The inaugural MICS Meeting, was held July 27-30, 2016, at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, Canada. The meeting content centered on how the mucosal microbiota influences immune responses. The theme for the meeting was Microbiota and Mucosal Immunity: Rules of Engagement in Health and Disease.
The event commenced with a one-day course on July 27, aimed mainly at trainees. The course was based on the Principles of Mucosal Immunology textbook and was taught by a faculty team led by Dr. Phillip Smith, one of the textbook editors. A two and a half day interactive symposium followed, featuring fresh session formats for scientific talks and electronic poster sessions, alongside more traditional presentation formats.
New this year, SMI was proud to present oral ePoster presentations at MICS 2016. Sixteen authors were selected to present their work in this format during the Exhibit & Poster Session. Each presentation was dynamic and interactive, with a focus on Q&A and audience engagement. While there were only 16 ePosters presented, every abstract presenter was asked to submit an ePoster for an ePoster website. Access the ePoster site here to browse submitted abstracts.
Rising Stars in Mucosal Immunology
The SMI’s new “Rising Stars in Mucosal Immunology” program for graduate students and post-docs made its debut at SMI’s MICS 2016 meeting in Toronto. This program was designed to spotlight outstanding research done by SMI trainee members.
The five selected Rising Stars finalists in each category gave 15 minute oral presentations in dedicated Rising Stars oral sessions held in the morning and afternoon on Thursday, July 28th. Judges select two prize winners from the graduate student and post doctorate presentors. The winners repeated their talks for all MICS attendees at a plenary session on Saturday morning, July 30th.
Rising Stars in Mucosal Immunology is one of several new initiatives that will be introduced at MICS to promote the career development of trainee members of SMI. Rising Stars, the use of ePosters and a dedicated networking event for trainees are all designed to enhance sharing and discussion of the research being done by SMI’s junior members.
This years winners were Rimma Goldberg (graduate student), Erica Buonomo (graduate student), Ziad Al Nabhani (pot doctorate) and Kathryn Knoop (post doctorate).
From left to right: Kathryn Knoop, Ziad Al Nabhani, Ifor Williams, Rimma Goldberg and Erica Buonomo
Dr. Williams is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, where he directs a research lab devoted to gastrointestinal mucosal immunology and also serves as Director of the Clinical Immunology Laboratory at Emory University Hospital. His research is focused on intestinal M cell differentiation and lymphoid organogenesis in the intestine. In 2009 Dr. Williams’ laboratory identified the TNF superfamily cytokine RANKL as a critical factor allowing intestinal epithelial stem cells to differentiate into antigen-sampling M cells in the epithelium overlying GALT structures such as Peyer’s patches. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Immunology from 2004-2008 and will be serving as a Section Editor of the Journal of Immunology starting in July 2015. He joined the Society for Mucosal Immunology in 2002 and was elected to the SMI Board of Councilors in 2011. He has served as the SMI’s Secretary-Treasurer since 2012. He is also a member of the American Association of Immunologists, the American Society for Investigative Pathology, and the Association of Medical Laboratory Immunologists.
Ken Croitoru is a Professor of Medicine and Immunology at the University of Toronto and a Staff Gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. After Medical School and GI training at McGill University, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at McMaster, he developed a research program in mucosal T cell biology in animal models of colitis before moving to Toronto. He continues to pursue his interest in mucosal T cell function in colitis and is also leading a large prospective cohort study of healthy individuals at risk of developing Crohn’s disease (GEM Study). Through this work he has now focused his research on the interaction between the host genome and the intestinal Microbiome. He leads Human Microbiome Initiative project with funding from the CIHR. Dr. Croitoru has served on the Membership committee of the SMI and co-chaired ICMI 2013 in Vancouver.
Gérard Eberl has completed his PhD in immunology at the University of Lausanne in 1995 on the biochemistry of peptides binding to MHC class I, and performed a first postdoc at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, also in Lausanne, on the development and role of invariant NKT cells. He then moved to the lab of Dan Littman in New York for a second postdoc on the role of RORgt and lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells in lymphoid tissue development. He was recruited to the Institut Pasteur as an Assistant Professor in 2005, where he was nominated full Professor in 2014. At Pasteur, he directs the Microenvironment & Immunity unit, which focuses on the role of pro-inflammatory immunity in mucosal homeostasis, with an emphasis on RORgt+ T cells and innate lymphoid cells (ILCs). The unit also investigates the role of the symbiotic microbiota and the stroma in the regulation of immune cells.
Dr. Philpott completed her graduate work with a PhD in Medical Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Toronto, working on the mechanisms of pathogenesis of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, under the supervision of Dr. Phil Sherman at the Hospital for Sick Children. She then pursued post-doctoral training at McMaster University with Dr. Mary Perdue followed by a fellowship at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, with Dr. Philippe Sansonetti. Here, she studied host cell responses to Shigella flexneri infection and began working on Nod-like receptors (NLRs). She became an independent group leader at the Institut Pasteur in 2002 and then accepted a position in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto in 2006. Dr. Philpott is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology where she focuses her work on understanding how bacteria are detected by the NLRs, Nod1 and Nod2, and how this initiates the immune response. Because of the link between Nod2 and Crohn’s disease, much of Dr. Philpott’s research is focused on understanding how dysregulation of Nod2 signaling impacts on mucosal homeostasis in the intestine.