Board of Councilors
William Agace, PhD - President | Lund, Sweden
Dr. Agace received a B.Sc. (Hons) in Microbiology from Bristol University, UK, in 1989. He then moved to Lund, Sweden (following a Swede-now wife) and obtained a PhD. from Lund University in 1996 in the area of Mucosal Immunology. Dr. Agace’s PhD studies were in the area of urinary tract infections, under the guidance of Dr C. Svanborg, focusing on epithelial cytokine responses to uropathogenic E.coli in murine models and uroepithelial cell lines. During this time Dr. Agace developed an interest in epithelial-immune cell interactions and after completing his PhD decided to move up in the world (anatomically) and joined the laboratory of Dr. C. Parker (Department of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital) to study intestinal intraepithelial lymphocyte (IEL)/epithelial crosstalk. Taking his early interest in chemokines from his time as a PhD student he set about assessing the role of chemokine/chemokine receptors in regulating T cell recruitment to the intestinal mucosa. Such collaborative studies led to the identification of CCR9/CCL25 as a potential mediator of T cell homing to the small intestine. In 1999, Dr. Agace returned to Lund with a project grant from the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation of America (CCFA) that played in instrumental role in his ability to set up his independent group at the Immunology Section at Lund University. Since this time his groups major contribution to the field of mucosal immunology include identification of CCR9 as T cell homing receptor for the small intestine in mice, identification of intestinal CD103+ dendritic cells (DCs) in mouse and humans and demonstration that small intestinal derived DCs are potent in generating ‘small intestinal tropic’ T cells through enhanced production of retinoic acid, demonstration that intestinal CD103+ DCs and not macrophages constitutively migrate to draining mesenteric lymph nodes and play a key role in presenting luminal derived antigen to T cells at this site, and more recently that the intestine contains multiple DC subsets that play key non-redundant roles in intestinal T cell homeostasis in vivo. Major current interests include assessing the role of environment in regulating immune/stromal cell functionality and specialization within the mucosa. His group’s research has resulted in several Nordic awards including the Anders Jahre Young Researcher Award in Biomedicine from the University of Oslo and the Göran Gustafsson Prize in Medicine from the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. Dr. Agace headed the Immunology section in Lund from 2006-2014 and currently divides his time running research groups at Lund University, Sweden and the Technical University of Denmark. Dr. Agace has served as an associate editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology (2007-2015), European Journal of immunology (2007-2015) and since 2012 acts as deputy editor of Mucosal Immunology. He has served on the international planning committee of ICMI meetings (Vancouver 2013, Berlin 205, MIICS Toronto 2016) and is the main organizer of the 10th EMIG conference, Copenhagen 2016.
Rodney Newberry, MD - President-Elect | Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Dr. Newberry is a Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis Missouri where he directs a research laboratory studying the biology of the intestinal immune system and sees patients at Barnes Jewish Hospital as a gastroenterologist. His research focuses on how the intestinal immune system maintains tolerance to dietary antigens and gut commensal organisms despite encountering them in the setting of inflammatory stimuli. Recently this work has included a previously unappreciated role for specialized intestinal epithelial cells, goblet cells, in delivering luminal substances to the gut immune system to induce and shape subsequent immune responses. His work has been continually funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and published in high profile journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology, Science Immunology, and Mucosal Immunology. Dr. Newberry has mentored numerous trainees including fellows, postdocs, and students. Dr. Newberry’s current service to the community includes North American Councilor for the Society for Mucosal Immunology, a standing member of the National Institutes of Health Gastrointestinal Mucosal Pathobiology study section, chair of the Grants Council and member of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and associate editor for The Journal of Immunology.
In addition to the Society for Mucosal Immunology, Dr. Newberry is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Association of Immunologists, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
Clare Lloyd, PhD - Treasurer | London, United Kingdom
Dr. Lloyd completed BSc and PhD degrees in Immunology at Kings College London, and Postdoctoral fellowships at Guys Hospital London and Harvard Medical School, Boston. She moved to Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge USA as a scientist in the Inflammation Division, where she was involved in the cloning and in vivo characterisation of novel genes involved in Th2 responses. She then moved back to the UK to start a Wellcome Senior Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Sciences in the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College. Dr. Lloyd renewed her Senior Fellowship in 2004, 2009 and 2015. She was awarded a Professorial Chair in Respiratory Immunology in 2006 and took over as Head of Section in 2010, and as Head of Division of Respiratory Sciences in 2015.
