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FOCIS UPDATE - Summer 2008

FOCIS Board of Directors

  • FOCIS President

    Gerald T. Nepom
  • FOCIS Vice President

    Jonathan Braun
  • FOCIS Secretary/Treasurer

    P.J. Utz
  • Past President

    David Hafler
  • Abul Abbas
  • George Eisenbarth
  • Lynn Gordon
  • Kevan Herold
  • Andrew Lichtman
  • Michael Lotze
  • Stefan Meuer
  • Stephen Rich
  • Lanny Rosenwasser

    Compliance Officer

  • George Tsokos

Steering Committee Members

  • Jack P. Antel
  • Jeffrey A. Bluestone
  • Richard S. Blumberg
  • Barbara Detrick
  • Manfred Dierich
  • Robert L. Fairchild
  • Ronald Falk
  • Vijay Kuchroo
  • Michael T. Lotze
  • Robert B. Nussenblatt
  • Elaine Reed
  • Lanny J. Rosenwasser
  • Daniel Rotrosen
  • John E. Sims
  • Kendall A. Smith
  • E. William St. Clair
  • Kathleen E. Sullivan
  • Megan Sykes
  • Matthias G. von Herrath
  • Lisbeth Welniak

FOCIS Update

FOCIS Update is published four times a year by the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. All editorial communications should be directed to: info@focisnet.org

Letter from the PresidentGerald T. Nepom, MD, PhD

Dear Colleagues,

One of my durable memories of the FOCIS 2008 meeting is the remarkable sense of community among our FOCIS participants, representing the diverse set of professional societies in our federation. This assemblage of more than 1,300 delegates in Boston, Massachusetts effectively signaled the success of the FOCIS mission--the integration of immunology across disciplines for improvements in human health. Thanks to all the participants, speakers, exhibitors, and especially the FOCIS 2008 Organizing Committee for an outstanding conference.

On the day before the kickoff of the 2008 meeting, FOCIS presented our first Interventional Immunology educational course, paired with the successful Basic Immunology in Medicine course. In a room overflowing with physicians and scientists, FOCIS launched this important educational initiative, which heralds a new medical era in which immunology and clinical intervention are now forever linked. We owe special thanks to Drs. Bill St. Clair, Andy Lichtman and Abul Abbas for directing the Basic Immunology in Medicine and the Interventional Immunology courses. Also at FOCIS 2008, FOCIS welcomed the German Society of Immunology and the Society of Innate Immunity as new FOCIS societies, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, King’s College London and the Feinstein Institute as the newest FOCIS Centers of Excellence.

In less than 12 months we will reconvene at FOCIS 2009, June 11-14 in San Francisco, California. Assuredly, the field of translational and interventional immunology will have changed by then, reflecting the remarkable pace of advances in our field. Jacques Banchereau and Joan Goverman will be joined by Program committee members: Olivera Finn, Jean Laurent Casanova and Steve Ziegler in planning a not-to-be-missed conference. You’ll see a slightly modified schedule in FOCIS 2009’s meeting format, as the meeting will begin on Thursday, June 11 – the same day that our Member Societies conduct their Satellite Sessions, and will conclude on Sunday evening. This will consolidate the meeting format, better integrate the satellite sessions (no separate registration fee), and allow delegates to stay for the entire meeting with a Thursday arrival and an early Monday departure. So mark your calendars now, and we look forward to another great year together.

Best regards,

signature

Gerald T. Nepom, MD, PhD
FOCIS President

• • • • •

FOCIS 2008 Comes to a Close

Thank you to all who participated in FOCIS 2008, June 5-9 in Boston, Massachusetts. The meeting was a success on many levels. Over 1,300 delegates, 550 abstracts, 27 exhibitors and 56 sessions culminated in an exceptional translational conference for sharing knowledge and speeding progress in the field of human immunology. Special thanks to the FOCIS 2008 Organizing Committee for their time and talent in putting together a superb lineup of topics and speakers.

banchereau

Jacques Banchereau, PhD
Baylor Institute for Immunology Research

kuchroo

Vijay Kuchroo, DVM, PhD
Harvard Medical School

sharpe

Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School

laufer

Terri Laufer, MD
University of Pennsylvania

wood

Kathryn Wood, PhD
Oxford University

governman

Joan Governman, PhD
University of Washington

FOCIS 2008 Abstracts Online

You may now view FOCIS 2008 abstracts online at http://www.focisnet.org/meetings/am08/. Please select “Abstracts Online” from the menu.

