This two-day conference brings together world experts in issues of stem cell physiology and pathophysiology to thoroughly explore the diversity of GI stem cells and discuss biomarkers that may lead to earlier detection and more rational treatment of cancer stem cells. The conference highlights issues that are specific to individual organ systems and those that relate to general concepts of stem cell and progenitor cell biology. It allows investigators to compare and contrast progenitor cell populations in different organ systems. In addition, the conference addresses issues of cancer stem cell origin and the role of immune and paracrine regulators in modulating stem cell function. Sessions cover resident mucosal and cancer stem cells, as well as stem cells in the intestine, liver, pancreas and esophagus.