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Board Candidate Profiles

Please take time to review all candidate statements and biographies on this page. Full profiles are viewable when clicking on the candidate names. 

Society members, after reviewing all candidates, are invited to cast their vote at the below link. Please note you will need to sign into your SMI member profile prior to voting.

In alignment with the Society bylaws, the Nominating Committee is pleased to present a slate of highly qualified candidates for this year's open positions, which include:
  • President-Elect
  • 2 Councilors - Europe/Africa
  • 2 Councilors - Australia/Asia
  • 3 Councilors - Americas

Ballot link will require you to log in to your SMI member profile to access the ballot. Only current SMI members are able to vote in the Board of Councilor election.

Cast Your Vote Here

Candidate Statements of Philosophy & Biographies

President-Elect | Clare Lloyd, PhD

Clare Lloyd, PhD

Imperial College, London

Statement of Philosophy

I served as an SMI council member from July 2017 until July 22, and until recently co-chaired the Education and Early Career Committee. I am currently the Treasurer for the Society. I was on the organising committee for ICMI meetings in Vancouver (2013), Seattle (2022) and Copenhagen (2024) and was co-Chair of the 2018 MICS meeting in Oxford.

I have been a Deputy Editor for Mucosal Immunology since 2018 and acted as mentor for four mentees as part of the SMI mentorship programme. I was awarded the SMI Distinguished Service Award in 2022.

SMI has a unique opportunity to bring together investigators from all over the world interested in immunity at different mucosal surfaces. I have a long-standing interest in mucosal immunology, focusing particularly on pulmonary immunity across the life course, in mouse models and patients. The Society and its meetings are an essential forum to attract the brightest students and fellows into the field and to enable them to meet their peers and build lifelong support networks. I would particularly like to encourage crosstalk between those investigating immunity across different mucosal surfaces, and enhance diversity amongst our membership. Fostering close links between the Society and its membership with our Journal will be crucial for the success of the Society. In the future it will be important to increase the membership and attendance at meetings by both basic and clinical scientists interested in immune responses at all mucosal sites.


Clare is Professor of Respiratory Immunology and co-Head of the Division of Respiratory Sciences at the National Heart & Lung Institute at Imperial College, London. Her research i encompass multiple aspects of mucosal immunology, focussing primarily upon epithelial-immune interactions underlying development and resolution of airway inflammation and repair across a number of different lung diseases. 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. Clare 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. Her work is funded primarily by the Wellcome Trust. She serves as deputy chair of the Asthma+Lung Research Funding committee.

Clare is a passionate advocate of support for early career researchers, and served as an advisor to the Vice Provost (Research) to develop Imperial’s support for this group. She was the NHLI Lead for Women (2009-2015) involving promoting and developing careers for women. She was appointed Vice Dean for Institutional Affairs (Medicine) and is responsible for career development and diversity across the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial. Clare is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and acts as a Mentor for a number of different agencies, including SMI.

Councilor – Europe/Africa | Bart N. Lambrecht, MD, PhD

Bart N. Lambrecht, MD, PhD

VIB-Ghent university-Center for Inflammation Research (IRC)

Statement of Philosophy

I'm interested in serving on the SMI Board of councilors by sharing my insights on my scientific career, by influencing collaborations between different research groups within this field, by encouraging my lab members to participate to the SMI congresses and by promoting SMI membership through representing my SMI councillorship on scientific meetings. I have a lot of experience in organizing international scientific meetings on various topics like asthma, mucosal immunology and type II immunity. In the past I was organizer of 3 Keystone meetings and 5 Cell-Press meetings (in collaboration with VIB). My center runs a lecture program with (inter)national speakers, so I'm experienced in prescreening good speakers. I'm a trained physician scientist; I am a pulmonary physician, head of a research laboratory (mice experimental work) and department director of the Center for Inflammation research ( Since the COVID-19 crisis, I've 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. (translational science)


