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FOCIS Update

FOCIS Board of Directors

FOCIS President
Robert Nussenblatt

FOCIS Vice President
Frank Nestle

FOCIS Secretary/Treasurer
Matthias von Herrath

Past President
Abul Abbas

Amit Bar-Or
Timothy Niewold
Scott Plevy
Elaine Reed
William Robinson
Megan Sykes 

Compliance Officer
Jordan Pober

Steering Committee
Richard Blumberg
Robert Colbert
Barbara Detrick
Robert Fairchild
Edward Knol
Vijay Kuchroo
Hakon Leffler
Stefan Meuer
Gerald Neprom
Robert Nussenblatt
Raegan O'Lone
Elaine Reed
Bart Roep
Lanny Rosenwasser
Daniel Rotrosen
Brad Rovin
Megan Sykes
Jo Viney
Matthias von Herrath
Vicky Werth
Takashi Yamamura

Executive Director
Sarah Martis

FOCIS Update is published four times a year by the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. All editorial communications should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Letter from the President

NussenblattDear Colleagues,

It is with great anticipation for the future of immunology that I begin my term as the new FOCIS President, especially on the heels of FOCIS 2013 which was in every way demonstrative of the value of FOCIS. FOCIS 2013 welcomed more than 860 people to the Boston Seaport, June 27-30 who attended 68 presentations ranging on topics from Targeting Signaling Pathways in Inflammatory Disease to Microbiome and Immune Development. Fourteen societies joined together to program 7 interdisciplinary sessions on the first day of the meeting. Our partners in industry, Beckman Coulter and BD Biosciences offered lunchtime workshops on their latest technologies and we had a bustling exhibit hall with 21 displays.

FOCIS 2013 also played host to the many communities that make FOCIS a diverse and valuable organization including the FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE), a network of interdisciplinary academic medical centers who bring the FOCIS spirit to life in over 69 FOCIS-designated centers around the world. The FOCIS Steering Committee comprised of the leaders of the 54 FOCIS Member Societies met to discuss enhanced exchanges with the FOCIS societies including the exciting offer to hold FOCIS sessions at society meetings. Keep an eye out for FOCIS at your next specialty society meeting! There was also a Cytome Meeting, a gathering of the key stakeholders in the immune phenotyping community including the FOCIS Human ImmunoPhenotyping Consortium (HIP-C), Immune Tolerance Network, FlowCAP and the NIAID who discussed next steps in the standardization of immune phenotyping with the ultimate goal of being able to share data across multiple centers. FOCIS also introduced the Communities of Practice (COP), a home for FOCIS members to gather and collaborate under the broad themes of Allergy, Neuroscience, Immunology, Cancer, Laboratory Medicine/Environmental Sciences, GI/Rheumatology/Dermatology/Endocrinology, and Transplant/Genetics. Suggestions from the COPs are filtered directly to the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Committee to assist in selecting topics and speakers for the next annual meeting.

These forums for stellar education and diverse collaboration are what FOCIS brings to the medical and scientific research community. There is no other place like FOCIS where you can make discoveries that are key to your area of expertise by drawing parallels from seemingly unrelated topics. FOCIS Co-Founder, David Hafler summed it up best when he tells the story of just prior to beginning FOCIS he, a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis, gave a diabetes presentation at the American College of Rheumatology meeting. This innovative cross-disciplinary approach is producing the next leaders in medicine and research. We hope that you will continue to participate with FOCIS as we grow and evolve. Make sure to save the date for next year’s annual meeting, FOCIS 2014, June 25-28 in Chicago, Illinois. Here’s to the future!

Kind regards,
Nussenblatt  Signature

Robert Nussenblatt, MD
FOCIS President

FOCIS Leadership Acknowledgements

FOCIS gratefully acknowledges the time, commitment and dedication of its leadership. We thank the departing leaders for their service and welcome our new leaders:

Incoming Leadership:
  • Robert Nusssenblatt – President 2013-2015
  • Frank Nestle – Vice President 2013-2015
  • Megan Sykes – Board of Directors 2013-2015

Outgoing Leadership:

  • Abul Abbas – President 2011-2013
  • Jonathan Braun – Past President 2011-2013
  • Andrew Lichtman – Board of Directors 2008-2013
  • Jane Buckner – Board of Directors 2011-2013
  • Holden Maecker – Ex-Officio Board of Directors 2010-2013
  • J. Philip McCoy – Ex-Officio Board of Directors 2010-2013

FOCIS 2013 Ends on a High Note

Thank you to everyone who participated in FOCIS 2013, June 27-30 in Boston, Massachusetts. 860 attendees, 400 abstracts and 29 sessions culminated in an exceptional translational conference for sharing knowledge and speeding progress in the field of human immunology. Special thanks to the FOCIS 2013 Scientific Program Committee for their time and talent in putting together a stellar lineup of topics and speakers.