Dr. Lloyd’s research interests encompass multiple aspects of mucosal immunology, focussing primarily upon epithelial-immune interactions underlying development and resolution of allergic airway inflammation. She has developed innovative methods of modelling allergen driven inflammation and tissue remodelling in vivo in order to analyse the complex relationships between inflammatory cells and resident stromal cells. She has also developed tools in order to dissect molecular pathways underlying different clinical disease phenotypes, and fostered collaborations with clinical scientists to enable findings in mouse models to be extended to clinical investigations of bronchial biopsy specimens from allergic subjects following allergen challenge. She has a particular interest in early life immunity, using innovative neonatal mouse models and cells from patients with paediatric severe asthma – identifying molecules associated with steroid resistance and early life immune development. These findings impact on lifelong lung health, and have led to a major strategic award to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying wheeze in babies and young children
She is a passionate advocate of support for early career researchers, and has served as an advisor to the Vice Provost (Research) to develop Imperial’s support for this group. Dr. Lloyd was the NHLI Lead for Women (2009-2015) involving promoting and developing careers for women.
Dr. Lloyd has presented at major National and International meetings in the respiratory and immunology fields. She organised the 2014 TransAtlantic airway conference, gave the 2014 Manor House Lecture (in Germany) and organised a Keystone Symposium on Asthma in 2017. She also has served on the international planning committee for previous ICMI meetings (Vancouver 2013), MICS (Toronto 2016) and will co-organise the 2018 EMIG. Finally, she has held key editorial roles including Deputy Editor of Thorax, and is currently an associate editor of Mucosal Immunology, an advisory editor for Journal of Experimental Medicine and is on the scientific advisory board of Science Immunology.
Michael McGuckin, PhD - Immediate Past President | Melbourne, Australia
Professor Mike McGuckin is the Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia’s leading university. In this role he oversees the strategic direction of research and oversee the international, engagement and people & culture portfolios. Mike is the author of over 170 scientific publications with his research currently focused on mucosal infection, chronic inflammation and cancer in the gastrointestinal tract, and diabetes. Mike has held four patents and his intellectual property is being developed in the startup company Jetra Therapeutics. Mike is heavily involved in national and international peer review, has served on the Editorial Boards of multiple international journals, and has served on the Academy of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and is a member of College of Expert Reviewers for the European Science Foundation.
Theresa Alenghat, DVM, PhD - Councilor - Americas | Ohio, USA
Dr. Theresa Alenghat is an Associate Professor in the Immunobiology Division of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Alenghat has established a research program that explores mechanisms underlying the host-microbiota relationship, and how this regulation affects mucosal immunity and inflammatory conditions. Dr. Alenghat has pioneered studies revealing that epigenetics and histone deacetylase 3 permit intestinal epithelial cells to sense commensal bacteria and convey this information to the mammalian host. Her lab's work includes investigation into pathways that enable diet and microbiota-derived metabolites to direct epithelial and immune cell homeostasis in mucosal tissues.
Taylor Cohen, PhD - Industry-Affiliated Councilor | Woodbine, Maryland USA
Taylor Cohen began his career in the lab of Dr. Susan Margulies, University of Pennsylvania, studying epithelial barrier function in the lung. During his PhD, his work described how epithelial MAPk signaling pathways were activated in response to infection (sepsis) and mechanical stress (ventilation), and how activation of these pathways contributed to epithelial barrier dysfunction and VAP. Following his PhD, Dr. Cohen moved to New York to work with Dr. Alice Prince at Columbia University. Here, his focus shifted away from the epithelium towards innate immune activities in the lung’s mucosal surface. Specifically, he focus on the role of the NLRC4 inflammasome and type III interferon signaling in response to opportunistic bacterial pathogens. His work showed that activation of these pathways created an imbalance in the immune tone of the lung, enabling or promoting infection with either Pseudomonas aeruginosa (NLRC4 and type III IFN) or Staphylococcus aureus (type III IFN). He joined the infectious disease department at MedImmune in 2014, where he focused on developing pathogen specific antibodies against these bacteria. In 2018 Dr. Cohen’s focus shifted to a broader understanding of host – microbial interaction. He built a group and lead a team aimed at understanding and identifying targets at the microbiome/host interface for the treatment of disease. In 2022, Dr. Cohen took on the role of Global Project Lead leading a cross functional team working on discovery and development of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. He is currently leads the COVID-19 Long Acting Antibody programs at AstraZeneca.
