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FOCIS UPDATE - November 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,

We are pleased to invite you to FOCIS 2008, the 8th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies, in Boston. This year’s meeting promises an excellent scientific program covering a broad range of immunological topics. As in years past, FOCIS 2008 will include thematic symposia, plenary sessions, oral abstract sessions and poster sessions.

The goal of the FOCIS 2008 Organizing Committee is to continue the tradition set by previous FOCIS meetings, to provide an interdisciplinary program that will allow exchange of ideas and encourage interaction among a wide variety of immunological backgrounds.

A particular focus of the meeting will be the translation of basic immunology research findings into therapies for or treatments of human diseases. Decades of intense cellular and molecular studies revealed 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. However, the study of the human immune system has in general lagged behind that of the mouse because experimental approaches are limited in man for obvious ethical reasons and because genetic and environmental heterogeneity make it more difficult to obtain reproducible results.

Numerous high-quality speakers have already accepted the invitation to participate at FOCIS 2008. One of the highlights of the FOCIS 2008 program will be a keynote address by this year's Albert Lasker Medical Research Award winner, Ralph Steinman from The Rockefeller University.

We strongly encourage the submission of high quality abstracts, as up to 10 submissions will be selected for presentation within the FOCIS program. Additionally, many more abstracts will be featured in oral abstract sessions, and in the Poster Hall. So reserve your most exciting data for FOCIS 2008 and submit your abstracts at

We look forward to seeing you in Boston in June!

Best regards,

The FOCIS 2008 Organizing Committee

Jacques Banchereau, PhD
Baylor Institute for Immunology Research
Vijay Kuchroo, DVM, PhD
Brigham & Women’s
Terri Laufer, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Kathryn Wood, PhD
University of Oxford
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FOCIS 2008

FOCIS 2008 Abstract Site Now Open!

Submit your FOCIS 2008 abstract by January 9 at

Important Dates and Deadlines

January 9 - Abstraction submission deadline
February 22 - Abstract acceptance notifications sent
March 4 - All abstract presenters must be registered for FOCIS 2008 or their abstract will be withdrawn
April 13 - Headquarter hotel registration discount deadline
May 1 - Advance registration deadline
May 6 - Hotel reservation deadline
June 5-9 - FOCIS 2008 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place

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FOCIS 2008 Speaker Sneak Peek

View all confirmed speakers and sessions in the updated FOCIS 2008 Preliminary Program.

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Member Societies to Collaborate at FOCIS 2008
Satellite symposium to flow into FOCIS 2008 opening plenary

“Primary Immunodeficiency Disease Consortium Conference,” a FOCIS 2008 Satellite Symposium, will be held on Thursday, June 5, from 8:30am until 5:30pm, and is organized by the Clinical Immunology Society, the Royal Society of Medicine, the European Society of Immunodeficiency, NIAID, and the Office of Rare Diseases. The conference will highlight recent advances in the basic science and clinical care of patients with primary immunodeficiencies. New findings which impact our understanding of basic pathophysiologic mechanisms will also be discussed.

The theme of primary immunodeficiency disease will then flow into the opening plenary of FOCIS 2008 on Friday, June 6 at 8:30am. The opening plenary, “Lessons in Immunodeficiencies,” will feature prominent speakers including Rebecca Buckley, MD, Jean Laurent Casanova, MD, PhD, and Mary Ellen Conley, MD.

FOCIS 2008 Member Society Satellite Symposia – June 5, 2008

  • American Society for Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (ASHI)/The Transplantation Society (TTS)/American Society of Transplantation (AST) present “Immune Monitoring in Transplantation—From Benchside to Bedside”
  • American Uveitis Society (AUS)
  • Clinical Immunology Society (CIS) presents “Improving Vaccination for Chronic Viral Infections-A Case for Emerging Immune Modulatory Therapies”
  • Clinical Immunology Society (CIS)/European Society of Immunodeficiency (ESID)/Section of Clinical Immunology & Allergy of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM)/National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease (NIAD)/The Office of Rare Diseases present “Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases Consortium Conference”
  • International Cytokine Society (ICS) presents “Emerging Cytokine-Based Therapeutics”
  • International Society for Neuroimmunology (ISNI)/Immunology of Diabetes Society (IDS) present “Dendritic Cells and B cells in MS and Type 1 Diabetes: From Basic Research to Clinical Trials”
  • Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI)/American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)/Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) present “Antigen Recognition at Mucosal Surfaces: Implications for Allergic, Inflammatory & Immunologic Diseases”
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Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008