Scientific Program Committee:

Sci Prgm Cmte
  • Steve Ziegler, PhD - Co-Chair
  • Mark Anderson, MD, PhD - Co-Chair
  • Jane Buckner, MD - Abstract Co-Chair
  • David Rawlings, MD - Abstract Co-Chair
  • Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD
  • Richard Blumberg, MD
  • Barbara Detrick, PhD
  • Andrew Luster, MD, PhD
  • Frank Nestle, MD
  • Robert Nussenblatt, MD
  • Virginia Pascual, PhD
  • William Robinson, MD, PhD


Abul video 6.27.13
FOCIS President (2011-2013) Abul K. Abbas encourages repeat attendance at the FOCIS annual meeting.

Claim Your CME certificate icon

In order to receive a CME certificate or certificate of attendance please complete the evaluation for the day(s) you attended FOCIS 2013 by clicking the links below. You will be asked to indicate if you wish to receive a certificate at the end of the survey.

View Photos from FOCIS 2013 camera icon

Thank You to Our Industry Partners and Member Society Symposia Hosts!

FOCIS is grateful for the support of the many companies and organizations that allow us to program the meeting for translational immunology, as well as the educational courses that bookend the meeting.

FOCIS 2013 and FOCISed Major Supporters:
Major Supporters

FOCIS 2013 and FOCISed Contributing Supporters:

Member Society Symposia Hosts:
Member Society Symposia Hosts

Lupus Plays a Featured Role at FOCIS 2013: Mark Schlomchik Receives First Annual Lupus Insight Prize

 DSC8557Dr. Mark Shlomchik was presented with the first annual Lupus Insight Prize on June 27 at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS 2013). With the award funds, Dr. Shlomchik will investigate the connection between the death of neutrophils, the body’s most abundant white blood cells, and lupus. There are many ways by which cells die, and it is possible that the way in which neutrophils die can affect whether their death stimulates an autoimmune response, like that which occurs in lupus. Many researchers believe lupus is the result of an abnormal immune response to dying cells. More than 70 billion neutrophil cells die per day, raising the question of how the body disposes of so many dead blood cells without having its immune system stimulated by them.

When neutrophils are activated by infection, they use a molecule called NADPH oxidase to fight the infection. It was thought that activation of this molecule, however, would cause these neutrophils to die in a way that promotes an autoimmune response.

8279-RetouchedHowever, to the surprise of most lupus researchers, Dr. Shlomchik discovered that lupus-prone mice that are missing NADPH oxidase have markedly worse disease—the opposite of the original theory. Strikingly, even mice lacking one copy of the gene also had more severe disease. Of great interest, boys who lack the X-chromosome linked gene for NADPH oxidase, and their mothers, who lack just one copy of the gene, also have a greatly increased incidence of lupus, suggesting a connection between mouse and man.

From these results, Dr. Shlomchik has developed a new theory about how neutrophil cell death might connect to lupus. He will use the Lupus Insight Prize money to test this theory and delve into the mechanism of this surprising and fascinating finding. He will create new animal models that have neutrophils lacking NADPH oxidase and then will test them for incidence and severity of lupus. The outcomes of these studies could illuminate the well-known but mysterious connection between lupus onset and lupus flares with episodes of infection.

FOCIS looks forward to hosting the Lupus Insight Prize session again at FOCIS 2014, June 25-28 in Chicago, Illinois. The Lupus Insight Prize is sponsored by the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR), the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), and the Lupus Research Institute (LRI). For more information please visit the Lupus Insight Prize page.

CGFFF logo smlTomohiro Koga, MD, PhD, Named First Annual C. Garrison Fathman Fellows Fund Trainee Travel Award Winner

KogaCongratulations to the winner of the first annual C. Garrison Fathman Fellows Fund (CGFFF) Trainee Travel Award, Tomohiro Koga, MD, PhD, Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard Medical School! Dr. Koga was recognized at the Opening Reception of FOCIS 2013 for his achievements. The CGFFF was established by the FOCIS Foundation to accelerate the future of medicine by expanding access to research and development of new treatments for immune-based diseases.

Your contribution allows the CGFFF to continue and strengthen our efforts to provide trainees and fellows the opportunity to attend FOCIS Annual Meetings, educational courses and participate in exchange programs that advance human health through immunology.


