FOCIS Board of Directors

FOCIS President
Gerald T. Nepom

FOCIS Vice President
Jonathan Braun

FOCIS Secretary/Treasurer
Paul J. Utz

Past President
David Hafler

Abul Abbas
George Eisenbarth
Lynn Gordon
Andrew Lichtman
Michael Lotze
Stefan Meuer
Stephen Rich

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:
Letter from the President

Gerald T. Neporn Dear Colleagues,

FOCIS was created to strengthen the immunology community by uniting diverse groups of clinicians, scientists, trainees, post doctoral fellows and industry colleagues. The FOCIS Annual Meetings, educational courses and FOCIS Centers of Excellence are fertile scientific meeting grounds that foster interdisciplinary communications leading to discovery, translation, and ultimately the FOCIS mission: To improve human health through immunology. FOCIS programs help us to break out of the disease and organ specific worlds most of us live in and discover and exploit the commonalities between many immune based diseases. From inception, FOCIS programs built on five cross-disciplinary "pillars" that guide this philosophy:
Potent positive and negative immunologic regulatory circuits offer significant opportunities for understanding and treating immune-mediated disease, with similar approaches likely shared in different diseases.
FOCIS has been a leading voice in integrating genome studies with a mechanistic multi-disease perspective on immune-mediated variation, in health and disease. Our community needs to continue to guide the field towards rational approaches to personalized and predictive medicine.
The gap between discovery and translation is daunting, but the dramatic success of a growing number of biologic immunomodulators in the clinic challenges us to do more, faster.
Host Defense
The number and complexity of immunological pathways which have evolved to respond to threats over millennia are daunting, yet each offers a potential opportunity for better vaccines, therapies, and strategies for improved health.
"If you can't measure it, you can't study it." And, we might add, you can't treat it rationally. FOCIS continues to provide a forum for laboratory innovations to measure immune outcomes, and a network for thoughtful, skilled interpretation.

Later in the newsletter you will meet the FOCIS 2009 Organizing Committee who, based on these pillars, is already putting together a spectacular program for FOCIS 2009, June 11-14 in San Francisco, California. Also the Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology will open for registration at on October 15. Register early as this course has sold out the past three years. This newsletter also announces the dates for the Basic Immunology in Medicine and Interventional Immunology Courses offered at FOCIS 2009. With all of these opportunities we hope to see you soon.

We look forward to your continued participation!

Best regards,
Gerald T. Neporn
Gerald T. Nepom, MD, PhD
FOCIS President

Science on the Dock of the Bay - FOCIS 2009

FOCIS 2009 June 11-14 San Francisco, California, USA
FOCIS 2009
Important Dates & Deadlines:
Abstracts, registration and housing open:
Abstract submission closes:
Meeting registration deadline for poster presenters:
Headquarter hotel registration discount deadline:
Meeting registration deadline:
FOCIS 2009:
Wednesday, November 19
Wednesday, January 7
Wednesday, March 4
Friday, April 17
Friday, May 1
Thursday, June 11 - Sunday, June 14

Meet the FOCIS 2009 Organizing Committee:

Jacques Banchereau Jacques Banchereau, PhD, Organizing Committee Co-chair
Dr. Jacques Banchereau is currently serving his second year as Organizing Committee chair for the FOCIS Annual Meeting. He is the director of the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Dallas and holds the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Chair in organ transplantation immunology. He received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Paris in 1980 and later served as director of the Schering Plough Laboratory for Immunological Research, where he was among the first to discover how to grow human dendritic cells. He has served on the National Institutes of Health's Experimental Immunology Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, in the area of experimental immunology. He has published more than 250 papers and 150 book chapters and reviews in major international journals, reviews manuscripts for various scientific journals and is a frequent speaker at national and international scientific conferences. His research interests center around various areas of immunology and cancer including dendritic cells, novel cytokines and antibody-producing B lymphocytes. As a result of his extensive accomplishments in the understanding of dendritic cells and his significant contributions to this field, Dr. Banchereau is considered one of the fathers of Dendritic Cell Biology.

Olivera Finn Olivera Finn, PhD, Organizing Committee Co-chair
Dr. Olja Finn, professor and chair, department of immunology, and professor of surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, received her PhD in immunology/virology from Stanford University in 1980. Her major research interests include tumor immunology, T cell biology, antigen presentation and immunotherapy. She has published more than 125 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and is a member of a number of professional organizations including the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) of which she is currently the president, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and Women in Cancer Research.

Jean-Laurent Casanova Jean-Laurent Casanova, MD, PhD, Organizing Committee Member
Dr. Jean-Laurent Casanova, professor of pediatrics, Rockefeller University, has spoken at more than 379 various medical conferences and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers. He received his PhD in 1992 from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Switzerland and the Pasteur Institute, University of Paris Pierre et Marie Curie. Dr. Casanova has served as an editor of numerous scientific publications including The Journal of Experimental Medicine, Annual Review of Immunology, Current Opinion in Pediatrics, Seminars in Immunology and Current Opinion in Immunology.

Joan Goverman Joan Goverman, PhD, Abstract Review Committee Co-chair
Dr. Joan Goverman is a professor in the department of immunology and adjunct professor in genome sciences at the University of Washington. FOCIS 2009 will mark her third year as chair of the FOCIS Annual Meeting Abstract Committee. She received her PhD in 1981 from the University of California, Los Angeles and has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications under her belt. Currently, Dr. Goverman is the co-director of the Pathogenesis of Neuroimmunologic Diseases course at the Marine Biologic Laboratory and a member of the scientific advisory board for Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology.

Steven Ziegler Steven Ziegler, PhD, Abstract Review Committee Co-chair
Dr. Steve Ziegler received his PhD in molecular biology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1984 and is currently Member and Director of the immunology program at Benaroya Research Institute and affiliate professor in the department of immunology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications.

FOCIS 2008 Wraps Up
FOCIS 2008 was a success with more than 1,300 attendees from 25 different disease specialties coming together to foster the FOCIS mission of "improving human health through immunology," June 5-9 in Boston, Massachusetts. More than 360 scientific posters were presented and thirty exhibitors showcased their products and services. FOCIS Member Societies participated in large numbers and hosted satellite symposia the first day of the meeting. Eight Member Society Satellites were hosted by 12 Member Societies. FOCIS partners in industry also strongly participated by hosting industry tutorials over the lunch hours to educate FOCIS delegates about the newest developments in tools and therapy.

For all of your FOCIS 2008 Wrap Up needs, click here. Highlights include:
Would you like to comment about FOCIS 2008 or make suggestions for future programs? Please click here to comment.

At it again…FOCIS Advanced Course
The highly lauded and always over-subscribed Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology will be held again in 2009.

Advanced Course in Basic & Clinical Immunology
February 18-22, 2009
Mondrian Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

This course targets clinical fellows in disciplines related to immunology (ie: rheumatology, allergy, infectious disease, oncology, transplantation, etc.), fellows doing basic research with an emphasis on human disease, and scientists from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies who are involved in developing new therapies for immunological disease. Fourteen invited speakers will lecture in an intimate setting over three days, addressing major topics in cellular and molecular immunology, including innate immunity, B cells, T cells, and cytokines.

Click here to view the Preliminary Agenda.

Mark your calendars! Registration opens online at on October 15. See you in sunny Scottsdale!

Early Announcement: Interventional Immunology and Basic Immunology for Clinicians Dates

Save the Date!

Thinker Basic Immunology in Medicine: Update 2009
Wednesday, June 10 at FOCIS 2009
San Francisco, California, USA
Interventional Immunology Interventional Immunology
Thursday, June 11 at FOCIS 2009
San Francisco, California, USA

Please visit for more information.

Member Society Spotlight – American College of Rheumatology
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with or at risk for arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. The ACR used to be called the ARA (American Rheumatism Association). Until the late 1980s it was part of the Arthritis Foundation.

In the 1990s the ACR started the REF (Research and Education Foundation), which has supported career development in rheumatology and allied health professions. Now the REF has also launched a targeted research initiative in RA (rheumatoid arthritis), called Within Our Reach, which will raise and spend $30 million over 5 years on RA research.

The ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier event for specialists in the field of rheumatology. The 2008 program includes more variety and concurrent sessions than ever before and will be held October 24-29 in San Francisco. To learn more the meeting and about ACR, visit

FOCIS Centers of Excellence
FOCIS Centers of Excellence Spotlight – University of British Columbia Center Director: Rusung Tan
Rusung Tan
FOCIS: What is the coolest way that you facilitate interdisciplinary research?

Tan: Successful interdisciplinary research depends on breaking down things such as social barriers, fear of the unknown and historical biases. The easiest way to do this is by serving beer… or tea or any other beverage in a convivial setting that places everyone on a relaxed and level playing field. I've been told that Dr. David Weatherall endured flak when creating the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford because of its "excessively" spacious and well-furnished canteen. But in retrospect, it was one of the most important aspects of that building, bringing together scientists, technologists, clinicians and support staff, and creating an atmosphere of excitement and collaboration. Investment in a desirable (sufficiently large and comfortable) gathering place probably provides one of the strongest returns of investment to a research institution.

FOCIS: Why do you dig immunology?

Tan: I particularly like cellular immunology for the same reason I like physiology. You get to study how organ systems interact, and you can easily see the big picture. And it's so MUCH less dry than biochemistry or molecular biology. I just wish I was better at those last two things, because they are so important to the first thing.

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

Tan: If genetics is used as an analogy, the future of immunology will be in high throughput/array technologies that will allow for accurate and reproducible measurements of normal and pathophysiological immune function. Ten years ago, genetics was not hugely relevant in medicine. Then came high speed sequencing, the HUGO project and array technologies. Now, in our pediatric pathology lab, the fastest expanding area of testing is for inherited diseases. When we are able to assay cells, serum and possibly tissues in a big way, and develop large data sets associated with normalcy or disease, we can become much more pertinent to the practice of medicine.

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

We look forward to your participation and collaboration!

FCE Member News – Robert Carter Named NIAMS Deputy Director
Robert H. Carter, MD, former director of the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham FCE has been selected as deputy director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Keeping with the FOCIS mission, as deputy director, Dr. Carter will contribute to the NIAMS' pursuit of cutting-edge research on a broad spectrum of investigations, from basic science to clinical studies, with translational research as a particular area of interest.

Dr. Carter will be assuming his official responsibilities as of October 1, 2008. We wish Robert Carter the best of luck in his new endeavor.

News You Can Use
FOCIS Collaborates with World's Largest Interactive Online Encyclopedia of Medicine and Health
The Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) announces its collaboration with the Medpedia Project, the world's largest collaborative online encyclopedia of medicine. FOCIS is calling for qualified MDs, biomedical research PhDs, and clinicians to go to to apply to become Editor-Contributors of content. Read more...

MSc Integrated Immunology Year-long Course
October 2007 – September 2008
Oxford University, United Kingdom

ASHI 34th Annual Meeting
October 27-31, 2008
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

iSBTc Global Regulatory Summit on Oncology Biologics Development
October 29, 2008
San Diego, CA, USA

iSBTc Workshop on Cancer and Inflammation
October 30, 2008
San Diego, CA, USA

iSBTc Primer on Tumor Immunology and Biological Therapy
October 30, 2008
San Diego, CA, USA

23rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer (iSBTc)
October 31-November 2, 2008
San Diego, CA, USA

iSBTc Hot Topic Symposium on Anti-CTLA-4
November 2, 2008
San Diego, CA, USA

Renal Week 2008: 41st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology (Co-sponsored by FOCIS)
November 4 - 9, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

13th Congress of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology
November 19 – 22, 2008
Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand

The Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI)/14th International Congress of Mucosal Immunology (ICMI)
July 5-9, 2009
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The Merinoff Symposium
September 24 – 27, 2009
New Paltz, NY, USA

ASHI 35th Annual Meeting
November 2-6, 2009
San Francisco, California, USA

14th International Congress of Immunology
August 22-27, 2010
Kobe, Japan

ASHI 36th Annual Meeting
September 25-29, 2010
Hollywood, Florida, USA

ASHI 37th Annual Meeting
October 17-21, 2011
New Orleans, Louisiana,USA

Career Opportunities
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 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 - 0800200

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: Education & Languages: Professional Skills & Experience: Personal Skills & Competencies:
Senior Scientist - Immunology (Cytokine biology)
Merck Serono - Geneva Research Center – 0800201

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: Education & Languages: Professional Skills & Experience: Personal Skills & Competencies:
Senior Scientist- Immunology (Inflammation)
Merck Serono – Geneva Research Center – 0800389

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 develop competencies in relevant area of Immunology.

Main Tasks & Responsibilities: Education & Languages: Professional Skills & Experience: Personal Qualifications & Competencies:
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: Education & Languages: Professional Skills & Experience: Personal Qualifications & Competencies:
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