mechanotransduction
in the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans

Patrick Masson, Univ. Wisconsin.  Genetics of Arabidopsis gravitropism

Maurice Kernan, SUNY Stoneybrook.  Using Drosophila mutants to find the
molecular bases of mechanotransduction

Primitive graviresponse systems/specialized mechanosensors

Ruth Hemmersbach, Inst. Aerospace Medicine, Koln.  Graviorientation in

David Corey, Harvard Univ.  Genetic approaches to the inner ear in mouse
and man

David Cove, Univ. of Leeds, England.  Gravitropism and phototropism in moss

Cellular level systems/specialized mechanosensors

Peter Gillespie, Johns Hopkins. Medical Inst.  Molecular and biophysical
approaches to transduction and adaptation in vertebrate hair cells 

Klaus Palme, Max Planck Inst., Cologne.  Molecular characterization of the
auxin transport carrier

Guy Richardson, Univ. Sussex, England.  Development of hair cell epithelia

Elmar Weilar, Ruhr Univ., Germany.  Mechanosensing and calcium channels in


Donna Fekete, Purdue Univ. Development of the inner ear

Andrew Staehelin, Univ. Colorado.  Morphology of gravisensing cells in the
root columella

Bernd Fritzsch, Creighton Univ.  Mechanisms that guide and maintain proper
connections between the inner ear and the brain

Elison Blancaflor, Penn State Univ.  Selective laser ablation of
gravisensing cells in roots of Arabidopsis

Genetics and Sensory Systems

Terri Lomax, Oregon State Univ.  Gravitropism response mutants and auxin
transport patterns

Jay Goldberg, Univ. of Chicago.  Why do amniote vestibular organs have type
I hair cells?

Roger Hangarter, Indiana Univ.  Interactions between phytochromes and
gravitropic response systems in Arabidopsis

Dora Angelaki, Univ. Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.  How does the
brain distinguish gravity from linear acceleration?

Astrobiology -- Gravity and Evolution, the Big Picture

Jack Cohen, Univ. of Warwick, England.  Evolution and extraterrestrial life

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