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Ribonucleic acid (RNA) binding proteins (RBPs) are rapidly being recognized as a major class of more than a thousand proteins that is widely conserved throughout eukaryotes and plays key roles in almost every aspect of RNA metabolism. RBPs interact with hundreds to thousands of coding and noncoding RNA substrates via cis-regulatory sequences or guided by associated small RNAs to form ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. Increasingly, defects in the protein-RNA interactions by mutations within the regulatory proteins, RNA cis-elements or changes in protein availability or expression have led to numerous diseases. This meeting addresses critical gaps in our basic understanding of how, where and why these RNP complexes form using approaches that integrate high-throughput, massively parallel microarray, sequencing and proteomic technologies with structural biology, genomics, systems-level thinking and computational algorithms to probe RNPs at steps in the life cycle of processing both coding and noncoding RNAs. The specific aims are to: (1) Provide an opportunity and forum to gather interdisciplinary leaders in various fields to cross-fertilize a common, shared vision; (2) Introduce newcomers to the most cutting-edge methods that integrate mechanistic studies and high-throughput science; and (3) Consolidate the field moving forwards. As this unified field is relatively new, we will see shifts in current research paradigms and many opportunities should arise from interactions at this meeting.