SYMPOSIA SPEAKERS

Joseph Arron

Genentech Inc.

Joseph Arron earned an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, completed a combined MD-PhD degree at Cornell University Medical College and the Rockefeller University, and conducted postdoctoral studies at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Arron joined Genentech in 2006, where his laboratory has discovered molecular bases for heterogeneity in asthma and pulmonary fibrosis, enabling target and biomarker discovery for novel investigational molecular therapies and resulting in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to supervising translational research in his laboratory, he is Senior Director of Immunology Discovery, a department of 12 laboratories responsible for target discovery and preclinical therapeutic development in inflammatory, autoimmune, fibrotic, and ophthalmic diseases.

Read more

Megan Baldwin

Megan Baldwin, PhD is CEO and Managing Director of Opthea Limited with over 20 years of experience in angiogenesis and therapeutic strategies for cancer and ophthalmic indications. Dr Baldwin joined Opthea in 2008, a public ASX listed biotechnology company developing biologic therapies for the retinal diseases wet AMD and DME. Previously Dr Baldwin was employed at Genentech (now Roche), the world leader in the field of angiogenesis-based therapies for cancer and other diseases. Her experience included several years as a researcher in the angiogenesis group before moving to Genentech’s commercial division in the market planning department. Dr Baldwin holds a PhD in Medicine from the University of Melbourne, having conducted her doctoral studies at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research on the biology of VEGF-C/D, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a director of Ausbiotech.

Jane Buckner

Dr. Buckner received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carleton College, magna cum laude. She attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and after receiving her MD, she completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Buckner went on to complete a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Washington. As a fellow she was honoured with the American College of Rheumatology’s Senior Rheumatology Scholar Award. After completing her medical training, Dr. Buckner continued her research training as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gerald Nepom. In 1999, she was the recipient of the ACR Arthritis Investigator Award. Since 1999, Dr. Buckner has been an investigator at the Benaroya Research Institute (BRI). She became the Director of the Translational Research Program at BRI in 2005, was named Associate Director of BRI in January 2012 and was appointed President of BRI in January 2016. Dr. Buckner continues to care for rheumatology patients at the Virginia Mason Medical Centre, and she is an affiliate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Washington.

Read more

Dawn Bowdish

Dr Dawn Bowdish is an Associate Professor at McMaster University and the Canada Research Chair in Aging & Immunity. Her lab studies how age-associated inflammation alters monocyte and macrophage development and function and how this ultimately increases susceptibility to pneumonia. Her team also studies how the aging immune system and the microbiome interact and how this can contribute to healthy or unhealthy aging. She runs the Preclinical Studies in Aging Laboratory, and is on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Lung Association where she advocates to increase research funding for lung health and to increase lung health in older adults.

Andy Clark

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham UK

Andy Clark was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Birmingham, before working at the Cancer Research UK labs and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London. In 2012 he was appointed as Professor of Inflammation Biology at the University of Birmingham, where he leads a research group focusing on molecular mechanisms that limit inflammatory responses, particularly in macrophages and fibroblasts. He has published extensively on the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of glucocorticoids, and the post-transcriptional control of the inflammatory response.

Rebecca Coll

Rebecca completed her PhD research under Prof. Luke O’Neill in Trinity College Dublin at one of the leading laboratories in the innate immunity field. For her work on the regulation of TLR signalling she received the International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society Young Investigator Award in 2012. However, her main research focus has been inflammasomes and their therapeutic targeting by small molecule drugs. Her recent first author publication on MCC950 in Nature Medicine has been widely acclaimed (the subject of seven commentaries in leading journals and attention from 24 international news outlets) and is already a highly cited paper. She joined the Schroder group in May 2014 with the goal of defining the molecular target of MCC950 as part of a broader collaboration between the Schroder, Cooper and O’Neill labs.

Salvatore Cuzzocrea

Professor Salvatore Cuzzocrea is Rector of the University of Messina. He has authored more than 600 publications spanning many areas of inflammation, including ischemia and reperfusion injury, spinal cord injury, Alzheimers and Parkinson's Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, pulmonary fibrosis and colitis. HIs work has been cited more than 40,000 times.