Alexandra Corbett, PhD - Councilor - Australia/Asia | Melbourne, Australia
A/Prof Alexandra Corbett is a Laboratory Head, NHMRC Investigator Fellow and Dame Kate Campbell Fellow in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Melbourne, based at the Doherty Institute. Alex completed a B.Sc (Hons) at the University of Melbourne in 1998, and a PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia in 2004, where she analysed the immune response to antigen targeted to DC subsets. She then held postdoctoral research positions at the University of Western Australia studying murine cytomegalovirus immune evasion, and at the Bio21 Institute, where she developed methods for elution and mass spectrometric analysis of peptides presented by the MHC Class I molecule HLA-B27.
Her current research focused on understanding the biology of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, in particular what drives the protective or pathogenic functions of MAIT cells, with the ultimate goal of targeting these invariant T cells in human disease. She is an inventor on two patents describing MAIT cell antigens and MR1 tetramer reagents.
Alex has served on the SMI Board of Councilors and the Education and Career Development Committee since 2019.
Timothy Hand, PhD - Councilor | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
I am an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology and the Director of the Gnotobiotic Animal core facility at the University of Pittsburgh. My laboratory is within the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. I grew up in Toronto, and received a B.Sc. (Hon.) from the University of Toronto. I next moved to Yale University where I received a PhD for studies on the requirements for the long-term survival of memory T cells. I followed my PhD studies with a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health with Yasmine Belkaid, where I shifted my interests to research on the interaction between intestinal resident lymphocytes and the microbiota.
Currently, I direct the Immunity to Bacterial Colonization Lab. My research focuses upon the interaction between the host immune system and the intestinal microbiota, with a particular focus on the moments when microorganisms first colonize the host. My research has provided new knowledge on how immune cells are shaped by the microbiome and in turn how colonizing bacteria are shaped by intestinal immunity. Regulating microbial colonization is especially critical in infants where our lab studies how antibodies provided in breast milk shape the development of the infant microbiota and intestinal immune response. Other lab focuses include studies of how the microbiota affects health issues relevant to children, such as vaccination, cancer and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I have received nationally competitive awards, including awards from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, the Rainin Foundation and the March of Dimes and is the recipient of several NIH grants. I have published over 35 research articles and scholarly
reviews and was named the inaugural ‘Emerging Leader’ by the Society for Mucosal Immunology in 2022.
Iliyan Iliev, PhD - Councilor - Americas | New York City, New York, USA
Irah King, PhD - Young Professional Councilor | Montreal, Quebec
Irah King, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Irah holds a Canada Research Chair in Barrier Immunity from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and his laboratory is located within the Meakins-Christie Laboratories at the McGill University Health Centre – Research Institute (MUHC-RI).
Irah grew up in rural Pennsylvania and first discovered an interest in fundamental research while completing a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. At that point, he then pursued a PhD at the University of Rochester studying dendritic cell differentiation and function in the context of neuroimmunological disease under the mentorship of Dr. Benjamin Segal. Following his doctoral studies, Irah broadened his immunology training by completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Markus Mohrs at the Trudeau Institute investigating mechanisms of protective immunity against intestinal helminth infection.
Beginning in 2012, Irah started his research program at McGill University pursuing questions related to innate and adaptive mechanisms of immunity and inflammation at barrier surfaces including the gut, lung and skin. For his initial studies, he was awarded the 2016 Canadian Society for Immunology New Investigator Award. A major interest of Irah’s team continues to be unravelling mechanisms of host defense against intestinal helminths, with a particular interest in immune-epithelial-parasite interactions. In addition, he has recently expanded his program to discover how the gut microbiota has local and systemic effects on the immune system in the setting of bacterial and parasitic infections. To promote microbiome research at his institution, he established the McGill Centre for Microbiome Research in 2020 and is the Director of the Gnotobiotic Animal Research Platform at the MUHC-RI. To support his program, Irah has received funds from federal and international funding agencies including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. He currently serves as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity, a Faculty-wide effort to raise funds dedicated to translational research for the prevention, cure and elimination of major infectious and immune threats. Irah has been an SMI member since 2012 and was recently elected as an SMI Board Member in 2022.
