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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

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
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,

I am pleased to ring in a new year full of promise and excitement in the world of translational science and medicine. FOCIS is looking forward to welcoming record numbers for our annual meeting, FOCIS 2014, June 25-28 in Chicago, Illinois. This is the first time the meeting has been held in the Midwest and we hope individuals from across the US and abroad will join us in this centrally located and vibrant city that is easy to get to from any location. Chicago is bustling and beautiful in the summer months and with the meeting location just two blocks from Michigan Avenue, the city's finest restaurants, museums and shopping are right at our door – if you can pull yourself away from the meeting's scientific programming which is truly at the razor's edge of translational immunology.

Eleven symposia from fourteen of our Member Societies will kick off FOCIS 2014 on June 25, 8:00 am-4:45 pm. The opening keynote that evening will be Daniel Kastner, MD, PhD, National Human Genome Research Institute. The rest of the meeting is a journey from basic mechanisms to human function that is truly translational in nature. As many of you know, the FOCIS meeting is one of a kind in this respect and is leading the charge to permeate medical and scientific education, research and medicine with the importance of translation. If you haven't attended a FOCIS annual meeting in the past, let us let you in on the secret. This is the place where the world's leaders in immune-mediated diseases meet, create new collaborations that cannot exist in the context of any other specialty meeting and make bold steps towards new discoveries and improving human health. I look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

For those of you looking for specialized immunology training in a more intimate setting, I encourage you to consider attending the FOCIS Advanced Course in Basic and Clinical Immunology, February 23-27 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The twelve course faculty make a point to stay at least a day or two beyond the time of their talk so that attendees can mingle and network with them during meals and on breaks. The meeting venue and course agenda creates time for networking as well as intensive education from the leaders in immunology. The course sells out quickly every year, so get your spot soon!

Your active participation in FOCIS is what keeps the organization vibrant and cutting edge. If you have any feedback on resources you would like to see from FOCIS, have an idea or would like to be considered for a leadership position, please contact FOCIS Executive Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

I look forward to working with you to bring translational immunology to the forefront in 2014.

Kind regards,

Nussenblatt  Signature

Robert Nussenblatt, MD, MPH
FOCIS President

FOCIS Ad 2013

FOCIS 2014

See your Name in Lights at FOCIS 2014 – Submit your Abstract Today!

Submit an AbstractShare your science by submitting an abstract for FOCIS 2014! Submit your abstract and have the chance to present your research in front of the world's leading researchers and clinicians in immune-medicated diseases. Abstracts are presented during Thematic Symposia, Oral Abstract Sessions, and at the evening Poster Sessions.

Register NowRegister Today!

Registration, housing and abstract submission are now open for FOCIS 2014, the premier meeting in translational immunology! Register now for the most dynamic presentation of immunology and its supporting cast of immune-mediated disease that you'll see all year! The Scientific Program Committee consists of leading researchers and clinicians from across the globe:

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
Jeff Bluestone, PhD, University of California, San Francisco
Francesco Marincola, MD, Sidra Medical and Research Center
Edward Knol, PhD, University Medical Center Utrecht

Book a RoomMeeting Location:
June 25-28
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers
301 East North Water Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Book your room at the FOCIS rate of $239/night for regular attendees and $199/night for trainees.

2014 Preliminary ProgramProgram Highlights:

Featured Presenters

Rafi Ahmed, PhD

Rafi Ahmed, PhD
Emory University School of Medicine

Daniel Kastner, MD, PhD

Daniel Kastner, MD, PhD
National Human Genome Research Institute

Megan Sykes, MD

Megan Sykes, MD
Columbia University

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

Backstage PassCalling All Exhibitors – Get an All-Access Pass to FOCIS 2014

Gain access to key opinion leaders while spreading the word about the role your company plays in immunology!

2014 Prospectus

Reserve your exhibitor visibility package for FOCIS 2014 today! Two complimentary registrations to the scientific sessions are now included with any exhibitor package, giving you full-access to world-renowned physicians and researchers who delve beyond disease states into the mechanisms and pathways that stimulate new conversations, partnerships and innovations about how we think of and treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

For more information on exhibiting and supporting FOCIS 2014, please contact FOCIS Director of Development, Bill Elliott, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (414) 359-1670 ext. 1115.