As new immunotherapeutic strategies are being developed and adopted, it is becoming important to understand the rationale behind these therapies, and this also requires an appreciation of the fundamentals of immunology.

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008
Wednesday, June 4 at FOCIS 2008
Boston Marriott Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Register Now

Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008 provides a sophisticated review of selected basic principles, and an update on new advances, especially those that are most relevant to human disease. Staying abreast of these advances is essential for practitioners of medicine and for researchers in academia and industry.

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At the Forefront of Medicine – Interventional Immunology

FOCIS is proud to announce the launch of Interventional Immunology. This one-day course recognizes the need for and provides education on the many new therapies that are currently available or in development which are based on targets unfamiliar to many practicing physicians.

Interventional Immunology
Thursday, June 5 at FOCIS 2008
Boston Marriott Copley Place
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Register Now

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.

FOCIS 2008 Member Society Satellite Symposia – June 5, 2008

Special rates are available when registering for both Interventional Immunology &
Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2008. Register Now!
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Network of Consortia Monday – “NOC Monday”

The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) has taken on the role of connecting multiple disease specific, genetic consortia under the FOCIS Network of Consortia in an effort to uncover the genetic basis of autoimmunity.

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

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.

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Opportunities for Support and Visibility

FOCIS, through its Member Society relations, innovative initiatives and cross-disciplinary collaborations, has gained a reputation for expertise and action in the area of translational immunology. Driven by our mission of improving human health through immunology, our activities allow us to inspire, enable and create real change. Many FOCIS activities are made possible through the support of external funders: pharmaceutical companies, private foundations, device manufacturers and governmental entities.

FOCIS 2008 Support Opportunities continue the tradition of providing excellent opportunities for collaboration. As a prospective supporter, consider Educational Sessions (Featured Symposia, Industry Tutorials, Oral Abstract Sessions and Poster Sessions), Meeting Services (abstract supplement, CD-ROM, final program, notepads and registration area) and Networking Opportunities (President’s Reception, coffee/refreshment breaks, Opening Reception). The Industry Liaison Council, Network of Consortia and FOCIS Centers of Excellence also offer opportunities for support. In addition, FOCIS communications, including the quarterly e-newsletter and FOCIS website are also sustained through support opportunities.

FOCIS 2008 will attract approximately 1,500 basic and clinical investigators from academic, regulatory and biopharmaceutical venues. This audience includes clinicians, researchers, students, post-doctoral fellows and allied health professionals. Forty-six percent of last year’s attendees were PhDs, 32% MD and 17% MD/PhD.

If you are interested in learning more or would like specific information about collaborating with FOCIS, please contact Gail Bast, FOCIS Executive Director at

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Register Now - Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology

There is limited space available for the Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology. View the agenda and register online now at

Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology
February 27 – March 2, 2008
Mondrian Hotel
Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

This popular four-day course takes place in sunny Scottsdale and features sessions that cover new advances in interventional clinical immunology and the molecular and genetic basis of immunologically-mediated diseases.

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Member Society Spotlight:

Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists (AMLI)

AMLI had its beginnings in the late 1970’s, when several factors merged to serve as the catalyst for the first AMLI meeting. At this time, a much-needed manual was published and served as the primary reference manual for clinical immunology laboratories around the world. In addition, the number of American Board of Medical Laboratory Immunology (ABMLI) diplomates being certified was growing. It soon became apparent that a format was needed to bring together individuals involved in the varied facets of clinical and diagnostic laboratory immunology. As a consequence, a series of informal but successful meetings were held in Clearwater Beach, Florida. These preliminary meetings were the forerunner for the establishment of the AMLI which was officially chartered in 1987 in Williamsburg, Virginia. This year the AMLI celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Over the last two decades, AMLI has evolved to reflect the continuing advances in the field of medical laboratory immunology and to offer this dynamic information base to its immunology community.