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

Councilor – Europe/Africa | Gianluca Matteoli, DVM, PhD

Gianluca Matteoli, DVM, PhD

University of Leuven, Belgium

Statement of Philosophy

In my pursuit to serve on the SMI Board of Councilors, I am driven by a profound belief in the transformative power of education, particularly within the rapidly evolving global landscape. My conviction is that scientific societies, through their commitment to learning, teaching, and engagement, play a pivotal role in advancing research and knowledge dissemination. These activities are instrumental in contributing to the betterment of health, economy, industry, government, and society at large. I am firmly of the view that the synergy between teaching and both basic and applied research fosters the development of future scientists equipped with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In today's world, knowledge stands as the cornerstone of economic and social advancement. Scientific societies are not merely repositories of information but are incubators of innovation and progress. Echoing the sentiments of Prof. Randy Pausch in his "Last Lecture," I believe that experience, often gleaned from unmet expectations, is a fundamental component of scientific contribution to education. My tenure at the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID), KU Leuven, within the mucosal immunology program, has endowed me with a rich tapestry of experiences and insights. These I intend to leverage in nurturing the next generation of scientists. My commitment to education at KU Leuven has seen me successfully supervise PhD students and foster the development of future professionals through various academic engagements. Recognizing the challenges faced by junior PIs and postdocs in carving out their independent research paths, my first priority on the SMI Board would be to establish a virtual SMI junior club. This initiative aims to enhance the participation and representation of junior members within the society, ensuring their voices and perspectives are heard and valued. Secondly, I advocate for greater inclusion of emerging PIs in conference programs, acknowledging and showcasing their contributions to the field. Addressing the needs of young constituents, I propose two enhancements to SMI's offerings. Firstly, the facilitation of conference participation for junior scientists is crucial. Despite existing travel grants, financial constraints remain a significant barrier. A "group discount" for groups of three or more from the same institution attending meetings could alleviate some of these financial hurdles. Secondly, the rapid evolution of research methodologies necessitates that junior scientists remain abreast of new developments and technologies. Alongside the established "Principles of Immunology Course," I would champion the addition of practical sessions focusing on experimental techniques and data analysis, equipping our young members with the skills and knowledge to excel in the field of mucosal immunology.


Dr. Gianluca Matteoli earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, in July 2002, followed by a Ph.D. in Infectious Disease in January 2006, achieved through a collaborative program between the University of Naples Federico II and the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Tübingen, Germany. Subsequently, Dr. Matteoli completed postdoctoral fellowships at the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy, and at the Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID), KU Leuven, Belgium. Dr. Matteoli's research has been dedicated to elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the crosstalk between intestinal immune and non-immune cells and its critical role in preventing inflammatory bowel disease. His lab is utilizing advanced methodologies such as single-cell omics, 3D cell culture systems, preclinical models of intestinal inflammation, and patient sample analyses. Appointed as Associate Professor in 2020 after a tenure professorship in Mucosal Immunology at KU Leuven's Faculty of Medicine starting in October 2015, Dr. Matteoli leads an independent laboratory at TARGID, mentoring emerging scientists to their independent career in both biotech and academia.

Councilor – Europe/Africa | Mark Travis, PhD

Mark Travis, PhD

University of Manchester

Statement of Philosophy

I am just coming to the end of a first term on the board of councillors and have thoroughly enjoyed my time in this role. During my time involved with SMI, as well as contributing to general SMI board business, I have helped co-organise the 2021 Principles in Mucosal Immunology course, and International Congress of Mucosal Immunology in 2022, which has been extremely rewarding and gave great insights and experience into how the society works, and the great member benefits it gives to young and more established researchers alike. I am passionate about supporting early career researchers and have recently acted as a mentor in the SMI Mentorship scheme, which is SMI's flagship programme to promote the career of early career researchers. Seeing the benefits of the scheme first hand really gives me the drive to help support this and similar initiatives by SMI going forward. If elected for a second term, I would look to use my experience to continue to promote schemes aimed at helping early career researchers and help SMI's continued growth as the leading society in the field of mucosal immunology.


I 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 I first became interested in mucosal immunology, and then returned to Manchester as a research fellow to start my own lab in 2007. I 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. My 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.

Councilor – Australia/Asia | Laura Cook, PhD

Laura Cook, PhD

University of Melbourne

Statement of Philosophy

I am excited to serve as a councillor for the Australia/Asia region. I joined the committee of the Mucosal Immunology Special Interest Group of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology in 2023. In this role I am involved in the planning of the biennial Mucosal Immunology and Microbiome Symposium. This meeting is offset with ICMI and we are developing awards for best early career researcher presentations where the money will be used to subsidise attendance at ICMI. I am committed to developing similar initiatives and plan to use this role to champion stronger connections between the Australian/New Zealand mucosal immunology research community and SMI. I have been an SMI member since 2019 and attended ICMI in 2019 and 2022.


Dr. Laura Cook is an NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellow in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Melbourne, based at the Doherty Institute. Laura completed a PhD in Immunology at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia in 2014, where she analysed antigen-specific human regulatory T cells in chronic viral infections and celiac disease. She then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of British Columbia studying human CD4+ T cell memory responses to bacterial antigens in IBD and C. difficile infection and developed protocols to expand various subsets of regulatory T cells for therapeutic applications. Her current research focuses on understanding the functions of human regulatory T cells within responses to pathogens and their contributions to immune impairment following severe infection. Her team is developing human gut organoid and T cell co-culture models to answer these questions. Laura is currently a committee member of the Mucosal Immunology Special Interest Group of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology.

