The 4th Northeast Regional Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Program Meeting was held on August 10 - 12, 2011 at the picturesque seaside campus of Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. Nearly 200 individuals representing all 5 IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Programs and 17 Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Programs in Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont participated in the meeting. The meeting venue provided the attendees ample opportunities to share scientific discoveries and discuss issues of common interest in a relaxed environment, promoting new collaborations and solidifying existing ones. Welcoming remarks were provided by Dr. Zahir Shaikh, Director of the Rhode Island INBRE Program at the University of Rhode Island and meeting organizer; Sister Jane Gerety, President of Salve Regina University; Dr. Peter Alfonso, Vice President of Research and Economic Development at the University of Rhode Island; and Dr. Sidney McNairy, Director of the Division of Research Infrastructure, National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), National Institutes of Health. Opening night activities included IDeA Program updates by Dr. Yanping Liu, NCRR Program Officer for the COBRE Program and Dr. Fred Taylor, Director of the IDeA Program at NCRR. US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) also addressed the attendees and shared his views on biomedical research and its importance in innovative discoveries in healthcare and also in creating jobs in the US. The keynote speaker was Dr. Bruce Zetter, Charles Nowiszewski Professor of Cancer Biology at the Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston, and Harvard Medical School, who delivered a lecture on the treatment strategies for metastatic prostate cancer.