Save the Date 2014

Abstract Submission, Registration and Housing Open In November 2013!

ePub juneFOCIS Members Benefit from the Latest in Translational Immunology News

The newest installation of the members-only publication, Translational Immunology Update was released on June 17. Titles from this issue include:

  • Th1-like Innate Lymphoid Cells Accumulate in the Intestinal Lesions of Patients with Crohn’s Disease
  • T Follicular Helper-like Cells Appear in the Circulation and Lead to a Burst of Anti-viral Antibody Production by Memory T Cells Following Influenza Vaccination
  • Open Access Systems Immunology and Vaccinology
  • Evaluation B Cell Tolerance Checkpoints of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Armed and Waiting: Role of CDαα+T Cells in Regulation of Human Herpes Virus Infection
  • Identification of T Regulatory Type 1 Cell-specific Surface Markers
  • Potential Vaccination Approach for Diverting Natural Immunodominance and Targeting More Diverse T Cell Epitopes
  • Detection and Analysis of Rare Events by Flow Cytometry
  • Innate Lymphoid Cells: New Awareness of Some Old Players in Immunity and Disease

The titles from each publication are available for viewing on the FOCIS homepage. To view the full text, login to the Members Only portal on the FOCIS homepage and enter your FOCIS member information. 

Membership ad 

Member Forum: Communitites of Practice

FOCIS is excited to introduce a new initiative, Communities of Practice (COP), which was created with the goal of empowering and involving FOCIS societies and individual members in the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Development, and to increase interdisciplinary communication between societies. In addition to directly influencing the FOCIS annual meeting program, benefits of COP membership include career enhancement, opportunities for leadership and interaction with colleagues from different areas. Please note you must be a member of FOCIS to join a COP.

COP FlowChart for website

Click here to view the results of the recent COP leadership election.

Ready to join?

  1. Login to your FOCIS account.
  2. Click on the Profile Tab
  3. Click on Edit/View information
  4. Select/multi-select the COPs you would like to join
  5. Click save

Not a FOCIS member yet? join today, and select the COPs you are interested in at the same time!

 FOCISed Online graphic

Save the Date: 2014 FOCIS Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology

Advanced Course Registration

February 23-27, 2014
FireSky Resort & Spa
Scottsdale, Arizona

This popular course has sold out each year in its seven year history, so plan to register early! To get a feeling for the course content visit the FOCISed online portal and check out last year’s course: Free to FOCIS members.

Lectures cover innate immunity, B cells, T cells, dendritic cells, cytokines and mucosal immunity. Other topics include autoimmune, allergic and immunodeficiency diseases, as well as new advances in interventional clinical immunology and the molecular and genetic basis of immunologically-mediated diseases.

Numerous opportunities for student/faculty interaction are inherent within the structure, making the course uniquely valuable. Additional benefits to attendees in 2014 include:

  • Reduced registration for FOCIS members
  • 21 hours of CME credit
  • One free afternoon to enjoy sunny Scottsdale, 75°F in March!
  • Multiple opportunities to network with course faculty during meals and breaks

Entrepreneurs in Clinical Academia (ECA)Entrepreneurs in Clinical Academia (ECA) – The Countdown Begins!

The first ever ECA course starts in just over 2 months at the INSEAD campus in Fontainebleau, France, and the final arrangements are being made to make sure it continues to be a great success. The number of applications received for this pilot course was overwhelming, and it is hoped that the enthusiasm and ambition seen in each of the successful candidates will help to create an active, thought-provoking and valuable week on the course.

The course focuses on the elements and skills necessary to take innovative research from laboratories to the market. Understanding the business potential of research, obtaining and defending intellectual property, assessing its financial value, and developing and pitching a business plan for investors and partners are among the key topics that will be covered during the course. The candidates will be working in groups throughout the week to develop a business plan, using key insights from the various sessions presented by the faculty, and these experts will provide valuable feedback to the candidates following their pitches on the last day of the course.

The ECA website has been updated to show each of the 21 candidates who have been accepted to attend the ECA 2013 course, providing a short biography and description of their research focus; the candidates are from various research backgrounds and vary in terms of their level of experience, helping to ensure that the course brings together a diverse knowledge in order to improve business acumen and gain a better understanding of the pharmaceutical development process. More information on the course and the successful candidates can be found on the ECA website.

Following the success that the ECA 2013 course has seen so far, it will be continuing in 2014! If you are interested in applying for the course next year or know of an eligible candidate, please keep an eye on the ECA website for more information regarding applications. The course is solely supported by Celgene, a biopharmaceutical company closely aligned with the goals of FOCIS to improve translation of scientific ideas and observations into therapeutics and benefits for patients with immune and inflammatory diseases. FOCIS is able to fund the course tuition fees, on site accommodation and transport for each candidate thanks to an educational grant from Celgene. One of the world’s leading graduate business schools and a pioneer of international business education, INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France) will also be delivering the course in 2014.

