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Proteases play exceptionally diverse roles in regulating the biology of virtually all organisms. In fact they make up approximately 5% of all genes in any given genome. In the past, proteases were though of as the molecular ‘garbage disposal’ units of the cell that simply degrade proteins as a way to maintain general homeostasis. However, detailed studies of protease function over the past few decades has demonstrated that these enzymes are far more complex, playing many key roles as signaling molecules and regulators of essential cellular processes such as cell division, cell death and metabolism. Proteases are also often misregulated in human disease, making them common targets for efforts to develop clinically relevant therapy and diagnostic agents. Furthermore, a majority of human and plant pathogens use proteases to regulate infection and to trigger key aspects of pathogenesis. Therefore, a greater understanding of proteases coupled with development of strategies to monitor and alter their activity is likely to have significant positive impact on human health conditions such as thrombosis, cancer, hemophilia, inflammation and HIV. In this meeting, we will discuss recent advances in our understanding of proteases and their functions in both health and disease. This will include sessions focused on protease regulation of various aspects of cancer and inflammation as well as during the process of development and cell fate decision-making. In addition, a significant focus of the meeting will be new methods that can be used to track and inhibit protease activity on a molecular level for applications ranging from diagnostic imaging to therapeutic targeting. This will also include recent advances in the use of structural biology to understand not only individual proteases but also proteases that are part of larger complexes that can now be visualized using advances in high-resolution microscopy methods. As in past meetings, we will focus on new and unpublished results from leading scientists from around the world. We will also provide ample opportunity for young scientists to interact with the larger protease community and hope to welcome many newcomers to the field of protease research. A significant number of the talks will be selected from submitted abstracts, which we hope will help to broaden the reach of our primary topic areas. Finally, we are pleased to be directly associated with the corresponding Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) that will take place prior to the start of our conference. This will give students and postdocs additional opportunities to present their work and to interact with both junior and senior level scientists who share an interest in the study of proteases.