Vanderbilt to host seventh international conference on tetraspanin scaffolding

Experts from around the world will come to Vanderbilt June 18-21 for the seventh international summer research conference to discuss the role of tetraspanins and related membrane scaffolding proteins in biology and disease.

Much of the communication that takes place between a cell and its environment is performed by transmembrane proteins. The availability and activity of these transmembrane proteins is controlled in large part by their organization into large molecular domains by membrane scaffolding proteins such as tetraspanins and claudins. Tetraspanins are involved in a multitude of biological processes ranging from synaptic contacts at neuromuscular junctions to epithelial integrity, T-cell activation and cancer metastasis.

The bi-annual conference has been organized for 13 years, frequently alternating with its European counterpart. This year the conference is being organized by Andries Zijlstra, assistant professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology and cancer biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, together with Jatin Vyas, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although previously organized with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in remote locations, this year the meeting was moved to the Vanderbilt campus to take advantage of scientific synergy on a major medical campus and to adapt to an increasingly financially challenging environment, Zijlstra explained.

“The genuinely collaborative environment of the institution, convenient access to Nashville from the perspective of international travel and the economy of hosting locally made it a very attractive choice,” he said.

Presentations will be held in Light Hall, Room 202, June 19, 20 and 21. Event details and the scientific program can be viewed online. Individuals interested in attending are encouraged to register. Abstracts for poster presentations will be accepted until June 14.

For full details, visit

Contact: Andries Zijlstra, (615) 322-3295