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Immunotherapy journal cover imageFCE and regional researchers brought together in Santiago de Chile during May 15th-17th to present current scenarios and challenges in immunology. The Workshop "FOCIS goes South: Advances in Translational and Clinical Immunology" was organized by the FCE Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and gathered scientists from USA, France, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico, among others.

Read the success of 'FOCIS goes south: advances in translational and clinical immunology' in the Immunotherapy journal, VOL. 9, NO. 10

The inauguration ceremony of the Workshop was presided by the President of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Dr. Ignacio Sánchez, the Minister of Economy, Natalia Piergentili, Senator Guido Girardi, the Director of Energy, Science, Technology and Innovation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gabriel Rodríguez, FOCIS Multi-national FCE Chair, Dr.Ignacio Anegon, the Director of the Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy (MIII), Dr. Alexis Kalergis, Associate Researcher at MIII and one of the organizers of the Meeting, Dr. Pablo González.

The President of UC, Ignacio Sánchez highlighted the incorporation of the MIII as a FOCIS Center of Excellence in 2016, for its advances in the development of a vaccine against the respiratory syncytial virus, personalized therapies for melanoma and prostate cancer, a herpes simplex virus vaccine and a kit for detecting infectious diseases, among other achievements. He also mentioned the contribution of this Center of Excellence on the training of young scientists and the Center's outstanding scientific productivity.

FOCIS Multi-national FCE Chair Dr. Anegon pointed out that the integrated immunology studies carried out at MIII fall within international standard.

For the Minister Piergentili, endeavors like these reflect the efforts of the Government to develop public policies that invest in science. "A decision was made 15 years ago to support the best research groups in Chile, and for this purpose the scientific Millennium initiative was created, which is harbored within the Ministry of Economy of Chile. We are sure that a country not only needs economists, but also scientists and today we are seeing that the efforts of the latter are receiving international recognition for the quality of their work", said the government authority.

For Ambassador Gabriel Rodríguez, one of the greatest challenges for science in Chile is for it to establish roots in its culture. "The Millennium Initiative is a new way of conceiving collaboration within the scientific community of different universities. The MIII is such an example, by integrating the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Chile and Universidad Andrés Bello."

The inauguration of the international meeting concluded with the remarks of the Senator Guido Girardi, who highlighted the low investment that the country is currently performing on scientific matters, which makes it relinquish its future development. "It takes decision, will and culture to understand the world in which we are going to live in; Chile has to make a commitment towards innovation". Likewise, he appreciated the positive experience, resistance and obstinacy that researchers of the Millennium Institute have had on positioning science in the society. "

More than 350 scientists attended the meeting, with participants coming from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico, among other countries. Investigators from different FOCIS Centers of Excellence and Regional Research Centers presented at the Workshop sharing their latest findings to the scientific community. The activity also promoted the training of young researchers in flow cytometry with a Course on this technique.

To promote the training of young scientists in the field of immunology, the meeting was free of charge to trainees, such as undergraduates, PhD students and post-doctorates.

Information based on the article published in http://biologia.uc.cl/es/investigacion/bionoticias-investigacion/1173-instituto-milenio-de-inmunologia-e-inmunoterapia-organiza-primer-workshop-focis-en-latinoamerica by Jade Rivera Rossi, UC.