Raj Eri

Raj is a passionate scientist who leads a research team investigating gut diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, heartburn and colorectal cancer. His team comprises of a post-doc, 11 PhD students and 2 Research Assistants working in multiple areas of gut health. Raj combines research in basic biology, clinical studies and clinical trials to investigate gut diseases. He has received NHMRC grants and multiple philanthropic grants for his research totalling around $1.6 million. Raj wears multiple administrative hats at the University of Tasmania with the roles of Head of Biomedical Sciences discipline. Additionally, his major admin role includes working as Associate Head of Learning and Teaching where Raj is involved in all activities associated with learning and teaching. Dr Eri was awarded a PhD in molecular biology by the University of Queensland in 2001 and continued to be a post-doc/senior scientist both in Australia and USA in the area of gut inflammation and immunology. In December 2010, he joined the University of Tasmania and established his independent group investigating topics in mucosal biology, establishing an emerging international, reputation in this area. Dr Eri also coordinates and teaches in the fields of immunology and biochemistry.

Judith Field

CSL Research

Research Scientist, Translational Research Group, Cell Biology & Physiology Department, CSL Research

Judith Field completed her Ph.D. in 2007 in the Department of Immunology, Monash University, where her work focused on investigating the mechanisms of autoimmune disease induction, and the development of potential therapeutic strategies. Judith subsequently moved to the Multiple Sclerosis Division at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health where she most recently held the position of Senior Research Officer, and was Head of the Neuroimmunology and Remyelination Laboratory.

During this time, Judith focused on the genetics, epigenetics and immunology of Multiple Sclerosis, identifying disease-associated genetic risk factors that resulted in altered immune cell gene expression as well as altered disease outcomes in animal models. This work contributed to seminal contributions in the field of Multiple Sclerosis research and include publications in Nature Genetics, PLoS Genetics and Human Molecular Genetics, including the pioneering ANZgene MS susceptibility study and more recently, the discovery of MERTK as a novel MS-risk gene. In 2017, Judith joined CSL Research at the Bio21 Institute as a Research Scientist in the Translational Research Group within the Cell Biology and Physiology Department, where her skills will help build understanding of the genetic and cellular contributions to various human diseases. The Translational Research Group is focused on the preclinical evaluation, demonstration of proof of concept and identification of mechanism of action of lead protein-based therapeutic candidates through the study of in-vitro biology, for the prevention and/or treatment of serious human disease.

Read more

Georges Grau

Chair of Vascular Immunology, Department of Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine & Health

Professor Georges Grau, MD (University of Liège) and Privat-Docent (University of Genève), is the Chair of Vascular Immunology at the University of Sydney since 2006. His research in immunopathological mechanisms of infectious diseases focuses on cytokines and the microvascular endothelium.

Working experience: with his team at the Vascular Immunology Unit, he has:

  • analysed the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the interactions between microvascular endothelial cells and cells of the immune system.
  • contributed to the elucidation of cytokine interactions leading to tissue injury, using in vivo intervention studies in various models of pathology, with particular attention to TNF.
  • developed a brain endothelium co-culture system, to study blood-brain barrier changes in cerebral malaria, sepsis, multiple sclerosis, viral encephalitides and cryptococcal meningoencephalitis
  • studied extracellular vesicles, particularly microvesicles and exosomes, released in these co-cultures and shown their role as crucial effectors of cytokine-mediated pathology
  • deciphered critical molecular mechanisms of microvesicle release in inflammatory conditions
  • shown that inhibition of microvesicle release can prevent pathology.

His 372 papers have been cited over 30,000 times and his h-index is over 90. Since 2015 he serves as Discipline Leader (Pathology), Marie Bashir Institute, and in 2017 he was elected President of the Australian-New Zealand Microcirculation Society (ANZMS).

