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SMI Oral History Project

In 2016, the Society for Mucosal Immunology began the SMI Oral History Project. The goal of the project is to preserve a piece of the knowledge of leaders in the field of mucosal immunology for young investigators emerging in the field today. In these interviews, historic SMI leaders have shared stories on how their accomplishments helped shape the field, along with their advice for the future generations of SMI members. The Board of Councilors thanks these historic SMI leaders for their outstanding achievements in the organization and for their contribution to this project.

Dr. Per Brandtzaeg 

Dr. Per Brandtzaeg was the first European president of the international Society for Mucosal Immunology. He's been trained as a microbiologist and immunologist at the medical center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and he earned his PHD in immunology from the University of Oslo. Professor Brandtzaeg’s research examined mainly the biology and pathology of the mucosal immune system including the study of mucosal diseases associated with chronic inflammation, allergy, and immunodeficiency. His main study has been concerning the role of IgA in the mucosal immune system.
(Interviewed by Dr. Gianluca Matteoli - February 19, 2016)

Dr. Charles Elson

Dr. Charles Elson received his M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, trained in Internal Medicine at New York Hospital/Cornell, then did his Gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Chicago. After doing full-time research in immunology at N.I.H., he joined the Faculty of the Division of Gastroenterology at the Medical College of Virginia. He moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to become Director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and subsequently served as Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine. He holds the Basil I. Hirschowitz Chair in Gastroenterology and is an active consultant in immune-mediated intestinal disorders.
(Interviewed by Dr. Diane Bimczok - June 2, 2016)

Dr. Jiri Mestecky 

Dr. Jiri Mestecky is Professor of Microbiology and Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at the School of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. He holds three honorary doctorate degrees from Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic. He was the 1st President of SMI and organizer/co-organizer of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th International Congresses of SMI.
(Interviewed by Dr. Diane Bimczok - April 28,2016)

Dr. John Bienenstock

Dr. John Bienenstock is internationally known as a physician and mucosal immunologist. He trained at King’s College, London and Westminster Hospital, London, U.K. He holds the title of Distinguished University Professor at McMaster University, an Honorary MD (Goteborg, Sweden), is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Member of the Order of Canada and is an inductee into The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He is the Founding Director of the McMaster Brain-Body Institute at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, a former Chair of Pathology and subsequently Dean and Vice-President of the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University.
(Interviewed by Dr. Irving Coy Allen - February 12, 2016)

Dr. Hiroshi Kiyono

Dr. Hiroshi Kiyono obtained his dental degree (D.D.S.) from Nihon University, and Ph. D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). His background as a dentist combined with extensive research experience in the field of Mucosal Immunology at UAB, Max-Planck Institute, Osaka University and now, the University of Tokyo make him exceptionally well qualified to be one of the readers for the current and future direction of mucosal immunology and mucosal vaccine.
(Interviewed by Dr. Gianluca Matteoli - April 17, 2016)

Dr. Warren Strober

Dr. Warren Strober is Chief of the Mucosal Immunity Section in the Laboratory of Host Defenses at NIH. His main areas of interest in Mucosal Immunology center around the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases and GI disease associated with immunodeficiency. His research in inflammatory bowel disease has led to the recognition that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are driven by very distinct pathogenic mechanisms with the former involving Th1/Th17 responses and the latter Th2 (IL-13) responses. This led to the first evidence that anti-IL-12p40 is a possible therapeutic agent in Crohn’s disease and clinical studies now establishing the efficacy of this agent.
(Interviewed by Dr. Marcello Chieppa - February 17, 2016)

Dr. Jerry McGhee

(Interviewed by Dr. Irving Coy Allen - February 11, 2016)