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FOCIS UPDATE - October 2007

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

  • Grant J. Anhalt
  • Jack P. Antel
  • Richard S. Blumberg
  • Jeffrey A. Bluestone
  • Barbara Detrick
  • Manfred Dierich
  • Ronald Falk
  • Gregg Hadley
  • Hiroshi Kiyono
  • Vijay Kuchroo
  • Peter E. Lipsky
  • Michael T. Lotze
  • William J. Murphy
  • Karen Nelson
  • Robert B. Nussenblatt
  • Lanny J. Rosenwasser
  • Daniel Rotrosen
  • John E. Sims
  • Kendall A. Smith
  • E. William St. Clair
  • Kathleen E. Sullivan
  • Megan Sykes
  • Matthias G. von Herrath

FOCIS Update

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

Dear Colleagues,

Although immunology has existed in the medical vernacular for a century, the reality is that until recently few of the fundamental mechanisms of immune function and regulation were understood. The excitement now evident in the immunology field is reflected in the FOCIS educational portfolio. In keeping with the breadth and depth of the FOCIS Member Societies, FOCIS educational programs are a comprehensive, interdisciplinary platform for exploring the intersection between immunology and a variety of clinical and research disciplines. FOCIS volunteer leadership in the education arena is spearheaded by Andrew Lichtman, FOCIS Education Chair and supported by Abul Abbas, PJ Utz, Shiv Pillai, Robert Carter, and Bill St. Clair.

Gerald T. Nepom, MD, PhD

FOCIS currently offers three courses in addition to the annual meeting. Basic Immunology in Medicine, held June 4, 2008 in Boston is designed to meet the needs of physicians whose specialty now requires an understanding of the underlying elements of the immune system, as an introduction to better understand the pathogenesis of diseases they diagnose and treat. The course has been extremely successful since its launch in 2003.

The Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology is a three-day course held February 27 – March 2, 2008 in Scottsdale, Arizona, designed for more intensive study—a detailed immersion for trainees, physicians, and scientists. Invited speakers lecture on the major topics in cellular and molecular immunology, including innate immunity, B cells, T cells, and cytokines.

On June 5, 2008 in Boston the Interventional Immunology Course will make its debut. This course is developed for practicing physicians, especially those in specialties related to immunologic diseases. It is designed to address the appropriate use of new biological therapies in the immunology realm that are available or in development, which are based on targets unfamiliar to many practicing physicians.

The main FOCIS educational event, FOCIS 2008 will be held June 5-9 in Boston, Massachusetts. We are looking forward to a tremendous program developed by the FOCIS 2008 Organizing Committee, including Jacques Banchereau, Joan Goverman, Vijay Kuchroo, Terri Laufer, Arlene Sharpe and Kathryn Wood. This year’s meeting promises to continue the tradition of delivering the premiere meeting in clinical immunology. Please see the FOCIS 2008 section of this newsletter for a preview of science and speakers at FOCIS 2008.

We look forward to your continued participation in FOCIS educational programs.

See you in Boston in June,

Nepom Signature

Gerald T. Nepom, MD, PhD
FOCIS President

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FOCIS Member Society

Member Society Spotlight: The Transplantation Society

The Transplantation Society (TTS) was established in 1966 and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. TTS has been a FOCIS Member Society since 2006.

The top three strategic initiatives of the society are:

  • To establish a global presence with the use of the key opinion leader meetings which help to enhance relationships of TTS with its members throughout the world
  • To create best practice and ethical guidelines and initiatives
  • To develop an international data registry system through a partnership with the World Health Organization

Recently, TTS has formed an official relationship with the World Health Organization, formed ethical initiatives in the Middle East and elsewhere and launched a membership initiative in developing countries.

To contact The Transplantation Society please visit or email

Welcome to the Newest FOCIS Society...

The German Society of Immunology (DGfI) was established in 1967. The central aim of the society is to support research as well as continuous education for life scientists and medical doctors in the field of immunology and a major focus is placed on bridging basic research and clinical medicine. Although immunology represents a very broad and successful field, there are far too few chairs for immunology in Germany, especially in the natural science faculties. Therefore, DGfI strongly supports implementation of new chairs for immunology at medical as well as natural science faculties. Strengthening education in immunology and consolidating immunology as a main subject in studies of medicine or biological/biochemical sciences is another major goal of DGfI.

