Phagocytes—of which the macrophage is the prototypical cell but which also include a variety of other cell types such as microglia, dendritic cells, fibroblasts, and osteoclasts—play a broad role in host homeostasis in addition to host defense. Their roles include underappreciated functions in development and aging, tissue remodeling during morphogenesis, repair, and malignancy.
2016 marks the centenary of the death of Elie Metchnikoff, the Russian scientist who first discovered phagocytes. This centenary coincides with a surge of new molecular and cellular information about phagocytes that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries. This renewed interest in phagocytes provides an ideal starting point for a meeting of cell biologists, immunologists, and developmental biologists interested in further exploring the phagocyte’s fundamental role in tissue biology, identifying gaps in our current knowledge, and defining disease pathways, beginning with infection and inflammation and extending beyond. The projected program will provide an in-depth analysis of a wide range of topics not covered in any meeting hitherto or planned for the coming years.