July 23, 2013

Immunology symposium keystone for research in the Southeast

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Leading immunologists, including a Nobel winner and a Lasker Prize awardee, gathered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus in June for the second annual Spring Immunology Symposium. 

Rolf M. Zinkernagel, Dr. Med., a 1996 Nobel laureate and professor emeritus at the University of Zurich; Emil R. Unanue, M.D., who received a Lasker Prize in 1995 and a professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine; and John Cambier, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chairman of the Integrated Department of Immunology at the University of Colorado presented keynote addresses.

“I was taught by one of my mentors that work that hasn’t been shared hasn’t been done,” said Harry Schroeder, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAB School of Medicine’s Program in Immunology. “One of the most important things in science is to bring people together.”

The Spring Immunology Symposium does that. It was created by faculty from UAB, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Emory University School of Medicine to share new work, exchange ideas and build collaborations to advance immunology.

The biological sciences, Schroeder said, is getting ever more complex. “It can’t be done by one person, it has to be done by groups.”

An advantage of a regional meeting is the opportunity to increase collaborations around larger pools of data from patients with similar ethnic derivations and environmental influences. “Typically there aren’t sufficient numbers of patients at any one institution to address the sorts of issues we’d like to address.

The 2014 meeting will be on Emory’s campus, and Vanderbilt will host the 2015 meeting, and the meeting organizers expect to expand the number of institutions involved.

In addition to the keynotes, Zinkernagel, Unanue and Cambier shared their thoughts about the future of immunology, training young scientists and the value of scientific meetings in video interviews with Schroeder.

Click here to see more videos from the Spring Immunology Symposium.