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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

FOCIS Past President
Abul Abbas

Matthew Albert
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
Ken Beagley
Matthias von Herrath
Victoria 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,

In a world shifting professional environments, expectations and resources it is valuable to be able demonstrate your worth to your employer and/or grantor as the case may be. Everyone could use the opportunity to get a leg up in their careers. With time and/or financial restrictions on how much you can invest in your professional development and education, how can you not only stay current, but stay ahead?

I am pleased to say that FOCIS is: a home for clinician/researchers who are trying to balance their duties; a resource for the professors who need to bring the most timely topics to their students and labs; a stepping stone for trainees and fellows to engage with the leaders; a career catalyst for members of industry to connect with key decision makers and to be able to speak their language when they do. Here’s how we can help:

Diagnosis: Journal overload
FOCIS Prescribes: Translational Immunology Update – A quarterly ePublication that aggregates information from leading journals including: Nature, Cell, Immunity, New England Journal of Medicine and more. It summarizes clinical trials with the disease state, study design, drug, results and the implications to the FOCIS community. There are also original short articles written on human immunophenotyping and developments in basic immunology and novel therapies.

Diagnosis: No time or funding to attend multiple meetings
FOCIS Prescribes: FOCISed Online – We understand that you may not be able to attend a FOCIS event every year – but don’t miss out on the immunology edge that only a FOCIS event can provide. From the comfort of your computer or tablet, view any or all of the lauded FOCIS courses at your leisure. View one lecture at a time or take the whole course – it’s up to you! CME credits are available.

Diagnosis: No opportunities for face time with key opinion leaders
FOCIS Prescribes: Submit Your Abstract to FOCIS 2014 – The size of the FOCIS meeting is large enough to draw a wealth of leaders in the field and small enough where you actually get the opportunity to speak with them. Submit an abstract and increase your chances of getting direct feedback on your research from the leaders in the field. Many trainees and fellows have commented that interactions at a FOCIS annual meeting have led directly to a new career opportunity or research collaboration.

Diagnosis: Industry professional in need of immunology refresher
FOCIS Prescribes: Basic Immunology To Go – Bring the FOCIS Basic Immunology Course, complete with two FOCIS instructors and a syllabus designed specifically for industry researchers and/or medical science liaisons to your company’s site. This one-day course gives your company’s team the knowledge to be able to communicate with key opinion leaders in their language, understand their needs and create lasting relationships.

Many of these “prescriptions” are complimentary with FOCIS membership. Take a moment and invest in yourself with a FOCIS membership. We welcome you with open arms and look forward to hearing how we can help you meet and conquer your professional challenges.

Mark your calendars for FOCIS 2014, June 25-28 in Chicago and let us give you an immunology edge in your career!

Kind regards,

Nussenblatt  Signature

Robert Nussenblatt, MD, MPH
FOCIS President


FOCIS 2014

Spotlight on Translational Immunology!

FOCIS is the meeting in translational immunology that will give you a competitive edge in your career. FOCIS 2014 will be held June 25-28 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers in Chicago, Illinois. Mark your calendar for the most dynamic presentation of immunology and its supporting cast of immune-mediated disease that you'll see all year!

Important Dates and Deadlines  
Abstract submission, meeting registration, hotel reservations open      November 2013
Abstract submission deadline January 29, 2014
Exhibitor registration deadline March 14, 2014
Meeting registration deadline for poster presenters April 2, 2014
Late-breaking abstract submission deadline April 2, 2014
Headquarter hotel registration discount deadline May 7, 2014
FOCIS 2014 June 25-28, 2014

Scientific Program Committee

  • Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, University of California San Francisco 
  • Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD, Stanford University 
  • Jane Buckner, MD, Benaroya Research Institute 
  • David Rawlings, MD, Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center 
  • Robert Nussenblatt, MD, National Eye Institute 
  • Frank Nestle, MD, King’s College London 
  • Matthias von Herrath, MD, La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology 
  • Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, University of California, San Francisco 
  • Francesco Marincola, MD, Sidra Medical and Research Center 
  • Edward Knol, PhD, University Medical Center Utrecht

Meeting Venue

Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
301 E North Water St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 464-1000



FOCIS 2014 ChicagoCredit: © Choose Chicago

Program Highlights:

Keynote Speakers

  • Daniel Kastner, MD, PhD, National Human Genome Research Institute
  • Dan Littman, MD, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Rafi Ahmed, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine

