Twelfth Annual Mark Wilson Conference

February 8–11, 2013 Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, San Juan, Puerto Rico


2013 Meeting Information

Meeting registrations, hotel reservations, and requests to speak are due by January 7, 2013.

  • Register for the conference The conference registration fee is $300 and includes one companion. Additional companions cost $50 each. Companions are invited to all meals.
  • Request to speak by sending the title of your presentation to conference coordinator Jacob Burks. Presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes. A few minutes for questions and discussion will follow each 10 minute presentation.
  • Reserve your room at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza Use this link to reserve your room. Please do not reserve your room directly with the hotel or you will not get a room in the conference block or our special pricing and your stay will not be credited to the conference.
The cut-off date for room reservations is January 7, 2013. After this date we cannot guarantee you will get a room in the conference block or at the conference rate. Rooms are $199/night plus 11% room tax, 14% resort fee, and 1% municipal tax. Additionally, there will be a $5.25 per person, round trip bellman’s fee and a $0.50 per person, per day maids’ gratuity. Both the bellman and maids services are subject to 6% state tax and 1% municipal tax.  (All taxes and resort/service fees subject to change.) The conference room rate is available 3 days before and 3 days after the conference, based upon availability.

More 2013 Mark Wilson Conference information:

Please direct inquiries to Meeting Coordinator Jacob Burks, M.B.A.


2013 Invited Speakers

“Nets and Harpoons: Mechanisms of Protection by Epithelial Defensins”

Charles L. Bevins, M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
University of California, Davis, School of Medicine

The Bevins Lab is focused on the role of epithelial defensins in bolstering barrier function and mediating host-microbe interaction at mammalian mucosal surfaces. Epithelial defensins are fundamental effector molecules of innate immunity that both help defend from infectious disease and shape the composition of colonizing microbiota. Dr. Bevins’ research team has helped lead the field of defense peptide research for over 20 years. Dr. Bevins has served as Principal Investigator of NIH-funded studies in this area continuously since 1991, and in 2001, he Co-chaired a Gordon Conference for this field. Dr. Bevins conducted his post-doctoral research at the NIH under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Zasloff, a discoverer of magainin antimicrobial peptides in frog skin and pioneer in the field of host defense peptides. In his first faculty position (1989), the Bevins laboratory drew credit for two major discoveries. First, they unveiled a surprising diversity in the family of human a-defensins using a molecular strategy they developed. The strategy enabled his group to discover two a-defensins, HD5 and HD6, which are both expressed in the crypts of the human small intestine. Their collaborative studies on HD5 and HD6 have since included analysis of in vivo functions, including protection from enteric pathogens, and, for HD5, in shaping the composition of the commensal microbiota. The Bevins group also determined the mechanism of precursor processing for these peptides, and helped elucidate the involvement of Paneth cell defensins in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease and necrotizing enterocolitis. Second, the Bevins’ group discovered in 1991, the first b-defensin, which was originally called Tracheal Antimicrobial Peptide (TAP). In collaboration with Dr. Gill Diamond, they isolated, purified, sequenced and cloned this peptide using a functional assay and characterized its inducible expression by airway epithelial cells. TAP was the first isolated mammalian antimicrobial peptide of epithelial origin and was the index peptide for what is now known to be a large family peptides called b-defensins, which are expressed at many mucosal sites.

  • Dr. Bevin’s Faculty Profile

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“Gut mucosal colonization and pathogenicity by Campylobacter jejuni

Victor J. DiRita, Ph.D.

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Michigan

Research in the DiRita lab is aimed at understanding the molecular biology of bacterial pathogens and the mechanisms by which they interact with hosts. Dr. DiRita’s research team studies two gut microbes, Vibrio cholerae, agent of human cholera, and Campylobacter jejuni, a prevalent foodborne pathogen that causes gastroenteritis and diarrhea. Their Vibrio work aims to understand the regulatory pathway that controls the two major pathogenicity determinants of the microbe, cholera toxin, and the toxin-coregulated pilus. They study regulatory proteins that work in concert to control expression of these two factors and thereby control the virulence of the microbe. Dr. DiRita and his team have also investigated the determinants for recognition and uptake of V. cholerae by intestinal M cells, a key aspect of the early immune response against this pathogen.

Campylobacter jejuni is a common inhabitant of the intestinal tract of chickens, which are therefore an important reservoir of human infection. Dr. DiRita and his research team developed and applied many genetic and molecular tools to study key traits of C. jejuni. In a screen for mutants defective in chick colonization they identified genes encoding a system of protein glycosylation, and regulatory genes that may control the levels of important second messenger signals in the microbe during host colonization. They analyzed the early events in chicken innate immune recognition of C. jejuni, with the goal of understanding how this human pathogen can establish a long-term, benign association with chickens. A major aim of this work is to uncover knowledge about key traits needed for chick colonization, and to translate that into methods for controlling infection of this important food source.

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About the Oral Immunology/Microbiology Research Group

The Oral Immunology/Microbiology Research Group (OIMRG) had its first meeting in 1991. It was founded as a means of promoting intimate, collegial interaction and collaboration among researchers interested in the immunology and microbiology of the oral cavity, particularly as related to oral diseases (dental caries and periodontal disease). The OIMRG is currently comprised of 174 investigators representing forty-eight universities, research centers, and commercial organizations in the U.S. and abroad.

The OIMRG convenes annually for a meeting that consists of three scientific sessions, each focusing on a distinct area of oral immunology and microbiology. It is primarily, but not exclusively, through the annual meeting that the objectives of the OIMRG are achieved. These objectives include the following:

  1. To foster interaction and collaboration among scientists interested in oral immunology and microbiology;
  2. To promote information exchange and collaboration between academicians and their colleagues in the private sector who are engaged in basic and clinical studies pertaining to oral health and disease;
  3. To provide a forum through which new independent investigators establish contact with representatives of federal and non-federal agencies which may be potential sources of funding for future studies.

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About the Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the OIMRG is also known as the Mark Wilson Conference, named in honor of its founder the late Mark Wilson, 1950–2000. The meeting is consistently held over a long weekend during late January or early February. The 23rd annual meeting of the OIMRG is scheduled for February 8–11, 2013 at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The scientific sessions run from 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. This year’s topics are:

  • Saturday: Pathogenic Mechanisms Utilized by Oral Pathogens
  • Sunday: Microbial & Host Factors in Disease
  • Monday: Host Response to Oral Pathogens

Each session begins with a keynote address by an invited lecturer. Small group breakout sessions for continuing scientific discussions from the morning are held in the afternoons.

The meeting starts on a Friday evening with a reception. Breakfast is served prior to each session. A dinner banquet is held on Sunday evening. All meals (reception, three breakfasts, and dinner banquet) are included in the registration fee and registrants are welcome to bring one guest to each meal. Additional guests are welcome at an additional charge, which must be paid at the time of conference registration.

Meeting director: Ann Progulske-Fox, Ph.D.

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