Read more

Prue Hart

Prue Hart is a Principal Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Australia and Adjunct Professor, University of Western Australia. Her research interests include cellular immunology and inflammation control. Prue runs an NHMRC-funded trial of UVB phototherapy for people with their first demyelinating disease, an early form of multiple sclerosis. This trial follows 20 years of basic research investigating the mechanisms by which UV radiation is immunomodulatory.

Elizabeth Hartland

Professor Elizabeth Hartland is the Director and CEO of Hudson Institute of Medical Research and the Head of the Department of Molecular and Translational Science at Monash University. Prior to joining the Hudson Institute, Professor Hartland held the positions of Head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Deputy Director of the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Research Partnerships and External Relations at the University of Melbourne. Professor Hartland undertook her undergraduate and graduate training in biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Melbourne. She has held a Royal Society/NHMRC Howard Florey Fellowship in the Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College London and Lecturer/Senior Lecturer positions at Monash University. She was an inaugural Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Professor Hartland has a long-standing research interest in the pathogenesis of infections caused by bacterial pathogens, with a focus on the genetic mechanisms of microbial colonization and immune evasion.

Masaru Ishii

Dr Masaru Ishii is a Professor at the Department of Immunology and Cell Biology at the Graduate School of Medicine and Frontier Biosciences, Osaka. One of the major research targets in Ishii’s laboratory has been the bone and immune systems, elucidating the complex network in vivo. Proposed the original concept that the regulation of migration and positioning of osteoclast precursors, e.g. by chemokines and lipid mediators, is a novel point of control for bone homeostasis, and is also a clinically relevant therapeutic target. We further unravel the whole regulatory system in bone biology. As physician-scientists, we will try to develop the new remedy for treating bone resorptive disorders. The other direction of our laboratory is the development of the novel imaging techniques and the application of this methodology to the elucidation of a wide array of biological phenomenon.

Wolfgang G Jarolimek

Wolfgang joined Pharmaxis in September 2010 as Manager in vitro Pharmacology and was appointed Head Drug Discovery in August 2012.

He has more than 20 years’ experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery and has published more than 30 peer reviewed articles. From 2002 to 2010 Wolfgang was Director of Assay Development and Compound Profiling at the GlaxoSmithKline Center of Excellence in Drug Discovery in Verona, Italy. In addition to chairing early drug discovery efforts locally he also had global responsibilities for ion channel screening and implementing safety-related screening. From 1998 to 2002 he worked at the Neuroscience Center of Merck, Sharp and Dohme in Harlow, England, as Senior Research Scientist in the electrophysiology group. Wolfgang previously spent 8 years as post-doc at the Max-Plank Institute in Munich, Germany; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas; Rammelkamp Center, Cleveland Ohio; and University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Wolfgang holds a BSc in Pharmacy and a PhD from the University of Saarbrücken, Germany. In 1997 he became Assistant Professor in Physiology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

Tim Johnson

Tim joined UCB Biopharma in 2013 to lead the pre-clinical fibrosis group. Prior to this, he was the Professor of Kidney Science at the University of Sheffield where he led the “Tissue Fibrosis team” in the medical school, a role he now maintains on an honorary basis. His main academic interest has been the role of crosslinking enzymes in matrix assembly in fibrotic disease, and especially the role of transglutaminase 2 (TG2) in this. He also has studied the role of the matrix metalloproteinase and plasmin systems, as well as fibroblast activation mechanisms. A long term goal has been the determination of biomarker finger prints for early detection and predicting rate of progression of fibrotic diseases. Tim has given invited lectures at major international conferences such as the American Society of Nephrology, The World Congress in Nephrology and the European Renal Association. He also has had the honour of chairing a Gordon Research Conference. He has over 65 original publications, reviews and books to his name.

Richard Kitching

Monash University Monash Health

Richard Kitching is an academic nephrologist-scientist whose research is focussed on severe autoimmune kidney disease, from loss of tolerance to effector responses, with a view to using more targeted therapies for these diseases. He holds Monash University and Monash Heath appointments. He heads the Monash Health Vasculitis Clinic, is Chair of the newly formed ANZ Vasculitis Society (ANZVASC) and is Co-Chair of the ANZ Society of Nephrology Research Advisory Committee. His research is funded by NHMRC Project Grants, an NHMRC grant as a member of an EU Horizon 20/20 Consortium and an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence. His publications include papers in Nature, Nature Medicine, PNAS, JCI, J Exp Med, Nature Communications, Blood, J Am Soc Nephrol and Kidney International.