FOCIS Members Benefit from the Latest in Translational Immunology News

The newest installation of the members-only publication, Translational Immunology Update was released on December 17th. The titles from each publication are available for viewing on the FOCIS homepage. To view the full text, click on any article and enter your FOCIS member information. 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.

Titles from the issue include:

  • HIF Signaling Combats CD8+ T Cell Exhaustion
  • Role of Myeloid Suppressor Cells in Development of Myelodysplastic Syndrome
  • The Yin and Yang of IL-2
  • Immunotherapy with Human Allogenic CD8REG

Register Now for FOCIS' Most Popular Course: Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology

Course Directors

Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD

Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital

Jonathan Maltzman, MD, PhD

Jonathan Maltzman, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

View Agenda

Register Now

Led by course directors Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Jonathan Maltzman, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, this intensive three-day course covers all the major topics in cellular and molecular immunology. Not only will attendees be exposed to the most up-to-date information on topics like innate immunity, B cells, T cells, dendritic cells, cytokines and mucosal immunity, but they will also have intimate networking opportunities with the world-renowned course faculty members.

Read what past attendees are saying about the Advanced course:

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Course Photos

Why Learn from the Masses When You Can Learn from the Masters?


Basic & Interventional ImmunologyGet FOCISed in Chicago: Basic & Interventional Immunology Courses to be held just before FOCIS 2014

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2014
Tuesday, June 23, 2014
Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Chicago, Illinois

View Agenda Register Now

Course Directors

Abul Abbas, MD

Abul Abbas, MD
University of California, San Francisco

View Bio

Andrew Lichtman, MD, PhD

Andrew Lichtman, MD, PhD
Brigham & Women's Hospital

View Bio

Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD

Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital

View Bio

Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the major advances in basic immunology that are most relevant to human diseases, and the unresolved issues and future challenges.
  • Recognize the fundamental mechanisms underlying immunologic diseases and the commonality among diverse organ specific disease states.
  • Identify the basic principles underlying therapeutic modulation of the immune system, and the mechanisms of action of the major classes of immune modulators.
  • Critically evaluate the medical literature reporting advances pertinent to immune diseases and immunotherapies.
  • Explain the rationale for use of new immunodiagnostic and immunotherapeutic modalities in patients.

Agenda & Session Objectives

June 24  
8:00-8:30 Continental Breakfast
8:30-9:00 Introduction and Overview - Abul Abbas, MD, University of California, San Francisco
9:00-10:00 Innate Immunity - Andrew Lichtman, MD, PhD, Brigham & Women's Hospital 
Objectives: Appreciate the range of stimuli for innate immune responses and the recognition molecules involved; Describe how innate immune inflammatory and antiviral responses contribute to defense and disease.
10:00-10:30 Break
10:30-11:30 Antigen Presentation and T Cell Activation - Abul Abbas, MD, University of California, San Francisco
Objectives: Describe the roles of dendritic cells and MHC molecules in antigen recognition by T cells; Discuss the signals required for T cell activation and the mechanisms and therapeutic applications of costimulation.
11:30-12:45 CD4 and CD8 Effector T Cells - Andrew Lichtman, MD, PhD, Brigham & Women's Hospital 
Objectives: Discuss the functions of different subsets of CD4+ helper T cells, and how they contribute to microbial defense and to immune-mediated disease; Describe the effector functions of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and how the innate immune inflammatory and antiviral responses contribute to microbial defense and to immune-mediated disease.
12:45-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:30 B Cells and Antibodies - Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital 
Objectives: Discuss how B cells and T cells collaborate to provide protective responses; Describe how dysregulation of B cell responses leads to disease.
2:30-3:30 Immune Regulation and Tolerance I - Abul Abbas, MD, University of California, San Francisco
Objectives: Discuss principles of central and peripheral tolerance to self-antigens; Describe the functions of inhibitory receptors as checkpoints for T cells, and the application of checkpoint blockade in cancer immunotherapy.
3:30-4:00 Break
4:00-5:00 Tolerance and Autoimmunity II - Abul Abbas, MD, University of California, San Francisco
Objectives: Describe the properties and functions of regulatory T cells and therapies based on Treg transfers and induction; Discuss the roles of susceptibility genes and environmental factors in the development of autoimmunity.