Councilor – Australia/Asia | Antiopi Varelias, PhD

Antiopi Varelias, PhD

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Statement of Philosophy

A society that fosters learning, offers mentorship and opportunities to early career and emerging leaders, supports inclusiveness and facilitates the development of new networks for the advancement of the discipline of mucosal immunology, is one that many will aspire to be a part of. I have enjoyed being a member of SMI since 2018 and honoured to have served as a Board Councilor representing the Australia/Asia region from 2022 until present. I attest to the values and ethos of SMI and look forward to reselection in this year’s election, which will provide me with the opportunity to continue to contribute to SMI and serve the membership in the Oceania-Asia region.


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 several postdoctoral positions within the University of Adelaide’s Department of Surgery, and the Department of Haematology/Oncology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Adelaide) moved to QIMR Berghofer. She is a mid-career researcher with extensive expertise in fundamental and translational research in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). 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. An ongoing research interest is the interplay between cytokines, immune cells and gut microbiota to regulate intestinal GVHD severity, a central theme of her research. An interest in understanding the immunological mechanisms that underpin increased mortality in HSCT recipients following respiratory viral infection is a new research theme. She has contributed to the field with 55 peer-reviewed publications, including in high-ranking journals. The overarching goal of her research program is to translate findings from fundamental research into clinical practice to improve transplant outcomes for patients. A/Prof Varelias is currently an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Immunology (Alloimmunity and Transplantation) and is often invited to peer-review for journals and grant funding bodies. She serves as a councilor on the Board for the Society for Mucosal Immunology, is a member of the Steering Committee for the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies and a member of the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre. Additionally, she is a member of the American Society of Haematology, the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, the American Association of Immunologists, the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology and the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Councilor – Americas | Theresa Alenghat, DVM, PhD

Theresa Alenghat, DVM, PhD

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, University of Cincinnati

Statement of Philosophy

Mucosal immunology is a rapidly expanding field in which clinicians and scientists across an array of scientific disciplines (immunology, physiology, neuroscience, metabolism, nutrition, microbiology, etc) are currently contributing new and meaningful perspectives and innovative technologies. As a member of the SMI council, I would advocate recruiting from these wide-ranging arenas to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations and impactful discoveries that advance mucosal immunology, while also increasing membership.

Given the continued biases that affect scientific career trajectories, I would welcome the opportunity to contribute insight and ideas on program initiatives that amplify less prominent voices and elevate successes across our diverse community.

I would encourage increasing social media presence and opportunities for trainees to easily network with peers to promote early community building within the rising generation of SMI.

I support expanding benefits and programs that help connect, lessen barriers, and facilitate opportunities for SMI members with children.


Dr. Theresa Alenghat is an Associate Professor in the Immunobiology Division of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center at the University of Cincinnati. Her research program 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 deacetylases 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. Dr. Alenghat is the recipient of awards from the NIH, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Pew Charitable Trust, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, and the American Gastroenterological Association.

Councilor – Americas | Iliyan Iliev, PhD

Iliyan Iliev, PhD

Weill Cornell Medicine

Statement of Philosophy

At a turning point in my scientific career I realized that a major hold back in biomedical translational research comes from insufficiently deep collaborations between bench and clinical scientists resulting into missed opportunities on both sides. One of my goals outside of the actual science has been to bring these two communities together through building the bridge between basic and clinical scientists early in their careers. In addition to my involvement in graduate and postdoctoral training, my laboratory is open for students from programs that I admire such as ACCESS and TIMS programs that are focused on increasing diversity in science. During my term as a Young Professional Counselor (YPC), followed by Americas Councilor at SMI, in collaboration with Katha Lahl, I spearheaded the local chapter meetings (LCM)- a concept that brings early career scientists into a local mucosal immunology community. LCM provides the opportunity for early career scientists from the Mucosal Immunology field to network, establish collaborations, meet similar minded colleagues and organize a meeting altogether. The initiative took off successfully with the support of SMI and the first meeting in NYC to become one of the key programs managed and developed under the Education and Career Development Committee. An involvement in successful US programs focused on diversity in science has allowed me to determine several additional areas that need development to build a large network of young scientists that are underrepresented in our field. I will bring these ideas up to the SMI board for discussion, involve young scientists from this network, and foster developments in these areas should I be elected as a Counselor.


