View Newsletter Archives

In this issue...

FOCIS Steering Committee

David Hafler

FOCIS Vice-Chair
Gerald T. Nepom

FOCIS Secretary/Treasurer
Jonathan Braun

Past Chair
C. Garrison Fathman

FCE Chair
Cornelia Weyand

Accreditation Chair
George Eisenbarth

Communications Chair
Lynn Gordon

Development Chair
Lanny Rosenwasser

Education Chair
P.J. Utz

International Chair
Stefan Meuer

Research Chair
Dhaval Patel

Steering Committee Members

Grant J. Anhalt

Jack P. Antel

Richard S. Blumberg

Jeffrey A. Bluestone

Mary K. Crow

C. Cunningham-Rundles

Mohamed R. Daha

Lynn K. Gordon

Allan D. Kirk

Vijay Kuchroo

Peter E. Lipsky

Michael T. Lotze

Barbara Murphy

William J. Murphy

T. Mohanakumar

Maurice R.G. O'Gorman

Charles G. Orosz

Lanny J. Rosenwasser

Daniel Rotrosen

Kendall A. Smith

Kathleen Sullivan

William J. Murphy

Warren Strober

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:
Sarah Krause
(414) 918-3192

Dear Colleagues:

In its few years of existence, FOCIS has successfully identified the growing need for cross-disciplinary collaboration among academicians, researchers and clinician scientists. FOCIS highlights the results of these efforts every year at the FOCIS Annual Meeting. The meeting is the apex of the year's activities, and it brings together, on large scale, people interested in improving human health through immunology. The success of the meeting, now in its sixth year, has given birth to the spread of the same spirit throughout the all areas of FOCIS.

The FOCIS Centers of Excellence (FCE) were created in 2002 to foster interdisciplinary research efforts in academic institutions both nationally and internationally. It has inherently become an immense network of colleagues who share resources and information to mutually further research in immunology. The FCE network is an incubator for the next thought leaders in the field of immunology to test their theories and perfect their research techniques in an environment that guides their learning, and at the same time challenges them to create new and better ways to conduct ground-breaking, translational research.

In this same spirit, FOCIS has created the Network of Consortia (NOC). Born in February 2005, the NOC brings together a wide range of disease specific consortia to identify the causes of autoimmunity and to define ways to help improve the lives of those with autoimmune diseases. These goals can best be achieved by talented, dedicated individuals working together in a team effort. There are many challenges to this type of approach, and this meeting begins to help overcome those challenges. The NOC Winter Meeting can begin the dialogue to define mechanisms by which efforts of individuals can be better spent by avoiding the mistakes that some groups have made and building upon their successes.

The NOC currently consists of the following consortia: Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), led by Judy Cho, University of Chicago; Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) / Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes & T-Cell, led by Vicki Seyfert-Margolis, Immune Tolerance Network; International MS Genetics, led by David Hafler, Harvard University; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), led by Joan Merrill, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and Barbara Mittleman, National Institutes of Health; and Type 1 Diabetes Genetics, led by Steve Rich, Wake Forest University.

This group will be uniting at the NOC Winter Meeting February 2-4, 2006 at the Sonesta Hotel & Suites in Coconut Grove, Florida. FOCIS welcomes a host of excellent speakers to discuss the topics of consent, central resources and data analysis. Collaborators from biotechnology companies will also be joining the discussion to talk about the novel technologies that will allow us to conduct high-throughput assays and analyze dense marker mapping of the human genome in the context of case-control studies.

We look forward to the stimulating discussion and break-through technology that is sure to be a highlight of this meeting and of future FOCIS developments.

Dhavalkumar Patel, MD, PhD
FOCIS Research Chair
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

• • • • •

Get in the Know - FOCIS 2006

Submit Your Abstract • Travel Awards Available
FOCIS is now accepting abstracts for FOCIS 2006, the premier meeting in translational immunology! The deadline to submit an abstract is January 20, 2006. Abstracts must be submitted electronically, via the FOCIS Web site, There will be no late-breaking abstract deadline.

Travel awards will be made available to individuals whose abstracts are selected for oral presentation at FOCIS 2006. To apply for a travel award, simply select "Oral Presentation Preferred" when submitting your abstract at Your abstract will then be considered for oral presentation in one of 15 sessions at FOCIS 2006 and a travel award for reimbursement of meeting-related expenses.

New Poster Registration Policy
Abstract submitters who are accepted for a poster presentation at FOCIS 2006 MUST register to attend the meeting by April 1, 2006 for their abstract to be included in the FOCIS 2006 Abstract Supplement and their poster to be scheduled in a poster session. Submitters who are accepted, but do not register will be considered withdrawals, and will not be included in the Final Program or Abstract Supplement. This policy is created to reduce Poster Hall "no-shows" and to ensure a vibrant and interactive Poster Hall for all delegates. Thank you for your cooperation.

Registration Discounts Available • Special Room Rates for Trainees
Registration is now open for FOCIS 2006, June 1-5 at the San Francisco Marriott. Register before April 15 to receive reduced advance registration rates. Registration discounts are also available for booking your room at the FOCIS 2006 Headquarters Hotel! Simply log onto to make a reservation at the San Francisco Marriott. Use your Marriott confirmation number when registering for FOCIS 2006 to qualify for the Headquarters Hotel Discount. Trainees booking their hotel rooms at the San Francisco Marriott are also eligible for reduced rates of $139/night, compared to the already low rate of $184/night for delegates. A limited number of rooms are available at this bargain rate. Trainees, book your room now to lock in these rates. Log on to to make your reservation or call the Marriott reservations line at 1-800-266-9432.

Questions? Please contact:
Megan M. Kelley, Meetings Manager
Phone: (414) 918-3192

Increase Visibility!
FOCIS is currently in the final stages of securing support for FOCIS 2006, the premiere meeting in clinical immunology. Don't miss your chance to reach the widest audience of translational immunology professionals. Click here to view FOCIS Sponsorship Opportunities for FOCIS 2006.

If you are interested in supporting the Abstract Supplement, educational session or social event, please contact Gail Bast, FOCIS Executive Director at (414) 918-3192 or
• • • • •

FOCIS Session set for Paris!

FOCIS has joined the European Congress of Immunology (ECI) and the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) to offer two symposia at the 16th ECI Meeting to be held September 6-9, 2006 in Paris, France.

Click here to view the scientific program.

The FOCIS symposia will feature talks from FOCIS Chair, David Hafler, Harvard Medical School, as well as immediate FOCIS Past Chair, C. Garrison Fathman, Stanford University, on the topic of "Novel Strategies to Understand Immunity and Autoimmunity." The second symposium will focus on "Novel Strategies to Treat Autoimmune Diseases." Please visit click here to learn more about the meeting.

Educating and Advancing - FOCIS Educational Opportunities

Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology
This course is the newest addition to the FOCIS Educational Programs repertoire. It will be held for the first time in Scottsdale, Arizona, March 15-18, 2006. The course provides an in-depth introduction to immunology with an emphasis on the basic biological underpinning of important human immunological diseases. Lectures will focus on basic biology and clinical relevance as well as technologies and new therapies. The Advanced Course is targeted specifically at fellows-in-training, clinical scientists interested in an update and researchers in industry.

Basic Immunology for Clinicians: Update Twice in 2006
This day-long intensive course intended to update clinicians, clinical scientists and trainees about recent advances in immunology, with an emphasis on the biological basis of immunological diseases and therapies. It will be taught by Andrew Lichtman, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, at the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) State-of-the-Art Symposium, April 9, 2006. Please contact Megan Kelley, FOCIS Meetings Manager for more information.

Another offering of the course will be held Wednesday, May 31, 2006, at the San Francisco Marriott (immediately preceding FOCIS 2006). The course will be co-taught by its creators, Abul K. Abbas, MD, University of California - San Francisco, and Hidde Ploegh, PhD, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

• • • • •

FOCIS Network of Consortia Join the Consortia Think Tank - Network of Consortia
2nd Annual Meeting

The Network of Consortia (NOC) is an interdisciplinary group of consortia created for the purpose of working together to identify shared and disease-specific factors in the molecular pathology of human disease involving the immune system. This group collaborates on current and future genetic studies, their strengths and limitations, the planning, analysis and interpretation of results.

NOC Winter Meeting
Sonesta Hotel & Suites
Coconut Grove, Florida
February 3, 2006
For more information on the NOC, please visit the NOC Web site

• • • • •

FOCIS Centers of Excellence
 News You Can Use - FOCIS Centers of Excellence

FCE Directors Meeting
The FOCIS Winter Meeting will be held the day before the FOCIS Annual Meeting, on Wednesday, May 31. The timing of the meeting offers directors a chance to conduct FCE business on Wednesday, attend the Trainee Satellite Symposium (TSS) with their trainees on Thursday, and take in cutting edge science at the premiere meeting in clinical immunology.
Mark your calendars!
FCE Directors Meeting
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
San Francisco Marriott
Welcome Aboard!
FOCIS Welcomes New FCE Director, Gust Verbruggen

Dr. Gust Verbruggen who specializes in Rheumatology at Gent University has accepted the position of FCE Director. Dr. Eric Veys, who has led the FCE at Gent University in Belgium since its initial accreditation, retired on November 1. Special thanks to Dr. Veys for his dedication and best wishes for the future.

click to see larger image
FCE Spotlight: Robarts Research Institute - University of Western Ontario
The University of Western Ontario recently was honored by being selected by Thomson Scientific, an organization that provides indicators of performance in research, as one of the top ranking institutions in the areas of Immunology and Pharmacology.

Center Director, Dr. Joaquim Madrenas states that, "I believe that these results provide great news not only for our center, but also for the FOCIS network. This is a measure of recognition of the work done by our investigators and their teams of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, technicians and the support they receive from the institutions. It also helps to emphasize the importance of the FOCIS network to enhance research excellence and capacity."