Paula Longhi

Paula Longhi graduated from Buenos Aires University (UBA) with a degree in Biochemistry and in 2006 obtained her PhD in Immunology at Cardiff University, UK. She joined as a postdoctoral fellow the Laboratory of Ralph Steinman at The Rockefeller University, New York, where she worked in the design of dendritic cell-based vaccines to prevent many illnesses such as HIV, malaria and cancer.

In 2013, she joined Queen Mary University in the UK as a Lecturer at the William Harvey Research Institute and was promoted as Reader in 2018. Her current research interests are focused in the role of dendritic cells in metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases.

Laura Mackay

University of Melbourne

B Associate Professor Laura Mackay is a Principle Research Fellow at The Peter Doherty Institute at The University of Melbourne, and holds an Adjunct appointment at the Singapore Immunology Network at A*STAR in Singapore. Laura obtained her PhD from The University of Birmingham, U.K. in 2009, before taking up a post-doctoral position with Professor Francis Carbone at the University of Melbourne.

She established an independent group at the Peter Doherty Institute in 2016, where her Laboratory studies memory T cell responses, with a focus on the signals that control tissue-resident memory T cell differentiation, with a view to harness these cells to develop new treatments against infection and cancer. Laura is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Bill & Melinda Gates International Scholar, a Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellow, and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellow. Her research is supported by several Project Grants from the NHMRC, and she is the recipient of awards including The Michelson Prize for Human Immunology (2018) and The Victorian Young Tall Poppy Award (2016). Laura is a regular co-host on Melbourne Triple R Radio science show Einstein-A-Go-Go, and is the recently appointed President of The Federation of Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania (FIMSA).

Read more

Suresh Mahalingam

Suresh Mahalingam is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Viral Immunology with a particular interest in the pathogenesis and treatment of viral-induced inflammatory diseases. He has championed research to understand how viruses cause inflammatory disease, with a focus on viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. He has successfully bridged the gap between basic and clinical research with a unique approach that has generated numerous scientific breakthroughs leading to drugs and vaccines for treatment of human diseases caused by mosquito-borne viruses. These drugs and vaccines have been patented and licensed to local and international pharmas. Clinical trials of this drug are underway in Australia, with overseas trials to take place in 2019. He has received numerous awards and honours from major national and international funding and research bodies.

Paul McMenamin

B.Sc. Ph.D. M.Sc. (Med Sci) D.Sc. (Medicine) FARVO FRSB

Director, Centre for Human Anatomy Education

Monash University, Melbourne

Paul has been involved in eye research for 41 years. After completing a degree in Zoology at Glasgow University, Scotland, he did a PhD focussing on the anatomy and pathology of the eye. He moved to The University of Western Australia in 1987 where his work began focussing more on characterising immune cells (DCs, macrophages, mast cells) in the normal cornea, uveal tract and retina and in several animal models of disease. He has received numerous NH&MRC grants and other sources of research support. Paul was appointed to full Professor in 2003 and obtained his D.Sc. (Medicine) in 2010. He was appointed Director of ‘The Centre for Human Anatomy Education’ (CHAE) at Monash University, Melbourne also in 2010. He continues to have an active laboratory, focussing on the role of immune cells in the eye, brain and particularly the meninges (homologous to the uveal tract of the eye). He has published around 170 papers and co-authored one textbook. Paul has been the recipient of numerous teaching accolades including ‘Premier’s Award for Excellence in Tertiary Teaching’ (Western Australia) in 2007. His current research ranges from comparative eye anatomy to characterisation of functional subsets of putative antigen presenting cells in the sub-compartments of the murine brain, choroid plexus and meninges.