I am a mucosal immunologist and an Associate Professor at the Department of Medicine and the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in IBD at Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, New York. I earned my PhD from the European School of Molecular Medicine and the University of Milan and was previously associated with the Tohoku University in Japan, the European Molecular Biology Organization, LB Bulgaricum Plc., Meiji Co., Ltd and the Cedars Sinai Medical Center. My research on the gut mycobiota defined a role of commensal fungi in innate mucosal and protective humoral immunity and provided evidence for gut mycobiota involvement in the pathophysiology of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) , allergic airway disease and colon cancer. My laboratory applies translational, experimental and computational approaches to study the role of immunity to mycobiota early and later in life, upon therapeutic interventions and during conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, GI cancers and immunodeficiencies, where fungi contribute to pathologies. I was a recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, Malaniak Award for Excellence in Research, Kenneth Rainin Foundation Innovator and Breakthrough Awards, Irma T. Hirschl Scholar, SMI Young Investigator Award and was named a Burroughs Welcome Fund PATH Investigator, CIFAR Fellow and CRI OLD Star Fellow.

Councilor – Americas | Ivaylo Ivanov, PhD

Ivaylo Ivanov, PhD

Columbia University

Statement of Philosophy

I fell in love with mucosal immunology as postdoctoral fellow and after many forays in other fields. And I have never looked back… This is where my dedication to the field stems from and what has fueled my efforts to popularize it and train the next generation of mucosal immunologists. I have been a member of SMI for many years and have been involved as a North American Councilor 2019-2022. I also helped organize SMI and mucosal immunology Symposia, the latest as a Major Symposium at AAI2023. I have also been involved in the SMI membership committee. I am looking forward to continue this work and bring my scientific and personal enthusiasm in promoting and popularizing this field, which promises to revolutionize our ability to regulate host immunity and treat disease. As a Councilor of SMI I will work tirelessly to bring mucosal immunologists together in fruitful collaborations and design ways to promote exchange of ideas between SMI scientists.


Dr. Ivanov is a tenured Associate Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University where he heads the Laboratory for Mucosal Immunology. Dr. Ivanov obtained his BSc and MSc in Molecular Biology from Sofia University in Sofia, Bulgaria, and his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He performed postdoctoral training at New York University School of Medicine.

Dr. Ivanov’s research focuses on mucosal immunology and the role of microbiota in gut and systemic host immunity and physiology. His work identified the first commensal bacterial species that controls the function of mucosal T cells. Seminal studies from his laboratory have played major role in deciphering the mechanisms by which microbiota interact with intestinal epithelial cells and control mucosal T cell differentiation and function. More recently, his group uncovered a network of interactions between diet, microbiota, and mucosal immunity that regulates systemic diseases, such as obesity.

Dr. Ivanov is a recipient of multiple recognitions such as NIH Pathway to Independence Award, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Young Investigator Award, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Senior Research Award, and the inaugural Pew Charitable Trusts Innovator Award to name a few. Dr. Ivanov is a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences supported by the Pew Charitable Trust and an Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Councilor – Americas | Douglas Kwon, MD, PhD

Douglas Kwon, MD, PhD

Harvard Medical School / Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard

Statement of Philosophy

I have served on the ICMI program committee since 2022, contributed to the Principles of Mucosal Immunology Course, and participated in meetings and seminars. Through this involvement, I have witnessed firsthand the invaluable work championed by SMI, which has been instrumental in advancing research in mucosal immunology broadly. My foremost commitment if appointed to the Board of Councilors would be to continue fostering and expanding upon this crucial mission, while also providing my unique translational perspective. As a physician-scientist balancing an active clinical practice with leadership of a basic mucosal immunology laboratory, I believe my background will complement the existing expertise within the Board of Councilors. Furthermore, I am passionate about extending SMI's reach, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, with a specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa. There is a burgeoning community of researchers and trainees dedicated to mucosal immunology in sub-Saharan Africa. I have been conducting mucosal immunology research in South Africa, Botswana, and Uganda for almost 20 years and have honorary appointments at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine and the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. By extending SMI's initiatives such as workshops, congresses, courses, grants, and educational programs, SMI can play a pivotal role in nurturing talent and fostering collaboration in emerging regions, thereby advancing its mission to promote and support research in mucosal immunology globally.


Dr. Doug Kwon, MD PhD, is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. He serves as the Director of Clinical Operations at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and previously held the role of Associate Director of the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Dr. Kwon also maintains an active clinical practice within the division of Infectious Diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Having earned his MD and PhD degrees from New York University, Dr. Kwon pursued internal medicine training at the University of California, San Francisco and New York Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Subsequently, he completed his fellowship training in the combined Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Infectious Disease program.

Dr. Kwon's research is dedicated to understanding host-microbiota interactions within the female genital tract, gut, and lung, and their impact on mucosal immunity and human health. His laboratory develops and applies cutting-edge technologies to surmount the technical obstacles hindering our understanding of mucosal immunity. His research program prioritizes diseases with a disproportionate burden on low-resource settings, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting his commitment to addressing global health challenges. He holds an honorary Associate Professorship at the Nelson Mandella School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, where he has worked and collaborated for over a decade.