Plenary Session Topics

  • Microbe-Immune Interaction in Disease
  • Epigenetic Control of Immune Responses
  • Non-Coding RNA and Immune Disease
  • Immunologic Lessons of Rare Diseases
  • Checkpoint Control in Disease: Deviating Immune Responses as Therapy
  • Biomarkers for Immune Diseases and Transplant

Thematic Session Topics

  • Humanized Mice for Studying Immune Disorders
  • Manipulating DC's for Tolerance or Rejection
  • The Ups and Downs of IL-2
  • Germinal Canter RXn in Autoimmunity
  • Challenges in Vaccine Development
  • NK and NKT Cells in Disease

Exhibit at FOCIS 2014 and Receive an All-Access Pass

New to the exhibit packages at FOCIS 2014: receive two complimentary registrations for the scientific sessions. Networking and relationship building doesn't end at the threshold of the exhibit hall. Not only will you be able to network with experts from across the immunology spectrum, you will be able to sit side-by-side and learn with them throughout the entire event. Exhibit and support information is available at the FOCIS 2014 exhibitor webpage.



“As a first time exhibitor and attendee of FOCIS in 2013, I was astonished by the connections we were able to make with key opinion leaders throughout the immunology community – not to mention the innovative science presented in the sessions. FOCIS is the place to be for translational immunology, and we are very excited to attend FOCIS 2014 in Chicago!”
- Mikki West, MBL International Corporation

Call for Member Society Symposia

You are invited to host a Member Society Symposia at FOCIS 2014 on Wednesday, June 25 in Chicago, Illinois. FOCIS Member Societies play an integral part in the FOCIS structure and your participation will greatly enrich the overall meeting by examining the depth and reach of interdisciplinary immunology. Your symposium will spark discussions between various immunological disciplines and will allow non-members to learn more about your society and its current initiatives. You are encouraged to partner with another FOCIS Member Society and examine immunology from multiple angles within one cohesive session. Applications are due by November 1st to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , FOCIS Membership and Marketing Coordinator. View the full list of FOCIS Member Socities now.

FOCIS Communities of PracticeJoin FOCIS' Communities of Practice to Exchange Insights with Colleagues Inside and Outside Your Discipline

Communities of Practice (COP) were created with the goal of empowering and involving FOCIS societies and members in the annual meeting scientific program development, and to increase interdisciplinary communication. 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

View COP Leadership Roster.

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! 

Membership promo 7.9.13

The Latest in Translational Immunology News in One Publication!

The newest installation of the members-only publication, Translational Immunology Update was released on September 17 and is available on the FOCIS homepage. To view the full text, click on any article and enter your FOCIS member information. Articles from this issue include:

Highlights in Recent Literature:

  • Tumor Infiltrating CD8+ T Cells: The Solution or Another Part of the Problem?
  • An Abnormal Population of Gut Bacteria is Associated with HIV Progression
  • Uncovering Key T Cell Epitopes in Human Disease
  • The Early Bird Gets the Worm: Antigenic Seniority and Influenza A Virus
  • How Do HLA Class II Alleles Affect HIV Viremia?
  • What Mediates Vaccine Non-Responsiveness?
  • Lethal Cross-Reactivity Following Adoptive Therapy with Affinity Enhanced T Cells: Subtle Changes in T Cell Receptors can have Unpredictable Adverse Consequences
  • Microbial Metabolites in the Gut Send Messages to the Immune System
  • Gut Bugs and Food Allergy
  • Bach Keeps the Immune System Composed

Highlights from Clinical Immunology, the Official Journal of FOCIS:

  • New Insights into the Pathogenesis of Cirrhosis
  • Gamma Delta Dependent Hair

Human ImmunoPhenotyping Update:

  • Proficiency Testing Services: What’s Available and for Who?
    By: Holden T. Maecker, PhD, Stanford University

Developments in Basic Immunology and Novel Therapies:

  • Epigenetic Control of Helper T Cell Plasticity
    By: Lai Wei and Robert Nussenblatt, MD, National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute

Not a FOCIS member yet? Join today! In addition to Translational Immunology Update, members receive complimentary access to Clinical Immunology, the official FOCIS journal, reduced meeting and course fees, complimentary abstract submission, free access to FOCIS' online education portal and more.

Advanced CourseAdvanced Course Countdown to Registration: Opens Next Week!

Registration opens October 16 for the Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology, February 23-27, 2014 at the FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. This popular course has sold each year in its nine year history, so plan to register early!