Basic & Interventional ImmunologyInterventional Immunology

Wednesday, June 24, 2014
Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Chicago Illinois

View Agenda Register Now


Johnathan Maltzman, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Course Objectives
Upon completion of this activity, the participant should be able to:

  • Identify the scientific basis for choice of immunogically related therapeutic targets in various diseases, including organ specific and systemic autoimmunity, allergy, transplant rejection, cancer, and HIV.
  • Explain the rationale and mechanism underlying the major pharmacologic approaches for interventional immunology in current practice including, anti-cytokine therapy, costimulatory blockade, lymphocyte depletion, adhesion-molecule blockade, and signaling/lymphocyte activation blockade.
  • Evaluate the track record of the different therapeutic approaches in different specialties.
  • Recognize the cross-disciplinary lessons that can be learned from the clinical experience with specific interventions including pharmacological issues, limitations in altering disease progression and complications due to immunosuppression (infections, neoplasias).
  • Analyze how a physician should decide to use and choose therapies.

Lupus SocietyMember Society Spotlight: Lupus Foundation of America

The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, The Lupus Foundation of America leads the fight to improve quality of life for all people affected by lupus, their families, and the health professionals who care for them.

The Lupus Foundation of America is the trailblazer of lupus research funding and advocacy for expanded public and private investment in lupus. It is the first lupus organization to establish a pediatric lupus research initiative, fund cardiovascular disease, adult stem cell research, and focus on adult and childhood neuropsychiatric lupus and lupus nephritis.

Work funded by the foundation has been crucial in moving forward diagnosis. For example, the Foundation was the initial funder of the study to develop and validate new lupus classification criteria. In addition, researchers funded by the Lupus Foundation of America developed and commercialized the first diagnostic test for lupus.

The Foundation has been a leader in the effort to removing obstacles to the development of new lupus treatments. In 2009 the Foundation issued a seminal national report "Overcoming the Barriers to Drug Development in Lupus" that serves as a roadmap for industry, and the federal government toward. The Foundation has also marshaled the resources of global biopharmaceutical companies to improve clinical trial design and created a worldwide portal now used by more than 3,000 clinical investigators in more than 50 countries.

The Lupus Foundation of America has established a partnership with BMJ, the respected global provider of evidence-based medical knowledge, to publish the Lupus Foundation of America's new scientific journal, Lupus Science & Medicine, the world's first lupus-specific, peer-reviewed, online open access journal. The intent for this journal is to provide a true central point for publication of studies of all aspects of lupus and lupus-related diseases.

The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. Headquartered in Washington DC, The Lupus Foundation of America is a charitable organization with tax-exempt status granted under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

FOCIS Centers of Excellence Spotlight: UMC Utrecht Infection & Immunity Center

Sollid with award
Dr. E.F. Knol/Prof. Dr. T.R.D.J. Radstake UMC Utrecht Infection & Immunity FCE

Prof. Dr. T.R.D.J. Radstake / Dr. E.F. Knol
UMC Utrecht Infection & Immunity FCE

1.) What is the coolest way that you facilitate interdisciplinary research?

In our FOCIS center of excellence, The Utrecht Infection and Immunity center, there has been a tremendous effort to bring all twelve former immunology laboratories under one roof. This led to the Laboratory for Translational Immunology (LTI) (~ 200 fte) which is now organized in two locations closely together. Combined with the Laboratory for Medical Microbiology (LMM) the LTI forms the Utrecht I&I FOCIS center of excellence in total roughly comprising 450 fte.

Within our FCE, clinical and non-clinical researchers are working around core facilities such as flowcytometry core, bio-informatics core, epigenetics core, etc. Besides, both clinical and non-clinical researchers originating from various clinical departments such as pulmonology, dermatology, hematology, rheumatology & clinical immunology, pediatrics, oncology assure optimal cross-disciplinary interactions. In the I&I FCE, our educational programs, all fundamental research talks, clinical immunology sessions and foreign speaker programs are centralized around bringing translational immunology in a cross disciplinary fashion to the highest possible level.

2.) Why do you like immunology?