Lisa F. P. Ng, PhD

Deputy Executive Director, A*STAR Graduate Academy, A*STAR

Senior Principal Investigator, Singapore Immunology Network, A*STAR

Professor and Chair of Viral Immunology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, UK

Lisa Ng graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) in the United Kingdom in 1995. Following this, she then obtained her PhD in Molecular Virology in coronaviruses in 2002. She joined the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), A*STAR as a postdoctoral fellow where she provided major contributions in the containment, prevention and treatment of epidemic viral infections including SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and avian influenza H5N1 (bird flu). Since starting her own research lab at the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), she is currently a Senior Principal Investigator and the research interest of her group focuses on the immune responses of arthrogenic arboviruses that are epidemic or highly endemic in the tropical region. These include chikungunya virus, dengue virus, Zika virus and other related alpha- and flavi-viruses. Her team has published in top tier scientific journals and made several key important findings to move the human immunology field forward in controlling chikungunya virus and Zika virus infections. For her previous work and contributions to SARS, she was voted “Most Inspiring Woman” at the Great Women of Our Time Awards for Science and Technology in 2005, and was conferred the Junior Chamber International (JCI) “Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World” Singapore 2013 Scientific and/or Technological Development Award. In recognition of her meritorious research and development efforts on Asia’s infectious diseases, she was conferred the highly prestigious ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) “International Young Scientist and Technologist Award” in 2008. In recognition of her mentoring work for graduate students and scientists, she received the A*STAR “Most Inspiring Mentor Award” in March 2013, and more recently, appointed Deputy Executive Director at the A*STAR Graduate Academy.

In addition to her appointment at SIgN, Lisa holds a secondary appointment at the Institute of Infection and Global Health as Professor and Chair, University of Liverpool, UK since 2013. She also holds adjunct Professorships with the Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore NUS, and at the ‘Duke-NUS’ Graduate Medical School. Lisa is also the Academic Editor for several international scientific journals including Journal Virology, PLoS ONE, Microbes and Infection, Frontiers in Immunology, and Scientific Reports (Nature). Over the years, she has organised and chaired numerous local and international meetings on scientific research, including the Gordon Research Conferences “Infections of the Nervous System” in both June 2013 and 2015 in Hong Kong, and more recently the EMBO Workshop on “Modelling Infection in the Cell” in Jan 2018.

Read more

Catherine Owczarek

CSL

Dr Catherine Owczarek is the Director of the Recombinant Protein Expression Group (CSL Limited) located at the Bio21 Institute in Melbourne, Australia. After gaining a PhD at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra, she completed her post-doctoral studies at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne and then was a Senior Research Fellow at the Monash Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. Since joining CSL Limited in 2004 Catherine has led the CSL Research Group’s efforts in the successful development of programs to produce mammalian-derived recombinant proteins and is involved in a range of CSL’s early phase drug discovery campaigns for the prevention and/or treatment of human diseases.

Kylie Quinn

Dr Kylie Quinn is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow at RMIT University with long-standing research interests in cellular immunity, ageing and vaccines. After a PhD in New Zealand on vaccine strategies for Tuberculosis, Dr Quinn took post-doctoral positions in Dr Robert Seder’s lab (2008-13; Vaccine Research Center, NIH), where she defined mechanisms of adjuvancy for a number of novel vaccines and provided key pre-clinical data for Ebola vaccine selection by the World Health Organisation in 2014, and in Prof Nicole La Gruta’s lab (2013-18; University of Melbourne, Monash University), where she developed a project on how ageing and age-related inflammation limits the function of CD8 T cells. Now at RMIT, Dr Quinn’s is building a program of research focused on improving cellular immune responses in older individuals during infection, vaccination and cell-based therapies.

Carlo Riccardi

Carlo Riccardi is Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Department of Medicine at the University of Perugia. The long time focus of his research has been on Innate Immunity (mainly in vivo NK cell activity and regulation), T cell development and apoptosis and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of Glucocorticoid (GC) action. His team identified GITR (Glucocorticoid-induced TNFR-related) and GILZ (Glucocorticoid Induced Leucine Zipper) proteins. He described for the first time the role of GILZ as a mediator of anti-inflammatory action of GC, as a therapeutic target in inflammation and as a drug in inflammatory models of disease in vivo.