• • • • •

Online Evaluation and Certification

As you may know, the FOCIS 2008 evaluation system went “green” this year by eliminating the thousands of sheets of paper used by printing evaluations and replacing them with an online site that allows you to print your CME or Attendance Certificate from home. Your feedback is an essential part of the planning for future education. If you have not already, please take the time to complete the evaluations online at http://data.express-evaluations.com/eval/37190/web/main.php.

Summer_NewsletterSmile!
Many of you were caught on camera at FOCIS 2008.

Please visit the FOCIS 2008 website at http://www.focisnet.org/meetings/am08/ and click on the “Photos Gallery” link to check it out.

 

 

• • • • •

Genetic Consortia Identifies Gene Commonalties

The FOCIS Network of Consortia (NOC) united for their 4th annual meeting and 2nd annual presentation at FOCIS 2008. This important initiative provides a forum for representatives from genetic consortia in the major areas of immune-mediated disease to meet, share data and discuss findings. The combined genome-wide association scan data is currently under review for publication in major journals and the network looks forward to the addition of new disease areas that are ready to contribute data. For more information about how to become involved please send inquires to info@focisnet.org.

• • • • •

Thank You FOCIS 2008 Supporters!

FOCIS Industry Liaison Council

Abbott Beckman Coulter Biogen-Idec Bristol Myers
JDRF Wyeth Genentech Wyeth UCB

 

FOCIS 2008 Major Supporters

Boehringer Ingelheim Centocor Dana NIH_NIAID
ROCHEWyethTevaWyethWyeth

 

FOCIS 2008 Contributing Supporters

Affymetrix Agilent_Technologies AA Amgen
BD Bentham Science Biolegend eBioscience
Grifols Itn MedImmune NMSS
NIAMS NIDDK Neurological Sequenom
Wiley_Blackwell
• • • • •

Announcing – FOCIS 2009

FOCIS_2009_logo

If you missed FOCIS 2008 or you liked it so much that you plan on being an annual delegate, please note that the next meeting will be held:

FOCIS 2009
June 11-14, 2009
San Francisco Marriott, USA

Abstract submission opens in November; details to follow. See you in San Francisco!

• • • •

FOCIS Centers of Excellence – Trainee Satellite Symposium Highlights

Every year each of the 51 FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) selects the top two trainees from their center whose research features interdisciplinary science. These trainees receive complimentary FOCIS 2008 registration and a travel award to attend the meeting. 50 trainees participated in this year’s symposium. Ten oral presentations were selected and all trainees prepared a poster for presentation at the evening reception.

A new addition to this year’s symposium was the Poster Teaser session. Trainees had one minute and one slide to entice the audience to visit their posters later in the evening. Both the Poster Teasers and the Poster Session were judged and winners were recognized at the evening Poster Reception.

Congratulations to all TSS participants including…
oral_abstract_presenters

Oral Abstract Presenters
Paul Bollyky, University of Washington
Salix Boulet, McGill University
Todd Fairhead, Robarts Research Institute
David Laplaud, Nantes University, France
James Lord, University of Washington
Vaishali Moulton, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Bill Parrish, Feinstein Institute
Shadi Rashtak, Mayo Clinic
Maida Wong, University of California – Los Angeles
Li Zuo, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

poster_teaser_winner

Poster Teaser Winner
Teresa Santiago, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Poster Session Winners
Roberta Castriconi, Giannina Gaslini Institute, Italy
Chih Long Liu, Stanford University

• • • • •

FOCIS Educational Programs

Interventional_logo

FOCIS 2008 hosted to two FOCIS Educational Programs. The long-standing course, Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008 and the new Interventional Immunology course were both oversubscribed with attendance over 150 people each. Delegates were given the option to take the courses individually or to attend both for a discounted rate. Over half of the delegates opted for the package to begin with the Basic course and build upon it with the Interventional course the next day.

Thinkerman
Both courses will be offered again in the same manner at FOCIS 2009 in San Francisco. We look forward to seeing you there! The next FOCIS educational opportunity is the 2009 Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology. The course will be held:

 

graphic

February 18-22, 2009
Mondrian
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
graphic2  

Students in this course include clinical fellows, trainees in the pharmaceutical industry, and practicing academic physicians who find the need to enhance their understanding of immunology. Invited speakers lecture on the major topics in cellular and molecular immunology, including innate immunity, B cells, T cells, and cytokines. There will be ample opportunity for students to interact with the faculty outside the lecture room.

Mark your calendars and register early – registration opens October 15, 2008 online at www.focisnet.org!
• • • • •

Member Society Spotlight - American_Uveitis_Society

According to Dr. Ted Schlaegel, in approximately 1963, he began inviting people to his hotel room during national ophthalmic meetings for discussions about uveitis. This "Informal Uveitis Club," was initially attended by 2-4 people.  Because of increasing attendance, the first formal meeting was held on September 26, 1972.  The "Informal Uveitis Club" continued through the 1976 American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) meeting. The group evolved into the American Uveitis Society at the 1977 AAO meeting. Membership was initially restricted to 40 people. The evolution into the AUS was nurtured and supported by Drs. Robert Coles (New York), David Knox (Baltimore), and Dick O'Connor (San Francisco).

The AUS began its further evolution into a larger, more structured organization in 1983 in response to suggestions by Dr. Rudolph Franklin from New Orleans.  Key people involved in the transformation were Drs. Dick O'Connor, Howard Tessler (Chicago), Bob Nussenblatt (Bethesda, MD), Henry Kaplan (Louisville), and Ronald Smith (Los Angeles).  Changes included opening the membership to approximately 100 members, establishing an Executive Committee, and incorporating. The transition was completed by 1990. The AUS has flourished since with meetings held at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting and a mid-winter gathering. It has become the premier group dealing with the disease in the United States.

Recent AUS Achievements:

    • Supported the SUN Working Group meeting, the Expert Panel that developed suggestions for the use of immunosuppression in uveitis as well as standardization of the collection of data in uveitis trials, and the International Consensus Panel of uveitis specialists and pediatric rheumatologists at UCLA who discussed standards for research on chronic anterior uveitis in children. 
    • Supported two surveys of members that identified treatment practices dealing with ocular toxoplasmosis.
    • Established and published research definition for ARN syndrome.
    • Organizes the biennial Pre-American Academy of Ophthalmology Uveitis day.
    • Forged alliances between AUS and international uveitis societies: Achievement "Future of Clinical Research" symposium at IOIS, "Local Therapy of Uveitis" at IUSG, Constanz, and the FOCIS Satellite meeting.
    • Facilitate education in ocular inflammatory diseases in ophthalmology residency programs.
    • Developed a website devoted to uveitis education for patients and professionals.

     

    • • • • •

    FOCIS Centers of Excellence Spotlight - University of Amsterdam

    Dominique_Baeten

    Center Director: Dominique Baeten

    FOCIS: What is the coolest way that you facilitate interdisciplinary research?

    Baeten:  In our experience, the best way to facilitate interdisciplinary research is to organize cross-disciplinary meetings on clinical immunology. We do this at the local level in the Netherlands, but have also held a European Workshop on Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases since 2006. The key to the success of this meeting is not only the interdisciplinary approach but also the small and interactive workshop format. At a time where it is still not clear what the European FCE exactly want to achieve, this meeting is a prime example of how we can create momentum around the FOCIS concept.

    FOCIS: Why do you dig immunology?

    Baeten:  Immunology touches the essence of life: how do we maintain our integrity but at the same time remain adapted to the external world? The solution lies in a system with a very high density of interactions between the different players, resulting in a very complex but robust and self-regulating structure. The beauty and challenge of clinical immunology is to recognize clinically relevant patterns within this complexity.

    FOCIS: What’s your vision for the future of immunology?

    Baeten: The future of immunology lies in clinical applications of our increasing understanding of how the immune system works. Besides the current boom of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, the prime example here remains the enormous clinical impact of vaccination against infectious diseases. Of interest, it appears that the human brain did not really invent anything new here: in both examples, we just copied normal aspects of the immune system.

    Welcome New Centers!
    FOCIS and the FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) extend a warm welcome to the newest members of the FCE network.