FCE Collaborative - Institute of Immunology, Venezuela & Robarts Research Institute, Canada
The FOCIS Center at the Institute of Immunology at the University Central of Venezuela led by Dr. Nicolas E. Bianco and the FOCIS Center for Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapeutics at Robarts and the University of Western Ontario, led by Dr. Joaquim Madrenas have established a collaborative agreement to promote and optimize interactions between the two FOCIS centers on Basic and Clinical Immunology. As a result of this initiative, the two centers are working to establish a peer-reviewed, funded, Global Health Initiative on novel tools to monitor innate immunity in the response to emerging infections.

Novel Approaches for IBD Treatment: Pharmacologic and Non-Pharmacologic Options
University of Chicago FCE Director Dr. Stephen Hanauer and Dr. Robert Weinstein recently co-chaired a program where experts in the field of gastroenterology and immunology discussed pathophysiology and treatment options for IBD. The symposium is now available online in audio and slide format for CME credit. Please visit to view the presentations. CME credit will be available until September 2006.

Position Available! Baylor College of Medicine Endowed Chair
The Immunology Allergy and Rheumatology Section of the Department of Medicine and Biology of Inflammation Center invite applications for appointment to the Nancy Chang Chair in Allergy and Immunology or the Brown Foundation Chair in Rheumatology. Candidates must have outstanding scholarly achievement and ongoing extramural funding of research in basic or translational immunology relevant to the disciplines of Allergy and Immunology or Rheumatology. Research facilities are in the new laboratories of the interdisciplinary Biology of Inflammation Center, and clinical facilities are in the new Baylor Clinic. Applicants should submit a letter summarizing research interests and career goals, and a CV to: David P. Huston, MD; Baylor College of Medicine; One Baylor Plaza, BCM 285; Houston, TX 77030-3411. Email: Phone: 713-798-3360

FCEs, share the news on how your center advances interdisciplinary efforts.
Send your FCE Updates to Sarah Krause at

• • • • •

FOCIS Member Societies
 FOCIS Member Society News & Events

AAAAI/ACAAI Certification/Maintenance of Certification Board Review Course
April 6-9, 2006
Chicago, IL

This course has been designed as the premier postgraduate conference to prepare the allergist/immunologist for certification and recertification. This intensive Literature Review Course will give a winning edge when preparing for certification/recertification exams or simply strengthening skills. For more information or to register online please visit

American College of Rheumatology State-of-the-Art Symposium
April 7-9, 2006
Chicago, IL

The ACR will hold the State-of-the-Art Symposium in Chicago, April 7-9, 2006. The program will end with a special offering of the FOCIS course, Basic Immunology for Clinicians: Update 2006. Please contact Megan Kelley, FOCIS Meetings Manager for more information.

Cytokines 2006 - 6th Joint Meeting of the International Cytokine Society, International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research & the European Cytokine Society
August 27-31, 2006
Vienna, Austria

The scientific program of this conference will bring together the leading investigators in molecular biology of cytokines, in cancer research and in immunology. Themes to be covered are: new cytokines, cytokine functions and structures, gene regulation, signal transduction, cell cycle control, role of cytokines in immunology, inflammation, angiogenesis and host defense.

Member Societies, we want to hear from you!
Please send your upcoming news and events to Sarah Krause,

• • • • •

Program Announcements...
New Dana Foundation Program in Human Immunology - Now Accepting Inquiries
The Dana Foundation seeks to stimulate immunology research that deals directly with patients. The intent of this program is to support scientists who have begun significant immunological research with patients, and who have preliminary data that qualifies them to carry out the work and provide initial evidence that the work can proceed as planned. Please visit for more information.

New 5-Year, $15 Million Research Grant Program to Accelerate Immune Tolerance Therapies for Type 1 Diabetes
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is collaborating with the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) to offer a $15 million joint-funding program. The program is aimed at accelerating the pace of clinical research towards a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis through the ITN Web site

2006 NIH Director's Pioneer Award Program
"The Pioneer Award supports exceptionally creative scientists who bring their talents, expertise and perspectives to bear on some of the biggest challenges in biomedical research," said NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. The program is open to scientists at all career levels who may be engaged in any field of research provided they are interested in exploring biomedically relevant topics and willing to commit the major portion of their effort to Pioneer Award Research. In September 2006, NIH expects to make five to ten new awards of up to $2.5 million in direct costs over a five-year period. For more information or to apply visit

Stimulating Collaboration between Basic & Clinical Scientists
The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) is striving to unite basic and clinical scientists through collaborative research initiatives perpetuated by the Immunobiology Working Committee. This committee is currently seeking research proposals that are highly translational and hypothesis-driven. Please click here to view the complete mission statement and program announcements.

USIDNET - Short Term Training Program in Primary Immunodeficiency
This program is targeted toward young physicians interested in research and management of primary immunodeficiency. Senior medical students and recent medical graduates in residencies or research fellowships are invited to apply at

Click here to view a complete listing of grant and award opportunities.

© 2005 FOCIS