Steps Towards Standardization: FOCIS Human ImmunoPhenotyping Consortium (HIP-C)

HIP-CThe FOCIS HIP-C was created in 2010 with the goals of standardizing the immunophenotyping of peripheral blood leukocytes. Standardization will permit comparable data to be generated among different sites and across multiple studies, and thus facilitate the generation of a database of standardized immunophenotyping data in healthy and diseased cohorts, to mine for disease biomarkers. The FOCIS HIP-C, led by Holden Maecker, Stanford University and Phil McCoy, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, has designed a set of 8-color antibody panels for immunophenotyping of major PBMC subsets, based on workshops held 2009-2011; tested the panels using liquid antibodies at five sites; obtained pre-configured, lyophilized antibody plates (Lyoplates) containing these 8-color panels, and tested them in three rounds of experiments across nine FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) sites. A similar initiative is underway with the Multinational FCEs in Europe utilizing whole blood PBMCs. The European FOCIS HIP-C initiative is being led by Thomas Giese, University of Heidelberg and Ola Winvqvist, Karolinska Institute.

The Lyoplate data has been shared with FlowCAP, which has developed an automated analysis algorithm for these panels. A commentary of these activities was published in Nature Immunology (Maecker et al., Nat Immunol 2010) and a review (Maecker et al., Nat Rev Immunol 2012) concerning standardizing of immune monitoring. Currently HIP-C is analyzing the third round of cross-site testing; testing new reagents to prepare for an order of improved, second generation Lyoplates; and recently held a cytome meeting at FOCIS 2013 in Boston regarding the Lyoplate/FlowCAP initiative.

FOCIS Centers of Excellence

FOCIS Centers of Excellence Spotlight: Ignacio Anegon, MD, Nantes University

Anegon pic 2What is the coolest way that you facilitate interdisciplinary research?
Interdisciplinary immunology research requires networks, locally but also at national and international levels. These networks need at least a certain amount of funding to be real and functional.

Our FCE has had transplantation immunology and autoimmunity firmly established as disciplines for several years, with scientists and clinicians involved in common groups and laboratories. In Nantes, on June 2-3 2014 we will be organizing a common meeting in “Cross roads in transplantation and autoimmunity”. We are also fostering in our FCE common initiatives with other areas of immunology, such as infectious diseases. We will organize in June 2015 a meeting in Nantes on transplantation and infectious diseases.

Last year we obtained an important grant funding for a 8 year research program in common areas of basic and translational transplantation immunology and cancer immunology (Labex Immuno Graft-Oncology). Several cancer and transplant centers in Nantes and from other French regions participate in this network with common areas of research centered in different regulatory cell types, cell therapy and immunodepleting and immunomodulatory strategies as well as platforms (immune humanized mice, immunomonitoring). Labex Immuno Graft-Oncology holds together more than 300 research laboratory personnel.

We also obtained important grant funding for a 8 year research program in immunology and immunotherapy in the areas of basic, translational and clinical organ transplantation, cell transplantation (bone marrow), stem cell therapies (adult stem cells, iPS) and “gene transplantation “ (i.e., gene therapy). This European Center for Transplantation Sciences and Immunotherapy gathers more than 900 laboratory and clinical staff in Nantes and its nearby regions.

We participated to the construction of a European network of clinical immunology laboratories (European Network for Translational Immunology Research and Education: From Immunomonitoring to Personalized Immunotherapy, ENTIRE). This network includes European FCEs but also other Centers which fund short visits, summer schools, workshops…

Why do you dig immunology?
Immunology is about adaptation, changes and uncertain ends but with defined and powerful biological mechanisms. It is intellectually fascinating with many biological and clinical problems which are both important and interesting. At the same time immunotherapy has had and will have even more impact in the life and disease management of many patients.

I definitively like immunology despite, or maybe because, it can be made of sharp and even tough ideas, an example below.

Though as thymus selection, which:

Selects the useful
Neglects the useless
and be aware!
Destroys the harmful

And at the same time to show tolerance!

What is your vision for the future of immunology?
The potentially opposite and contradictory effects of immune responses, destroying invaders but also normal tissues, give support to collaboration on the same areas of research aiming for very different objectives; such as increasing immune responses in infectious diseases and cancer as well as inhibiting them in autoimmunity and transplantation. This apparent paradox approaches different medical disciplines for the analysis and manipulation of the same components (genes, molecules and cells in permanent multiple interactions), aiming for different objectives. Immunology has also been in the forefront of technological and basic science breakthroughs in interaction with molecular and cell biology fields, a few exemples; monoclonal antibodies, flow cytometry, gene rearrangements, transgenic technologies…we need more of this!

