Plenary Sessions bring together three diverse global experts to share their insights on the state of immunology, followed by a moderated discussion. IUIS 2023 is delighted to have plenary sessions covering Plenary topics.
Dr. Yasmine Belkaid is a Distinguished Investigator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health (Bethesda). She obtained her Master in Biochemistry at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in Algiers, Algeria and her Ph.D from Pasteur Institute in France. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of health (Bethesda) on immune regulation during infection, she started her research program at the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati. In 2005, she joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and was appointed senior scientist in 2008. Her laboratory explores fundamental mechanisms that regulate tissue homeostasis and host immune responses and uncovered key roles for the microbiota and dietary factors in the control of immunity and protection to pathogens. Dr Belkaid is the Chief of the Laboratory of Hist Immunity and Microbiome, the director of the trans NIH Center for Human immunology and is the founder and Director of the NIAID Microbiome program. Dr Belkaid is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and recipient of numerous awards including the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences, the Emil von Behring Prize, the Sanofi-Institut Pasteur Award, the Robert Koch Award and the AAI Excellence in Mentoring Award.
Dr. Marco Colonna was born in Parma, Italy, received his medical degree and specialization in internal medicine at Parma University (Parma, Italy) and completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA). He became a scientific member of the Basel Institute for Immunology (Basel, Switzerland). Since 2001 he has been a Professor of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, USA. Since 2019 Dr. Colonna is a member of the National Academy of Science. Dr. Colonna’s research focuses on immunoreceptors. In this field his accomplishments encompass identification and characterization of the Killer cell Ig-like receptors and HLA-C polymorphisms as their inhibitory ligands, as well as the discovery of the LILR and TREM inhibitory and activating receptor families. Through analysis of the cellular distribution of these receptors, he identified plasmacytoid dendritic cells as source of IFN-/ in anti-viral responses and innate lymphoid cells that produce IL-22 in mucosae. His current areas of research include: 1) Innate lymphoid cells in mucosal immunity. 2) Plasmacytoid dendritic cells in host defense and autoimmunity. 3) TREM2 and innate immunoreceptors in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Dong is Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine and Director for the Shanghai Immune Therapy Institute, as well as a principal investigator at the Institute for Immunology at Tsinghua University. Dr. Dong served as a Professor of Immunology and the Director of the Center for inflammation and Cancer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center before his move to China, and also was Dean of Tsinghua University School of Medicine in 2016-2020.
Dr. Dong’s research is to understand the molecular mechanisms whereby immune and inflammatory responses are normally regulated, and to apply this knowledge to the understanding and treatment of infection, autoimmunity and allergy disorders as well as cancer. The work from Dr. Dong’s group has led to the discoveries of Th17 and T follicular helper (Tfh) cell subsets in the immune system and elucidation of their biological and pathological functions.
Dr. Dong has over 200 publications and was rated highly cited researcher for seven times. The honors he has received include the 2009 American Association of Immunologists-BD Bioscience Investigator Award and 2019 International Cytokine and Interferon Society Biolegend-William E. Paul Award. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the advancement of Science and the Chinese Academy of Medicine.
Prof. Ricardo T. Gazzinelli is the Director of Center for Vaccine Technology from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, and a Senior Investigator at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil. He received his post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Infectious Disease and Allergy and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His research focuses in understanding the role of innate immune receptors and immunometabolism in the pathophysiology of malaria. He also coordinates a program for the development of vaccines for neglected tropical diseases and respiratory viral infections.
Name: Brian S. Kim Degree(s): MD, MTR
Title(s): Sol and Clara Kest Professor of Dermatology, Vice Chair of Research, Site Chair Mount Sinai West and Morningside, Director of the Mark Lebwohl Center for Neuroinflammation and Sensation
Current Affiliation(s): Kimberly and Eric J. Waldman Department of Dermatology, Precision Immunology Institute, Friedman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Social Media: @itchdoctor; https://www.briankimlab.org
Summary of Research: Understanding how the sensory nervous system interacts with the immune system to shape behavior and tissue inflammation.
Dr. Kim received his M.D. from the University of Washington, was a HHMI-NIH Scholar, completed residency in dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Master of Translational Research (MTR). The Kim Lab focuses on mechanisms that underlie skin inflammation and the sensation of itch as a fundamental, broad, model paradigm of neuroimmunology. He has >120 peer-reviewed publications, multiple NIH grants, designed pivotal clinical trials that led to novel FDA-approved treatments, and is an inventor of itch-centered technologies. He holds a patent for the use of JAK inhibitors for chronic itch. He is on the editorial board for Cell Reports Medicine, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, section editor for Journal of Immunology and on the board of reviewing editors for eLife.