    Institut Pasteur – Matthew Albert
    The Feinstein Institute – Betty Diamond

    We look forward to your participation and collaboration!
    • • • • •

    Events

    Career Opportunities

    Post-Doctoral Position
    Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital
    Cutting edge projects focusing on the mechanisms of autoimmune disease/inflammation. These projects include novel pathways that regulate macrophages, and T cells, macrophage biology linked to lupus, determining the unique and shared role of the principle macrophage developmental molecule and its isoforms in immune mediated inflammation and lupus, the power of the specific programmed death pathways in regulating tissue injury, and an emphasis on the role of resident cells in regulating the immune response. Unique transgenic strains and knockout mice with reporter genes have been constructed on lupus susceptible strains for these projects. These projects dissect the basic mechanisms of autoimmune (skin, heart, kidney). Projects include human translational studies in patients with lupus. The ultimate goal is to identify potential therapeutic targets/ biomarkers for lupus and by extension other immune mediated diseases.

    Experience:
    Immunology, Molecular biology and/or Cell Biology
    Knowledge of histopathology desirable
    Mouse systems
    Computer literacy is necessary

    Desired:
    Responsible, hard-working individual who is able to multi-task and to work independently. Position available immediately. MD, or PhD required, position for two years or longer within the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Please send three references.

    Interested candidates contact:
    Dr. Vicki Rubin Kelley
    Harvard Institutes of Medicine
    4 Blackfan Circle
    Boston, MA 02115
    FAX 617-525-5830
    e-mail: vkelley@rics.bwh.harvard.edu

    Medical Science Liaison (MSL), based in a major East Coast city
    Therakos, Inc., a member of Johnson & Johnson's Family of Companies

    Therakos, Inc. specializes in extracorporeal immune cell therapies for the prevention and treatment of serious immune-mediated and neoplastic diseases. Therakos' proprietary procedures in photopheresis are used by physicians for the palliative treatment of the skin manifestations of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

    The MSL will build advocacy for the Company Extracorporeal Apheresis treatment with opinion leaders, key academic centers and professional organizations in the Eastern U.S. Region. The MSL will serve as a scientific and clinical support resource for Company. This includes directly communicating scientific and medical information during interactions with health care practitioners and pre-clinical researchers. Topic areas include: Stem Cell Transplantation, Apheresis, Dermatology, Hematology, Oncology and Immunology.

    PharmD, MD or PhD is required. At least 1 year of pharmaceutical or medical device industry experience preferred. Prior MSL experience is desirable. Therapeutic area experience in oncology, hematology, dermatology and/or immunology is highly preferred. Travel up to 70%. See full job description on our website.

    As a valued team member, you’ll receive a competitive salary and great benefits including medical/dental, a 401(k), a pension plan and a comprehensive wellness program. If interested, please apply directly on-line at our web site www.jnj.com/careers noting Req. Code 0807143. The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies has a strong commitment to diversity and welcomes applications for all individuals. EOE M/F/D/V

    Senior Scientist Immunology (B Cell biology)
    Merck Serono Geneva Research Center

    Purpose of the Role:
    This position requires an experienced scientist with a track record in the field of human B cell biology and a good understanding of clinical strategies that target B cells. You will be expected to use your knowledge and experience to mentor staff and to drive scientific innovation and capability within the Immunology Group.

    Main tasks & Responsibilities:
    In this role, you will be expected to:

    1. Supervise a laboratory in the Immunology Group and provide scientific expertise in the area of B cell biology. This will involve designing, directing and integrating research from different disciplines
    2. Recognize and communicate trends/events outside the Company in the field of B cell therapy. Provide a long-term vision of the opportunities and strategy in the field of B cell targeting therapies and how this would add value to the business needs of Merck Serono.
    3. Contribute to the development of novel therapeutics targeting B cells for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and contribute to shaping the research strategy.
    4. Represent the Immunology function in various research projects in both inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and make significant contributions to multidisciplinary meetings.
    5. Provide written reports and deliver effective presentations.

    Education & Languages:

    1. An M.D.or Ph.D. in Cell biology, Immunology or related fields.
    2. Fluent english is required
    3. French is an asset

    Professional Skills & Experience:

    1. A minimum of 5 years’ relevant postdoctoral experience.

    Personal Skills & Competencies:

    1. Excellent communication & interpersonal skills
    2. Enthusiasm & team spirit

    Senior Scientist Immunology (Cytokine biology)
    Merck Serono Geneva Research Center

    Purpose of the Role:
    This position requires an experienced scientist with a track record in the field of cytokine biology and a good understanding of clinical strategies that target pro-inflammatory cytokines. You will be expected to use your knowledge and experience to mentor staff and to drive scientific innovation and capability within the Immunology Group.

    Main tasks & Responsibilities:
    In this role, you will be expected to:

    1. Supervise a laboratory in the Immunology Group and provide scientific expertise in the area of cytokine biology. This will involve designing, directing and integrating research from different disciplines
    2. Recognize and communicate trends/events outside the Company in the field cytokine-directed therapies. Provide a long-term vision of the opportunities and strategy in this field and understand how this would add value to the business needs of Merck Serono.
    3. Contribute to the development of novel therapeutics targeting inflammatory cytokines and cytokine pathways for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders and contribute to shaping the research strategy.
    4. Represent the Immunology function in various research projects in both inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and make significant contributions to multidisciplinary meetings.
    5. Provide written reports and deliver effective presentations.

    Education & Languages:

    1. An M.D. or Ph.D in Cytokine biology, Immunology or related fields.
    2. Fluent english is required
    3. French is an asset

    Professional Skills & Experience:

    1. A minimum of 5 years’ relevant postdoctoral experience.

    Personal Skills & Competencies:

    1. Excellent communication & interpersonal skills
    2. Enthusiasm & team spirit

    Senior Scientist Immunology (Inflammation)
    Merck Serono Geneva Research Center

    Purpose of the Role:
    This position requires an experienced immunologist with a track record in the field of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and a good understanding of clinical strategies targeting inflammatory pathways. Through close interaction with project managers and colleagues in other parts of the organization, the successful candidate will play a key role in our effort to establish and progress projects targeting inflammatory disorders, and to develop competencies in relevant area of Immunology.

    Main Tasks & Responsibilities:

    1. You will be responsible for a group of scientists, technicians and students.
    2. This group will support ongoing drug discovery programs and will be engaged in identifying, evaluating and validating potential drugs targets for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
    3. This will involve close collaboration with other departments in the organization, including antibody production, identification low molecular weight compounds, in vivo pharmacology and bioinformatics.
    4. You will be encouraged to use his existing personal network to contribute to the identification of new project opportunities from external partners in academia or in biotech industry.

    Education & Languages:

    1. PhD and/or PhD/MD in Immunology
    2. Fluent english is required
    3. French is an asset

    Professional Skills & Experience:

    1. A minimum of ten years relevant postdoctoral experience, preferably in the pharmaceutical industry in the area of immunology/inflammation research.
    2. Small molecule and/or protein drug development experience would also be beneficial.

    Personal Qualifications & Competencies:

    1. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    2. Enthusiasm and team spirit

    Senior Scientist Immunology (T Cell Biology)
    Merck Serono Geneva Research Center 0800387
    Purpose of the Role:
    This position requires an experienced immunologist with a track record in the field of T-cell biology as reflected by high quality publications and a good understanding of clinical strategies targeting T-cell responses.

    Main Tasks & Responsibilities:

    1. You will supervise a laboratory focusing on the investigation of key pathways in immune cell/T cell regulation, activation, proliferation and suppressor functions.
    2. This work will support on-going drug discovery programs and contribute to the identification and development of new drug candidates for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
    3. You will head a team of scientists, technicians and students, be responsible for running the laboratory, writing research reports and high quality publications, presenting to various internal boards and international science meetings.

    Education & Languages:

    1. PhD and/or PhD/MD in Immunology
    2. Fluent english is required
    3. French is an asset

    Professional Skills & Experience:

    1. A minimum of 5 years’ relevant postdoctoral experience, preferably in the pharmaceutical industry in the area of immunology and, in particular, human and mouse T cells.
    2. In Depth understanding and state of art practical experience in cell activation, proliferation, as well as cytokine release and mastering FACS analysis and cell sorting is desirable.

    Personal Qualifications & Competencies:

    • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
    • Enthusiasm and team spirit

    Increase your job posting visibility with FOCIS!

    Job posting rates:

    • $75 per posting – academic/non-profit/government
    • $125 per posting – industry

    Job postings should be 250 words or less and will remain on the website for 90 days. To post your opportunities please contact Sarah Krause.

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

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology • American College of Rheumatology
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 of Medical Laboratory Immunologists
Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy • 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
German Society of Immunology • Immunology of Diabetes Society • International Complement Society
International Cytokine Society International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research
International Society for NeuroImmunoModulation • International Society of Neuroimmunology
International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer • Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Italian Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology Lithuanian Society of Pulmonology and Allergy
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 Investigative Dermatology • Society for Mucosal Immunology • The Transplantation Society
Ukrainian Society of Immunology and Allergy • Uveitis Association of Mexico • World Allergy Organization