Recently, immunology/infection has been added as a cross-sectional subject into the catalogue of the new “Approbationsordnung” in Germany (formal curriculum for medical doctors), so that all medical students must complete one immunology course, fostering an improved education in immunology of medical doctors in the future. In addition, major effort has to be put on integrating immunology in numerous new Bachelor and Master programs all over Germany.

Even though there is not a special designation or title “Medical Specialist in Immunology,” DGfI was successful in introducing the title “Specialist in Immunology DGfI” (Fachimmunologe DGfI). More than 205 life scientists and medical doctors have now qualified to be “Fachimmunologe DGfI.” So far, 14 institutes/departments or clinical institutions have met the testing criteria and have been certified.

DGfI is internationally networked with the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS), the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS), the European Biomedical Research Association (EBRA), and the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS).

For more information on the German Society of Immunology, visit

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FOCIS Centers of Excellence

FOCIS Centers of Excellence

Featured FCE: Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center
Director: Melissa Magliocco

  • Coolest way that you facilitate interdisciplinary research:

    We have been collaborating with a group at a neighboring university on a study involving the effects of caffeine on UVB-induced skin cancer. They do their research with mice, while we do similar work with human subjects. We are always open to the possibility of collaborations within our own institution.

  • Why do you dig immunology?

    I find the field of immunology to be intellectually stimulating and ripe with opportunities for research. Incredible discoveries are being made each day that may improve the health and quality of life of those affected by autoimmune diseases.

  • What’s your vision for the future of immunology?

    I feel that scientists will elucidate many more links between diseases and autoimmunity, particularly in diabetes mellitus and neurological disease, which will result in the development of more refined, targeted drugs. Additionally, I envision an electronic network that will facilitate collaborations between immunologists.

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View Agenda

Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology
February 27 – March 2, 2008 • Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Registration opens October 1!

Q&A with Course Director, Andrew Lichtman, PhD, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

  1. How does the public, medicine and science benefit from the Advanced Course?

    Students will be better prepared to take leadership positions in the development of new therapies for diseases involving the immune system, including autoimmunity, immuodeficiencies, cancer, and transplant rejection. Clinical fellows will be better trained to make informed decisions about the care of their patients. Members of the pharmaceutical industry will be in a better position to evaluate the importance of different drug targets, and understand the complexities of the disease of the immune system.

  2. Why did you become involved with the planning and teaching of the Course?

    After years of experience in immunology education within the venue of academic medicine, I was attracted by the challenge of applying my teaching skills in a different setting. In particular, the Advanced Course allows me to have immediate impact on dedicated clinicians and scientists already involved in careers related to immunology and immunological diseases.

  3. What do you hope that attendees will gain from attending the Course?

    • A broad perspective of the interrelationships of different component of the immune system
    • A framework on which to base their own avenues of basic or clinical investigation
    • A fluency in the language of immunology to better enable them to evaluate literature, better interact / communicate with colleagues in various disciplines, enhance their ability to teach their current or future trainees

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008
June 4, 2008, Boston, Massachussets, USA
Save the Date! - Just one day prior to FOCIS 2008

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008, formally Basic Immunology for Clinicians, is a day-long course aimed at practicing clinicians, trainees, and individuals in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who are involved in the development of therapies for immunological diseases. The purpose of the course is to review selected topics in basic immunology, with emphasis on recent advances and issues that are relevant to the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.

New FOCIS Course - Interventional Immunology
June 5, 2008, Boston, Massachussets, USA
Save the Date!


This new course seeks to review 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. The goal is to help understand the rationale and mechanism underlying the major pharmacologic approaches for interventional immunology in current practice and review the track record of the different therapeutic approaches in different specialties.

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Industry Partner Opportunities at FOCIS 2008

For the fourth consecutive year FOCIS leaders will meet with industry partners in September to kick-start the new year’s activities and ensure alignment with strategic partners. FOCIS collaborates with pharmaceutical and tool companies and related non-profit to create a collaborative environment that accelerates science and ultimately improves patient care.