Kathryn Knoop, PhD - Young Professional Councilor | Rochester, Minnesota
Kathryn Knoop has recently been appointed a Young Professor Councilor for the SMI Board. Additionally, she is the new head of the Communications Committee for SMI. Having served as the social media editor of the journal Mucosal Immunology since 2017, Kathryn is passionate about providing a strong virtual community for SMI members to increase global connectivity.
Katharina Lahl, PhD - Councilor | Frederiksberg, Denmark
Dr. Lahl earned both her diploma and PhD degree in Biology at the Technical University of Munich under supervision of Professor Sparwasser. During that time, she created a BAC transgenic mouse model that allowed for the specific depletion of regulatory T cells. Using these mice (known as DEREG mice), they were amongst the first to show that depletion of regulatory T cells leads to multiorgan autoimmune disease. She then moved on to a postdoctoral fellowship in Professor Butcher’s lab at Stanford, funded initially by the German Research Foundation and later by a fellowship from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. In Eugene’s lab, she started working on the transcriptional regulation of intestinal dendritic cell subsets, as well as their role in the coordination of the immune response towards rotavirus. Dr. Lahl recently was awarded a young investigator award from the Swedish Research Council, as well as a fellowship in medicine by the Ragnar Söderberg Foundation. Intestinal dendritic cell biology and rotavirus are still what she is working on today in her lab in Scandinavia, which is split between the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen and Lund University in Sweden.
Jennifer Lund, PhD - Councilor | Seattle, Washington, USA
Jennifer M. Lund, PhD, is a Professor in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and a Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. She completed her doctoral degree at Yale University (2001-2006), where she worked in the laboratory of Akiko Iwasaki, and then did postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Sasha Rudensky at the University of Washington (2006-2008). Dr. Lund's research program focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms of antiviral immunity, using both mouse models and human cells and tissue samples to study the local and mucosal immune responses to genital HSV-2, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and HIV-1.
Mark Travis, PhD - Councilor | Europe
Mark completed a PhD in Protein Biochemistry at the University of Manchester in 2004, before moving to UCSF as a post-doc with Dean Sheppard. It was during this time that Mark first became interested in mucosal immunology, and he returned to Manchester as a research fellow to start his own lab in 2007. Mark became a lecturer in 2012, senior lecturer in 2015 and professor in 2018, and was appointed Head of Division for the Division of Immunology, Immunity to Infection, and Respiratory Medicine in June 2020. Mark's lab studies how immune responses are regulated in the gut and the lung and has focused on pathways that control the cytokine TGFβ. Work has identified how different immune cells activate TGFβ, the functional consequences of these pathways, and how they are altered in human diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Antiopi Varelias, PhD - Councilor - Australia/Asia | Brisbane, Australia
Associate Professor Antiopi Varelias leads the Transplantation Immunology laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Adelaide and after successive postdoctoral positions moved to QIMR Berghofer in 2008. She is a mid-career research academic with extensive expertise in basic and translational research in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Preclinical murine models are central to her research thus her research program is focused on understanding fundamental immunological mechanisms that underlie major complications that occur after HSCT, in particular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and opportunistic infections, both of which involve mucosal tissues. Current research investigates the interplay between cytokines and intestinal microbiota, and the impact of these interactions on acute GVHD in the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, her research investigates immunological mechanisms that drive increased mortality after HSCT following respiratory viral infection. Her research program is highly collaborative both nationally and internationally, with the overarching goal to translate basic research findings into clinical practice and improve transplant outcomes for patients.
Benjamin Marsland, PhD - Ex-Officio, Journal Editor | Melbourne, Australia
Ben Marsland completed his PhD in Immunology at Otago University and the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Wellington, New Zealand. He then spent 14 years in Switzerland, first at the ETH Zürich and then as a Cloetta Medical Research Fellow at the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV). During that period, he received the ETH Latsis Prize, the Leenaards Prize and the ERS COPD Research Award. Since 2018, Ben is a veski innovation fellow, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Professor in the Department of Immunology and Pathology, within the Central Clinical School at Monash University. He also maintains a visiting professorship at the University of Lausanne and CHUV. The focus of Ben’s lab revolves around the microbiome in the gut, lung and skin and how it influences asthma, respiratory viral infections and lung fibrosis.