Guido Kroemer is currently Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Paris-Cité,
Director of the research team “Metabolism, Cancer and Immunity” of the French Medical Research Council (INSERM),
Director of the Metabolomics and Cell Biology platforms of the Gustave Roussy Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Hospital Practitioner
at the Hôpital Européen George Pompidou, Paris, France.
Dr. Kroemer’s work focuses on the pathophysiological implications of cell stress and death in the context of aging, cancer and inflammation.
He discovered the ignition of regulated cell death pathways by mitochondrial membrane permeabilization,
the cytoprotective and antiaging effects of macroautophagy, as well as the decisive role of immunogenic cell death in anticancer treatments.
He is member of the Academia Europaea, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, European Academy of Cancer Sciences (EACS),
European Academy of Sciences (EAS), European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA), European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO),
German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina), and Institut Universitaire de France (IUF).
Bart N. Lambrecht obtained an MD (1993) and PhD (1999) in Medicine at Ugent and specialized in Pulmonary Medicine (2002) at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He is Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at ErasmusMC and at UGent, Belgium, and since 2012 the director of the VIB Inflammation Research Center, hosting 400 scientists . He is a multiple ERC grant awardee and serves on the editorial board of Trends in Immunology and Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has (co)authored over 400 papers in the field of asthma and allergy and respiratory viral infection.
Together with Prof. Hamida Hammad he leads a research unit of 36 people. The research in their unit is centered around the role of antigen-presenting in asthma and respiratory viral infection. They study how DCs and macrophages get activated to bridge innate and adaptive immunity in the lung and cause inflammation in response to allergen inhalation or exacerbations by respiratory virus. They focus on the traditional immunological functions of APCs, but the research team is also known for their approach on how epithelial cells and innate immune cells communicate with APCs to cause or perpetuate disease. Their research strategy is to continuously develop new tools and therapeutic targets, so that they can tackle questions in an innovative and competitive manner. Their ultimate goal is to find novel ways to prevent and treat asthma, and to achieve this goal they set up early stage collaborations with Biotech and Pharma, to take their ideas to the clinic. Since the COVID-19 crisis, he has initiated two large multi-center trials on new immunomodulators in COVID-19, the SARPAC trial testing the effect of inhaled GM-CSF; and the COV-AID trial addressing the impact of early interleukin-1 and -6 blockade in COVID-19.
A full list of publications can be found at https://biblio.ugent.be/person/801000968239
Professor Sharon Lewin is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist, who is internationally renowned for her research into all aspects of HIV disease and specifically in pathways to an HIV cure. She is the inaugural Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne Laureate Professor of Medicine at The University of Melbourne, and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow. In July 2022, she was elected President of the International AIDS Society (IAS), a global organisation with over 15,000 members. She continues to co-chairs the IAS Global Advisory board for the Towards an HIV Cure initiative. She has played a prominent advisory role to the Australian response to COVID-19 and co-chairs the National COVID Health and Research Advisory Committee (NCHRAC), advising the Chief Medical Officer of Australia. She was recently appointed head of the Cumming Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics, a new research centre established at the Doherty Institute from a philanthropic gift- from Mr Geoff Cumming of $250 million.
Sharon has authored over 360 publications and given over 150 major international invited talks on HIV cure. She has been a Clarivate hi-citation researcher since 2019. She was named Melburnian of the Year in 2014, and in 2015 and was awarded the Peter Wills Medal by Research Australia. In 2019, Sharon was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of her distinguished service to medical research, and to education and clinical care, in the field of infectious diseases, particularly HIV and AIDS.
Thumbi Ndung’u is the Director for Basic and Translational Science at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa; Programme Director for the Sub-Saharan African Network for TB/HIV Research Excellence (SANTHE); Professor of Infectious Diseases at University College London; Scientific Director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s HIV Pathogenesis Programme; and Associate Member of the Ragon Institute. He has a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Nairobi, completed a PhD in Biological Sciences in Public Health from Harvard University, and performed post-doctoral research in Virology at Harvard Medical School. He is a recipient of the South African Medical Research Council Gold award for scientific contributions that have impacted on the health of people and is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and an African Academy of Sciences Fellow. His research focuses on understanding how the immune system may be harnessed for HIV prophylactic or therapeutic strategies.