View Agenda

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.

View biographies from world-renowed course faculty. 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 February!
  • Multiple opportunities to network with course faculty during meals and breaks

Still not convinced? Read what last year's attendees have to say...

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Leading Immunology Education When & Where You Want It

  • Are you too busy to attend a live educational event?
  • Is it too expensive to travel to an out-of-town course?

We get it and it doesn't mean that your professional development has to suffer. FOCIS is proud to bring you FOCISed Online. FOCIS' lauded and internationally recognized collection of educational courses are now available online and FREE to FOCIS members.

FOCISed Ad- Oct 2013

Basic To GoGive Your Company an Immunology Edge with Basic To Go: It Comes to You!

Bring FOCIS key opinion leaders directly to your company's site to educate your employees on the fundamentals and application of immunology. Basic Immunology in Medicine To Go is an up-to-date, clinically relevant overview of how the immune system functions and malfunctions, presented in a manner that is accessible and of interest to individuals with various levels of scientific knowledge.

Choose the one or two-day option:

  • Day one: Basic immunology education
  • Day two (optional): Targeted education directly applicable to your company's interest area


  • 2 FOCIS educational instructors at your site
  • Online access to lecture materials
  • Program evaluation
  • Knowledgeable, effective employees!

What industry attendees are saying about the Basic Immunology in Medicine To Go Course…

"I enjoyed the class and was able to take away key concepts in immunology. I feel more comfortable being able to have a conversation with someone more knowledgeable in this subject area than I did before this class."

"As a result of this course I have improved my ability to understand the basic science underlying immunotherapy drug development."

"I recommend organizing this course and similar ones at regular intervals."

Entrepreneurs in Clinical Academia: Shedding Light on “the Dark Side of Medicine”

From Rogier Thurlings, Timothy Radstake, and Christian Beyer 

While being a physician or researcher is frequently ranked among the top-5 of prestigious jobs in Western societies, venture capital, biotech companies, and big pharma are considered the “dark side” of medicine. So, why should physicians and researchers come together and learn from or even partner with these entities? The following is a summary from a participant’s point of view on the first course for Entrepreneurs in Clinical Academia (ECA), which was held at the world-renowned INSEAD business school near Paris, September 23-27, 2013. This summary outlines the personal as well as societal motivations that drive physicians and researchers to liaise with the business side of medicine.

The idea for a business course for physicians and researchers arose during the European dermatology forum in January 2011, when Nicola Stephens, Associate Director Marketing I&I EMEA at Celgene, was listening to a talk from Prof. Carlo Pincelli, an expert on apoptosis in the skin from Modena, on the painful mistakes he made when becoming an entrepreneur. The idea was born and soon Prof. Frank Nestlé, a successful physician researcher and entrepreneur from King’s College London, and Prof. Reinhard Angelmar, Emeritus Professor of Marketing from INSEAD, became involved in planning the first ECA course. Prof. Nestle, presented the course concept to the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS), which provides the recognized global forums for excellence in continuing education and innovation in immunology. FOCIS signed on to partner with INSEAD and Celgene and in doing so, brought a network of clinicians and researchers from the 69 academic medical centers that comprise the FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) as a key audience for the course. Putting the plan into action, however, was a demanding effort. Nicola Stephens was the key player of the team who pushed the idea through, raised the funding, brought together the academic partners, and provided important input into the final schedule.

The birth of the first ECA course describes the essentials for brilliant ideas to become reality: money, team and passion. Given the lengthy and costly development of novel treatments and diagnostics in medicine, each of these components is equally important. As participants of the first ECA course, we have learned that even the best idea will not make it to the patients (i.e., “market” in business terms) without the right team and sufficient funding. In particular, during drug development we need to build strong teams consisting of chemists, biochemists, biologists, doctors, investors, lawyers, and others. We also need to attract governmental grants, businessmen “angels”, venture capital, or pharmaceutical companies which will provide funding to bring ideas through both preclinical and clinical development stages. To accomplish these efforts successfully, the ECA course provided us with a plethora of background knowledge and helpful tools. We looked at the need for patenting, founding of spin-off companies, and partnerships with big pharmaceutical companies through very different angles (i.e., scientific, economic and legal). Furthermore, in small groups we worked on preclinical and clinical drug development for a fictional new compound, developed a business plan, and presented it to real investors. Finally, academics who have founded their own companies shared real-life experiences and helped us to regain our spirit and passion in research which might have been temporarily lost while facing the apparently overwhelming challenges in the business world of medicine.