Ethan Shevach

Shevach obtained his M.D. from Boston University Medical School in 1967. After clinical training, he joined NIAID as a senior staff fellow in 1972 becoming head of a research group the following year and a departmental head (section chief) in 1987. As of 2018, he is head of the Department of Cellular Immunology at NIAID.

Shevach served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Immunology from 1987 to 1992 and edited Cellular Immunology from 1996 to 2007.

Matthew Sleeman

Matthew Sleeman is the VP of the Immunology & Inflammation group at Regeneron. His team supports the development of novel biologic therapies for the treatment of a range of different allergic and autoimmune diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition his group also works in immuno-oncology to develop new therapeutic approaches for cancer. This team has successfully supported the development of a number of Regenerons approved therapies, such as Dupixent (AntiIL4R), Kevzara (AntiIL6R) and Libtayo (antiPD1). Prior to joining Regeneron Matt Sleeman was a Senior Director of Biology for the Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity Group at MedImmune in Cambridge UK and also held several positions within Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT). Before working in the antibody field, he worked for a New Zealand start up Genesis Research & Development isolating and characterizing novel growth factors and cytokines. Matt Sleeman holds a PhD from the University of Durham, UK.

Jenny Stow

Professor Jennifer Stow is a cell biologist and group leader at The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience where her research interests are in macrophage biology, inflammation and protein trafficking and signalling pathways. Jenny earned her PhD at Monash University, Melbourne before completing a postdoctoral appointment in the Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven and a faculty position at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Toshiyuki Takai PhD

Toshiyuki Takai did his graduate work on molecular biology at Kyoto University and stayed at Sloan–Kettering Institute to study Fc receptor biology before joining to the current, Tohoku University. Interest of his research group is focused on immune tolerance and autoimmune disease regulated by immune checkpoint receptors.

Hiroshi Takayanagi

University of Tokyo

Research Scientist, Translational Research Group, Cell Biology & Physiology Department, CSL Research

Dr. Hiroshi Takayanagi was initially trained as an orthopaedic surgeon and rheumatologist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, The University of Tokyo after graduation from the Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo. Dr. Hiroshi Takayanagi started his basic research career in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo by studying the mechanism of bone destruction in arthritis and moved to the Department of Immunology in the same university.
After awarded Ph.D in 2001 Dr. Hiroshi Takayanagi became Assistant Professor of the Department of Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo (Prof. Tadatsugu Taniguchi). Dr. Hiroshi Takayanagi explored the role of immune molecules such as interferons in the regulation of bone metabolism and revealed the key factors NFATc1 and immunoglobulin-like receptors in osteoclast development. For the period from 2003 through 2012, Dr. Hiroshi Takayanagi fulfilled responsibilities as Professor of Tokyo Medical and Dental University and continued to explore the interdisciplinary field, osteoimmunology. Since 2012, Dr. Hiroshi Takayanagi has served as Professor, Department of Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, focusing on osteoimmunology and pathogenesis of autoimmune disease as well as mechanism of immune tolerance.

Read more

Ranjeny Thomas

MBBS (WA), MD (WA), FRACP, FAHMS

Professor Thomas is Professor of Rheumatology at University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, consultant rheumatologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital, fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and Chief Technical Officer of the Uniquest spin-off company Dendright.

Her research seeks to understand autoimmune disease and restoration of immune tolerance. Through this work, she developed dendritic cell-based antigen-specific immunotherapy in the first proof-of-concept trial in Rheumatoid Arthritis. She developed a liposome immunotherapy that targets dendritic cells to induce antigen-specific tolerance. The product, DEN181, was developed by Dendright, in partnership with Janssen-Biotech, the US pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, for the indication of RA. DEN-181 is in early-phase clinical trials in RA. Thomas is progressing the development of liposome-based tolerance strategies in other autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, as well as nanoparticle-based dendritic cell targeted cancer vaccines. She has also contributed major insights into how the microbiome is involved in causing spondyloarthropathy, leading to the development of disease biomarkers and therapeutic strategies.