Top strategic initiatives

The major purpose of the AMLI is to unite professionals engaged in the practice and study of medical laboratory immunology. The organization's mission is to improve the practice of clinical immunology laboratory testing by encouraging education and training of all individuals in the organization, maximizing the quality of test procedures, promoting the exchange of information, supporting clinical research efforts, and improving patient care.

Recent Accomplishments and Noteworthy Items

Each year the AMLI holds an annual meeting that presents cutting-edge science from various fields related to clinical and diagnostic laboratory immunology. This event serves as a forum for clinical immunologists to meet, learn and discuss common interests. This year’s annual meeting in Chicago was a showcase of AMLI’s passion and commitment to the field of immunology. Exciting topics covering a wide variety of areas such as, cancer vaccines, immune-based therapies, advances in transplantation, autoimmunity and infectious diseases, as well as new technologies and approaches for meeting the challenges in the clinical laboratory were highlighted. Other areas addressed included new discoveries in immunology such as advances in molecular immunology and cytokine biology and their impact on the practice of clinical immunology. The next AMLI meeting will be held in Seattle, Washington, August 9-12, 2008.

The AMLI continues to exercise a pivotal role in education, exchange of scientific knowledge and participation in quality control for laboratory testing. It achieves these objectives through its annual meeting, website, journal and evaluation of current and emerging methodologies. For example:

  • The society website, (, is expanding to not only provide information about its members and its annual meeting but also to generate more interactive educational opportunities.
  • Clinical and Applied Immunology Reviews, a peer-reviewed journal published by Elsevier served as the official AMLI journal from 2000-2007. Beginning in 2008 the Journal of Immunological Methods, also peer-reviewed and published by Elsevier, will become the new AMLI journal.
  • The AMLI society fosters the evaluation of methodologies by establishing quality control for immunologic testing procedures. Development of National Reference Materials, the publication of Quality Control Standards and participation in autoantibody standardization are three important initiatives generated by the AMLI.

With the completion of its 20th year the AMLI continues to thrive as an independent society. The integration of AMLI as a member society in FOCIS helps to ensure that FOCIS is truly representative of the distinct roles that immunology plays in clinical medicine.

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FOCIS Centers of Excellence
Welcome Aboard!

FOCIS welcomes Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) with Director George Tsokos and Kings College London with Director Frank Nestle as the newest members of the FOCIS Centers of Excellence.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is looking forward to promoting interdisciplinary clinical immunology at their FCE. They plan to do this by developing clinical research activities that cross established disciplines, establish training and scientific forums that encourage collaborative activities among BIDMC faculty at FOCIS annual meetings and other sponsored activities by faculty and trainees. Kings College London aims to foster multidisciplinary research in immunology with the aim of translating scientific discoveries into clinical applications including novel diagnostics and therapies. FOCIS looks forward to the collaborations to come.

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FOCIS Centers of Excellence Spotlight

Featured FCE: University of California - Los Angeles
Director: Bevra Hahn

  • Coolest way that you facilitate interdisciplinary research:

    Joint journal clubs and forums.

  • Why do you dig immunology?

    Immunology will occupy a larger part of science as we learn to control infection, cancer and autoimmunity by manipulating the immune system toward specific targets.

  • 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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Career Development
Advertise your job opportunities to the FOCIS audience!

This Enewsletter will reach over 12,000 people in immunology and related fields. Listing your job opportunities on the FOCIS website includes a listing in the quarterly FOCIS Enewsletter. In the upcoming months the traffic on the FOCIS website will reach record highs due to FOCIS 2008 registration and abstract submission. To take advantage of this opportunity for increased visibility of your job postings visit

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