A continuous and sustained effort in basic research is needed but translational and clinical research should also be fundamental objectives. The gaps between these different areas are important, both practically and intellectually as well as on the people that work on each one. It will be important to fill these gaps through common research, educational and industrial initiatives. FOCIS is an unique example in this direction.

FOCIS Centers of Excellence Trainee Satellite Symposium Celebrates its 10th Anniversary of Developing Future Leaders

TSS Turns 10The FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) is a network of 69 interdisciplinary academic medical centers that have met criteria to be designated by FOCIS as FCEs. These centers are some of the best in the world and through the FCE network, they combine their expertise, patient populations and data for research, grants and other collaborative ventures. A main focus of these centers is training and each year the centers are given the opportunity to send two trainees to participate in the Trainee Satellite Symposium (TSS), held the first day of the FOCIS Annual Meeting.

This year’s TSS, chaired by Kari Nadeau, MD, Stanford University, welcomed 45 trainees from 26 centers. Abstracts are submitted and 10 were competitively selected to give oral presentations at the symposium and the others were presented in a poster tour format following the symposium. The symposium also featured invited lectures from David Hafler, MD, Yale University, Donna Farber, MD, Columbia University, and Alexandra Filipovich, MD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

TSS gives trainees the opportunity to hone their presentation skills among colleagues and benefit from the mentorship of the FCE Directors who are present throughout the day. The oral presenters are assigned a mentor that they communicate with preceding the symposium and receive a critique of their presentation afterwards as well. Poster tours are led by FCE Directors who take a group of trainees from poster to poster where they give a five minute presentation of their work and have the opportunity for group discussion and questions. Two posters are selected as Posters of Distinction and given an award at the Annual Meeting Opening Reception. Congratulations to this year’s Poster of Distinction winners (pictured below): Christopher Harp, Northwestern University, with his abstract entitled, "Mechanisms of Antigen Coupled Microparticle Tolerance Induction in Antigen Presenting Cells" and Guilaine Boyce, University of British Columbia, with her abstract entitled, "Development of Th17 Immunity in Human Newborns."

IMG 0375 IMG 0376
Christopher Harp, Northwestern University Guilaine Boyce, University of British Columbia

Grants Available

Remember to visit the FOCIS Grants/Awards site regularly to view new grant opportunities in the field of clinical immunology and related disciplines. 

Your Immunology Career Resource

From academia to government to industry; below are the openings available in the immunology job market! Click on each job posting to find out more details.

Research Fellow/ Staff Scientist
National Eye Institute, Clinical Immunology Section

Laboratory Director, Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility
University of California Los Angeles

Post-Doctoral Fellow, Innate Immune Mechanisms
Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard University

Looking for a Meeting?

Relevant meetings and educational programs from our Member Societies and partners in immunology.

16th International Congress of Mucosal Immunology
July 17–20, 2013
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Entrepeneurs in Clinical Academia
September 23–27, 2013
Fontainebleau, France

FOCIS is a federation of societies that unite under the common mission to improve human health through immunology.

Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma Immunology American College of Rheumatology • American Rhinological Society • American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation • American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics • American Society of Nephrology • American Society of Transplantation American Uveitis Society • Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis Association for Cancer Immunotherapy • Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy • British Society for Immunology • Cancer Research Institute • Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research • Clinical Immunology Chapter of the Sociedad Mexicana de Immunología • Clinical Immunology Society • Commonwealth of Independent States Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology • Croatian Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology • Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America • Egyptian Society of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology • European Academy of Allergy & Clinical Immunology • European Society for Immunodeficiencies • European Society for Organ Transplantation • Georgian Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology • German Society of Immunology • Immune Tolerance Network • Immunology of Diabetes Society • International Complement Society • International Cytokine Society • International Life Sciences Institute/Health and Environmental Sciences Institute • International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research • International Society for NeuroImmunoModulation • International Society of Neuroimmunology • Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology • Italian Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology • Japanese Society for Immunology • Lithuanian Society of Pulmonology and Allergy • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases • Pan American Group for Immunodefiency • Section of Clinical Immunology and Allergy of the Royal Society of Medicine • Section for Clinical Immunology of the Swedish Society of Medicine • Society of Innate Immunity • Society for Immunotheraphy of Cancer • Society for Investigative Dermatology • Society for Mucosal Immunology • The Transplantation Society • Ukrainian Society of Immunology and Allergy • Uveitis Association of Mexico • World Allergy Organization