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Texas A&M University spotlights immunology research at inaugural symposium

Event brought together regional scientists and world-renowned leaders to share advancements in the field of immunology
microscopic illustration of T-cells attacking cancer cell / immunology

Four units at Texas A&M University recently came together to host a symposium highlighting research projects occurring across the state and beyond in the vast field of immunology.

The inaugural Texas Symposium on Critical Topics in Immunology took place on Feb. 17–18 and was co-sponsored by the university’s Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and Division of Research.

The event featured keynote presentations by world-renowned leaders in the field. Researchers and trainees in attendance discussed the role of the immune system in emerging infectious and inflammatory diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration, and cardiovascular disorders.

The symposium included six keynote speaker sessions, various other presentations, an awards ceremony, and networking events. The two-day event also included 43 research posters covering projects occurring across 23 institutions, representing eight states and three countries.

Nearly 50 trainees from across Texas presented their findings and competed for more than $5,000 in awards.

“The School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is very proud to be part of the first Symposium on Critical Topics in Immunology,” said John R. August, BVetMed, MS, MRCVS, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. “It was an excellent opportunity to learn about new developments in the field of immunology and the importance of the immune system as a first form of defense against disease. The keynote speakers were most impressive.”

After a brief welcome by August, the opening keynote was delivered by Florencia McAllister, MD, from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention.

“Our intention with this symposium was to position the School of Medicine as a driver for coalescing research on immunology around Texas A&M and across the region, and I think we effectively accomplished that,” said James Samuel, PhD, Regents Professor and department head of Microbial Pathogenesis & Immunology at the Texas A&M School of Medicine. “This event brought Texas scientists together with nationally and internally renowned keynote speakers, and attendees found it valuable for creating and reconnecting collaborations in a post-pandemic world. Our goal now is to continue this event annually.”

The international cohort of keynote speakers also included:

  • Stefan H.E. Kaufmann, PhD, a faculty fellow at the Hagler Institute and director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology and Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Germany
  • Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, a faculty fellow at the Hagler Institute and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine
  • Alan Sher, PhD, a National Institutes of Health Distinguished Investigator from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases
  • Vamsee Mallajosyula, PhD, a research scientist at Stanford University’s Institute for Immunity, Transplantation, and Immunology
  • Nan Yan, PhD, a professor and vice chair of the Department of Immunology at the UT Southwestern Medical Center

“The first Texas Symposium on Critical Topics in Immunology was a terrific sharing of the latest ideas and data from many of the most pressing areas of research in host defense,” said Michael Criscitiello, PhD, the VMBS’ associate dean for Research & Graduate Studies. “Exemplary keynotes were delivered by leaders from Stanford to the NIH, UT Southwestern to UTMB-Galveston, but none were more riveting than those from our own Hagler fellows, Stefan Kaufmann and Peter Hotez.”

The symposium was centered around four major themes: Vaccine and Therapeutic Approaches to Infectious Diseases; Immune Response to Pathogens/Host-Pathogen Interaction; Systems Immunology; and Inflammatory Diseases, including Cancer. It was held at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center in College Station.

 

This story originally appeared on VMBS News.

Media contact: Dee Dee Grays, grays@tamu.edu, 979.436.0611

Megan Myers, VMBS Communications

Program Assistant

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