2013 Group PhotoWithout a doubt, the first ECA course far exceeded our expectations; we experienced a new world and learned a new language. The course explored various paths that will help us to bring our innovations and research to market and, thus, to patients. We learned to appreciate investors, biotech companies and big pharmaceutical companies as key partners who can provide substantial support to our research. Once we shed light on it, we realized that the “dark side of medicine” is a sine qua non in improving future healthcare. Just as Master Yoda once said, “we all need to look into the dark side of our nature; that is where the energy is, the passion.”

We are very grateful to all individuals from FOCIS, INSEAD and Celgene who supported and created this exceptional course. We strongly encourage physicians and researchers who wish to translate their ideas from bench to bedside to apply for the 2014 ECA course; it is competitive and spaces are limited, but it is definitely worth the application form!

Tuition fees, on-site accommodation and transport are covered by FOCIS, thanks to an educational grant from Celgene. All applications must be accompanied by a supporting letter of recommendation, and submitted before January 31, 2014.

For further information on the course and a detailed schedule, please follow the following link: http://www.focis-eca.com/ or mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


FOCIS Centers of Excellence
FOCIS Centers of Excellence Spotlight: Centre for Immune Regulation, University of Oslo

The Centre for Immune Regulation (CIR) continues to strive towards the advancement in immunology with innovative research findings and strong growth in research driven academics. In the past year, three of CIR’s host institutions have been established as K.G. Jebsen Research Centres; all specializing in the research field of immunology. Not only is CIR aiming to be a central player in Oslo’s strong cluster of immunology research, but they hope to exceed the successful year they’ve had with research driven academics as well. Approximately 50% of the papers published in 2012 by CIR authors are results of collaborations with other international institutions. With three papers having an impact of 20.0 or higher, the quality and visibility of CIR research has never been greater.

Sollid with award
Dr. Sollid receiving the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Research Prize.

Not only is the Centre itself exceeding expectations, but the Centre’s Director is being highly recognized for his research within the European Medical community. Centre Director, Ludvig M. Sollid was awarded Fridtjof Nansen’s Prize for his ground-breaking work on the understanding of Celiac disease on a molecular level as well as the United European Gastroenterology’s (UEG) Research Prize for the same research in 2012. Sollid and his team of researchers are currently using the model of Celiac disease to understand the molecular mechanisms leading to chronic inflammatory disease. The findings of this research will impact the understanding of Celiac Disease pathogenesis and how those general principles of immune regulation can be applicable to other disease models.

The center has big plans to keep growing steadily in the field of academics and making revolutionary strides in immunology research. CIR hopes to educate 35 new PhD’s in the next 10 years as a FOCIS Center of Excellence (FCE). Since becoming a Center of Excellence, CIR has had 26 students defend their thesis’s, with seven students defending theirs in 2012 alone. The strides being made in the immunology field by CIR is evident in their patent numbers. CIR accumulated 17 patents that have been granted or filed since they commenced operations in 2007. FOCIS looks forward to CIR’s continued participation as an FCE and seeing what great things are to come out of their exemplary center.

Looking for a Meeting?
Precision Bioservices- Ad Oct. 2013

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

8th European Workshop on Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases
December 11-13, 2013
Bamberg, Germany

FOCIS Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology
February 23-27, 2014
Scottsdale, Arizona

FOCIS Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2014
June 24, 2014
Chicago, Illinois

FOCIS 2014
June 27-30, 2014
Chicago, Illinois

FOCIS Interventional Immunology
June 25, 2014
Chicago, Illinois

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. Grants are currently listed from the NIH Roadmap, CADE, CTOT and more.

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.

Principal Scientist/Staff Scientist, Immunology Discovery
Genentech, Inc.

Medical Officer and Health Scientist Administrators
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Senior Post-Doctoral Fellow
Arthritis & Clinical Immunology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF)

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard University

Laboratory Director in Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility
University of California, Los Angeles

Research Fellow/Staff Scientist
National Eye Institute, Clinical Immunology Section, Laboratory of Immunology, Bethesda, Maryland

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 • Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology 
British Society for Immunology • Canadian 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 Allegology 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• Lupus Foundation of America
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 for Immunotheraphy of Cancer
Society of Innate Immunity • Society for Investigative Dermatology 

Society for Mucosal Immunology • The Transplantation Society
Ukrainian Society of Immunology and Allergy • Uveitis Association of Mexico • World Allergy Organization