It is becoming increasingly clear that human health is related to a well-functioning immune system. As such immunology covers the broad spectrum of medicine going from       immune deficiency and infection to chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. Each year more than 10,000 patients with diseases resulting from infection and/or failing       immunity visit our center. A better understanding of how immune system works in a steady state condition and during the plethora of diseases is likely to open novel avenues for therapeutic targeting. Finding the pieces of this complex puzzle and every little step towards a better understanding of this utmost complex system is just breathtaking. In addition, immunological tools are more and more being used in treating disease, not only by incorporating antibodies in therapy, but also by specifically directing the immune response away from disease.

3.) What is your vision for the future of immunology?

Although the field of immunology has made substantial progress in the understanding of the fundamental aspects of the immune system, it was relatively slower in the understanding of the complexity in men and human diseases. With the unprecedented development of techniques and knowhow to better study the complex immune system in humans, we believe the focus of the next decade will be more on the translation of fundamental observations into clinical development of novel targets to ultimately diagnose, prognosticate and treat patients with immunological problems. In the LTI we will exploit a systems biology approach elucidating the underlying molecular pathways of a variety of clinical conditions to ultimately apply precision medicine which will reduce side-effects, improve clinical efficacy of our therapeutic interventions and significantly lower health care costs.

Entrepreneurs in Clinical Academia (ECA)
Entrepreneurs in Clinical Academia (ECA) – The ECA course that teaches clinical researchers the language of business is returning for 2014!

In September, 2013 the very first 5-day ECA course took place and was a resounding success! A FOCIS initiative supported by Celgene and delivered by the Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD), ECA is designed to help clinical researchers understand how to advance an innovation out of the laboratory and onto the market.

Based on the feedback that has been received from the 2013 delegates, the content and focus of the ECA course has had a huge impact on their research and business decisions. They were very vocal about how beneficial the course was proving to be, even surpassing their expectations:

  • "A hugely valuable week, I wish it had been available 10 years ago!"
    • John Isaacs, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  • "Fantastic! A great opportunity for those of us working on projects currently to move forward"
    • Timothy Radstake, University Medical Center, Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

From the drug development process to understanding intellectual property law, the 5-day ECA course provides key insights to help clinical researchers and academics turn an innovation into a marketable success.

If you are a clinical researcher with an interest in understanding how to apply the world of business to the research environment in order to progress an innovation to the market, apply for ECA 2014! Information about the course and the online application process can be found at www.focis-eca.com, the application deadline is January 31, 2014.

This course will be held at INSEAD, Fontainebleau; September 22–26, 2014. Tuition fees, on site accommodation and transport will be covered by FOCIS, thanks to an educational grant from Celgene. All sessions will be held in English and only European-based applicants will be considered. There are only 20 places available, so visit www.focis-eca.com and apply today!

Celgene (www.celgene.com) is delighted to support FOCIS and INSEAD in this project, being closely aligned with the FOCIS goals of fostering interdisciplinary approaches to improve translation of scientific ideas and observations into therapeutics and benefits for patients in Immune & Inflammatory diseases.

Looking for a Meeting?

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

Keystone Symposia: The Ubiquitin System: From Basic Science to Drug Discovery
January 7 – 12, 2014
Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Montana, USA

Keystone Symposia: Tissue-Resident Memory T Cells
January 12 – 16, 2014
Snowbird Resort, Snowbird, Utah, USA

Keystone Symposia: Emerging Cytokine Networks
And the joint meeting on Inflammatory Diseases: Recent Advances in Basic and Translational Research and Therapeutic Treatments
January 17 – 22, 2014
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Keystone Symposia: Pathogenesis of Respiratory Viruses
And the joint meeting on Innate Immunity to Viral Infections
January 19 – 24, 2014
Keystone Resort, Keystone, Colorado, USA

Keystone Symposia: Mechanisms and Consequences of Invertebrate-Microbe Interactions
January 26 – 30, 2014
Granlibakken Resort, Tahoe City, California, USA

Keystone Symposia: Molecular Cell Biology of Macrophages in Human Diseases
February 9 – 14, 2014
Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

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 Clinical Trials for Immunologic Disease 2014
June 25, 2014
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Interested in more Related Meetings? Click on the Events/Meetings tab on the FOCIS page.

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.

Technical Specialist/Writer
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

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

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 Institue • 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