To obtain a copy of the FOCIS Support Opportunities booklet for 2008 you may download it here or contact for further information. Some exciting opportunities for collaboration included in the booklet are:

  • FOCIS 2008 Educational Sessions
  • FOCIS 2008 Website
  • Annual Meeting Newsletter
  • Scientific Program
  • Keynote Address
  • Opening Reception

FOCIS is proud to promote collaboration while maintaining organizational autonomy and compliance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) regulations. All supporters must adhere to FOCIS guidelines as presented in the Support Opportunities document.

• • • • •
FOCIS Network of Consortia

Network of Consortia – Convergence on a Common Theme

Scientists that once worked in disease-specific silos are uniting to create a catalogue of common genetic variations that will enable scientists to unravel underlying causes of autoimmune diseases. New data across diseases is showing great commonality, identifying potential targets that work across autoimmune diseases.

The work of the initial phase of the Network of Consortia (NOC) genome-wide association scans for autoimmunity was presented at FOCIS 2007, during the NOC session on Monday, June 11, 2007.

As more genome-wide association scans become a reality for autoimmune diseases, the overlap in regions/genes for multiple disorders is also accumulating. The NOC will present new results from more autoimmune scans at FOCIS 2008, which promises to shed light on commonality in genetic susceptibility for autoimmunity, biological pathways, and therapeutic targets.

• • • • •

FOCIS 2008 – June 5-9

NOC Monday - Convergence on a Common Theme
Monday, June 9, 2008
Boston Marriott Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

FOCIS 2008

A particular focus of FOCIS 2008 is the translation of basic immunology research findings into human diseases. Decades of intense cellular and molecular studies have permitted the identification of many of the individual components of the immune system. Studies of the mouse immune system, most particularly through the use of animals with targeted gene inactivation, have permitted remarkable progress in linking these components to specific functions in immunity. Numerous high-quality speakers have already accepted the invitation to participate at FOCIS 2008.

Program Sneak Peak (confirmed speakers only)

  • Friday, June 6

    Lessons in Immunodeficiencies
    Jean Laurent Casanova

    Mast Cells, Basophils & Eosinophils in Inflammatory Disease
    Steve Galli, Hajime Karasuyama

    Novel Cytokines
    David Artis, Fred Ramsdell

    Achieving and Measuring Transplant Tolerance
    Megan Sykes, Miriam Merad, Ken Newell

    Antigen Presentation: Loading and Exposing Pathogens and Tumors
    Ira Mellman, Michael Brenner, Laurance Zitvogel

    Keynote Speaker
    Ralph Steinman

  • Saturday, June 7

    Tolerance & Autoimmunity: New Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets
    Diane Mathis, Tadatsugu Taniguchi, Barbara White

    Translating Regulatory T Cells into the Clinic
    Jane Buckner, Jeff Bluestone, Maria Grazia Roncarollo

    Key Cytokines in Autoimmunity
    Yong Jun Liu, John O’Shea, James Krueger

    Translational Uses of Humanized Mice
    Markus Manz, Karolina Palucka, Frank Nestle

    Communicating Danger: Inflammatory Mediators
    Casey Weaver, Kevin Tracey, Frederica Sallusto

  • Sunday, June 8

    Immunologic Modulation for Cancer Therapy
    James Allison, Philip Greenberg

    Innovations in Genetic Approaches
    Mark Davis, Judy Cho

    Movers and Shakers: Cellular Migration and Immunomodulation
    Ron Germain, Gwen Randolph, Danny Douek

    Lessons from Microbe-Host Interactions
    Yasmine Belkaid, Grant McFadden

    Innate Sensing & Signaling
    Michael Gale, Gabriel Nunez

  • Monday, June 9

    FOCIS Network of Consortia presents: Convergence on a Common Theme
    Programmed by Stephen Rich, FOCIS Network of Consortia Chair

Click here for more information about FOCIS 2008 including the preliminary progarm.

Important dates/deadlines:

  • November 1, 2007: Member Society Satellite Application Deadline
  • November 15, 2007: Registration and Abstract Submission Open
  • January 9, 2008: Abstract Submission Deadline
  • February 4, 2008: Exhibit Booth Application Deadline
  • March 4, 2008: Poster Presenters Registration Deadline
  • April 14, 2008: Registration Cancellation Deadline and Headquarter Hotel Discount Deadline
  • May 1, 2008: Advance Registration Deadline
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Career Development

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