Ana Traven

Ana Traven is an Associate Professor and Lab Head in the Infection and Immunity theme of the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University. She obtained her PhD from the University of Zagreb in 2002, and then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. Ana’s lab focuses on human fungal pathogens, with a specific interest in the roles of metabolism and mitochondria in fungal virulence and interactions with innate immune cells. Publications from the lab on these topics have been in journals such as Cell Metabolism, Cell Reports, PLoS Genetics, mBio and PNAS. In recognition of her research achievements, in 2018 Ana was awarded the Georgina Sweet Award for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science.

Ken Walsh

University of Virginia

Kenneth Walsh is the director of the Hematovascular Biology Center and a member of the Berne Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Virginia. The Walsh Lab broadly examines the molecular events that drive cardiovascular cell growth, differentiation and cell death. At the forefront of this science, his newest studies have investigated how clonal hematopoiesis functions as a new causal risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. He obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He is author of over 350 scientific articles.

Linfa Wang

Prof Linfa Wang is the director of the Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore. He is an international leader in the field of emerging zoonotic viruses and virus-host interaction. He is a member of the WHO SARS Scientific Research Advisory Committee, and played a key role in identification of bats as the natural host of SARS-like viruses. Prof Wang has more than 350 scientific publications, including papers in Science and Nature. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for the open access Virology Journal. In 2010, Prof Wang was elected to the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Connie Wong

Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Monash University

The focus of Dr. Connie Wong's research is investigating the pathophysiology of stroke and the subsequent host inflammatory response. After completing her PhD at Monash University in 2008, Connie was trained in the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the University of Calgary in Canada (2008-2012) and returned to Monash University in 2013, before heading her own lab in 2015. Connie has published >40 journal articles, including first/senior author in Science, Nature Immunology and Nature Medicine. Connie was awarded "The Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize" in 2013 and Victorian Tall Poppy award in 2017. Her research is funded by NHMRC and National Heart Foundation. She is a current recipient of the CSL Centenary Fellowship.

Tom Wynn

In July 2017, I joined Pfizer to lead the Discovery effort in the Inflammation and Immunology Research Unit at Pfizer located in Cambridge, MA. Prior to joining Pfizer, I was a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Immunopathogenesis Section of the Laboratory of Parasitic Disease, in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH in Bethesda, MD. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Wisconsin. I have published over 200 research papers, reviews, and book chapters in many prestigious journals including Nature, Science, and Nature Immunology and have made important contributions to our understanding of the role of cytokines and growth factors in the progression and resolution of chronic inflammation, tissue regeneration, and fibrosis. At Pfizer, I’m leading our discovery efforts in the areas of immune tolerance, epithelial cell biology, immunometabolism, innate immunity, and fibrosis. For the past three years, I have been included on Thomson Reuters’ list of Highly Cited Researchers.

Akihiko Yoshimura

Dr. Akihiko Yoshimura is currently a professor of Keio University School of Medicine. He obtained PhD from Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, Japan in 1986. He became an assistant professor at Oita Medical School in 1985, followed by becoming an associate professor at Kagoshima University in 1989. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow, at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Boston, USA from 1989 to 1991. He became full professor in 1995 at the Institute of Life Science, Kurume University in Fukuoka, Japan, then moved to Kyushu University in 2001. He was appointed a professor at Keio University School of Medicine. in 2008. He is an expert in the field of immunology, especially negative regulation of cytokine signal transduction as well as functions of regulatory T cells (Tregs). His group discovered the CIS/SOCS family in 1997, which negatively regulates cytokine signaling and the Spred family which inhibits the Ras-ERK pathway in 2001. He continued his research on Tregs after moving to Keio University and discovered an essential gene, Nr4a for the development of Tregs. His group recently discovered Tregs in the brain after ischemic brain injury.

Read more