Luke O’Neill is Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is a world expert on innate immunity and inflammation. His main research interests include Toll-like receptors, Inflammasomes and Immunometabolism. He is listed by Thompson Reuters/ Clarivates in the top 1% of immunologists in the world, based on citations per paper. Professor O’Neill is co-founder of Sitryx, which aims to develop new medicines for inflammatory diseases. Another company he co-founded, Inflazome was recently acquired by Roche.
He was awarded the The Society for Leukocyte Biology (SLB) Dolph O. Adams award, the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal, the Milstein Award of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society and the Landsteiner Award from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Hai Qi, Ph.D.
Professor and Dean
School of Medicine, Tsinghua University
Dr. Qi is a Professor in Immunology at Tsinghua University. He studies humoral immune regulation and germinal center biology. His group has made important contributions to understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying T-B interactions, follicular helper T-cell development and function, and germinal center positive selection. His group has also made important contributions to mechanistic understanding of how sexual dimorphism is orchestrated in B-cell immunity and how brain can directly control antibody responses. Dr. Qi is an HHMI International Scholar and has been recognized by numerous awards, including an AAI-BD Investigator Award.
Dr. Sharma is an immunologist and oncologist whose research work is focused on investigating mechanisms and pathways within the immune system that facilitate tumor rejection or elicit resistance to immune checkpoint therapy (ICT). She is a Professor in the departments of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology. She is also the inaugural Scientific Director for the Immunotherapy Platform and the Director of Sceintific Programs for the James P. Allison Institue at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She’s written and conducted multiple innovative immunotherapy clinical trials, with emphasis on obtaining patients’ tumor samples for in-depth laboratory studies. She designed the first neoadjuvant trial with ICT, which was also the first clinical trial with ICT for patients with bladder cancer. Her studies have identified novel resistance mechanisms to ICT, including loss of interferon (IFN) signaling, VISTA+ immunosuppressive cells, increased EZH2 expression in T cells, TGFb signaling in bone metastases, and CD73+ myeloid cells in GBM. These data have led to initiation of new research studies focused on developing rational combination immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of cancer patients. As a result of her outstanding contributions to the field of cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Sharma was selected as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) as well as awarded the Emil Frei III Award for Excellence in Translational Research in 2016, the Coley Award for Distinguished Research for Tumor Immunology in 2018, the Women in Science with Excellence (WISE) award in 2020, the Heath Memorial Award in 2021 and the Randall Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research in 2021.
Sarah Teichmann is a systems and genome biologist who heads the Cellular Genetics programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge. Sarah did her PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, was a Beit Memorial Fellow at University College London, and returned to the LMB to start her own group in 2001. In 2013, she moved to the Wellcome Genome Campus, jointly with the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute and the Sanger Institute, and Sarah has been Head of Cellular Genetics at the Sanger Institute since 2016.
Sarah’s research group develops and applies cell atlasing technologies to map human tissue architecture in order to understand health and disease. In 2016, Sarah co-founded the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) consortium, which she continues to co-lead. The HCA aims to create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells and now includes thousands of members from across the world. Sarah is also Director of Research at the Physics Department at the University of Cambridge. Amongst her honours, Sarah is an elected EMBO Member, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Society.
Henrique Veiga-Fernandes graduated in Veterinary Medicine at Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. He was awarded a PhD in molecular and cellular biology from Université René Descartes, Paris, France. He developed his post-doctoral research at Institut Necker in Paris, France and at the National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK. He started his own group in 2009 at IMM, Portugal. He was member of the IMM board of directors from 2014 to 2016. He joined the Champalimaud Centre for Unknown as senior group leader, in 2016. Currently, he is the director of Champalimaud Research. He made important contributions to the understanding of immunological memory, innate lymphoid cells and neuro-immune interactions. Among other distinctions he received several European Research Council awards, he has been elected as EMBO member in 2015 and Allen Distinguished Investigator in 2018. He is member of the board of reviewing editors of Science AAAS, US.
Éric Vivier, DVM, PhD, is Professor of Immunology at the Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (Aix-Marseille University, INSERM, CNRS) and at the Public Hospital of Marseille (AP-HM).
He is a co-founder and scientific director of Innate Pharma, a biotechnology company dedicated to improving cancer treatment with innovative therapeutic antibodies that exploit the immune system.
His work focuses on innate immunity and in particular on Natural Killer cells and other innate lymphoid cells.
He is also President of Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster