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2019 Immunology Symposium

This annual event brings together prominent researchers presenting current research in the field of immunology.

Event Contact

Jenny Wojtysiak

Research Administration, Blood Research Institute
Email 414-937-3854

Pathogen Recognition in Innate Immunity

13th Annual Immunology Symposium

Date: October 30th, 2019

Blood Research Institute
8733 W. Watertown Plank Rd.
Milwaukee, WI 53226

The Annual Immunology Symposium covers the latest on Pathogen Recognition in Innate Immunity.

Featured Speakers:


Center for Immunology, Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate Student Invited Speaker:

Marco Colonna, MD

Marco Colonna, MD

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Presentation
Innate Lymphoid Cells in Mucosal Immunity


Sun Hur, PhD

Sun Hur, PhD

Harvard Medical School

Presentation
RIG-I-like Receptors and Inflammation


Egil Lien, PhD

Egil Lien, PhD

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Presentation
Pathogen Manipulation of Innate Immunity – Implications on Signaling and Cell Death


Jyotika Sharma, PhD

Jyotika Sharma, PhD

University of North Dakota

Presentation
Neutrophil Extracellular Traps: Formation and Therapeutic Implications


Jenifer Coburn, PhD

Jenifer Coburn, PhD

Medical College of Wisconsin

Presentation
Spirochetes Stealthily Sneak Around Innate Immunity


Suzanne Cassel, MD

Suzanne Cassel, MD

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Presentation
NLRC4 Regulation of the Anti-Influenza Immune Response

Organizing Committee Chairs: 

Weiguo Cui, MD, PhD WCui@versiti.org
Bonnie Dittel, PhD BDittel@Versiti.org
Jack Gorski, PhD JGorski@versiti.org

Speakers and Materials From Previous Events

  • 13th Annual Immunology Symposium: Pathogen Recognition in Innate Immunity

    Featured Speakers and Topics

    Center for Immunology, Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate Student Invited Speaker:

    • Marco Colonna, MD: Innate Lymphoid Cells in Mucosal Immunity Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
    • Sun Hur, PhD: RIG-I-like Receptors and Inflammation Harvard Medical School
    • Egil Lien, PhD: Pathogen Manipulation of Innate Immunity – Implications on Signaling and Cell Death University of Massachusetts Medical School
    • Jyotika Sharma, PhD: Neutrophil Extracellular Traps: Formation and Therapeutic Implications University of South Dakota
    • Jenifer Coburn, PhD: Spirochetes Stealthily Sneak Around Innate Immunity Medical College of Wisconsin
    • Suzanne Cassel, MD: NLRC4 Regulation of the Anti-Influenza Immune Response Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

    Event Materials

  • 12th Annual Immunology Symposium: B Cells and Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies

    Featured Speakers and Topics

    • Frederick W. Alt, PhD: New Insights into Mechanisms that Generate Primary and Peripheral B Cell Repertoires Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Director, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital; Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
    • James E. Crowe, MD: Molecular and Genetic Basis for Development of Broad and Potent Neutralizing Antibodies Ann Scott Carell Chair; Professor of Pediatrics, Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology; Director, Vanderbuilt Vaccine Center, Vanerbuilt University School of Medicine
    • Gary J. Nabel, MD, PhD: Development of Trispecific Antibodies for AIDS and Cancer Chief Scientific Officer, Senior Vice President, Sanofi
    • William Schief, PhD: Germline-Targeting Vaccine Design for HIV Professor of Immunology and Microbial Science, The Scripps Research Institute
    • Betty Diamond, MD: Origins of Autoreactive B cells in Systemic Lupus Head, The Center of Autoimmune Musculoskeletal and Hematopoietic Diseases, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
    • Demin Wang, PhD: B Cell and Antibody Response in Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia John B. and Judith A. Gardetto Chair for Cancer Research, Senior Investigator, Blood Research Institute, Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin

    Event Materials

  • 11th Annual Immunology Syposium: Immunology in Precision Medicine

    Featured Speakers and Topics

    • Mark M. Davis, PhD: New Tools for T cells: A Window on Many Human Diseases Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation, and Infection; Member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS); Stanford University School of Medicine
    • Ming Li, PhD: Tolerance and Immunity in Health and Cancer Professor, Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School; Professor, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences; Principal Investigator/Member, Immunology Program; Faculty Scholar, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    • Edward M. Behrens, MD: Toward Developing a Precision Approach to the Cytokine Storm Joseph Lee Hollander Associate Professor in Pediatric Rheumatology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Division Chief of Rheumatology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    • Yi-Guang Chen, PhD: Genetic Control of Type 1 Diabetes: Learning From the NOD Mouse Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Endocrinology), Microbiology and Immunology; Medical College of Wisconsin
    • Gail Bishop, PhD: TRAF3 & B Cells: Understanding Biology to Inform Treatment of B Cell Malignancies Professor of Microbiology and Internal Medicine; Director, Center for Immunology and Immune-Based Diseases; Associate Director for Basic Science Research, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center; Holden Chair of Cancer Biology, The University of Iowa
    • Arup Chakraborty, PhD: How to Hit HIV Where it Hurts Director of Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering; Professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Biological Engineering; Member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    Event Materials

  • 10th Annual Immunology Symposium: Host Defense

    Featured Speakers and Topics:

    • Ronald Germain, MD, PhD: Imaging Immunity: Creating a Spatiotemporal Understanding of Host Defense NIH Distinguished Investigator; Chief, Laboratory of Systems Biology and Lymphocyte Biology Section; Acting Chief, Laboratory of Immunology; Associate Director, Trans-NIH Center for Human Immunology; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
    • Vera Tarakanova, PhD: Interferon Regulatory Factor 1: a B Cell Brake in Gammaherpevirus Infection Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Medical College of Wisconsin
    • Patrick Wilson, PhD: Human Immune Memory to Influenza Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology, Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research, University of Chicago
    • David Brooks, PhD: Exploiting the Underlying Mechanisms of Immune Exhaustion: Modulating the Environment to Fix the Parts Senior Scientist, Scotiabank Research Chair in Inflammation, Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network; Associate Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto
    • Jyothi Rengarajan, PhD: Host Biomarkers of Tuberculosis Immunity Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Emory Vaccine Center, Emory University School of Medicine
    • Gabriel Núñez, MD: Linking Pathogen Virulence, Host Immunity and the Microbiota Paul de Kruif Endowed Professor, Inflammation and Immunology; Co-Director, Immunology and Host Response Program; Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Michigan School of Medicine

    Event Materials

  • 9th Annual Immunology Symposium: The Impact of the Microbiome on Immunity

    Featured Speakers and Topics:

    • Alexander Chervonsky, MD, PhD: Autoimmunity and Microbiota Professor, Department of Pathology, The University of Chicago
    • Duane Wesemann, MD, PhD: Insights into the Establishment and Function of the Primary Immunoglobulin Repertoire Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
    • Cathryn Nagler, PhD: Innate Immune Regulation of Sensitization to Dietary Antigens by Commensal Bacteria Bunning Food Allergy Professor, Department of Pathology, Medicine and the College, The University of Chicago
    • Veena Taneja, PhD: Gut Microbes- Friendly Residents or the Enemy Within Associate Professor, Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic
    • Christian Jobin, PhD: How Inflammation Influences Colorectal Cancer: It is All About Bugs Professor, College of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Florida
    • Nita Salzman, MD, PhD: Two Sides to Intestinal Homeostasis: Roles for Both Host and Microbial Antimicrobial Peptides Professor, Children’s Research Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin

    Event Materials

  • 8th Annual Immunology Symposium: Immune Cell: Genome, Transcriptome & Signalsome

    Featured Speakers and Topics:

    • Ellen Robey, PhD: Visualizing T Cell Selection in the Thymus Professor, Immunology and Pathogenesis, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California Berkeley
    • David Rawlings, MD: Altered B Cell Signaling Orchestrates Loss of Tolerance and Systemic Autoimmunity Director, Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies, Seattle Children’s Research Institute; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington
    • Harvey Lodish, PhD: Self-Renewal of Human Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells: New Drugs to Treat Bone Marrow Failure Disorders and Other Erythropoietin-Resistant Anemias Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Professor, Biology and Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Anjana Rao, PhD: TET Proteins, 5-Methylcytosine Oxidation and Cancer Professor, Division of Signaling and Gene Expression, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
    • Cornelis Murre, PhD: 3D-Trajectories Adopted by Coding and Regulatory DNA Elements in Developing Lymphocytes Distinguished Professor, Molecular Biology, University of California San Diego

    Event Materials

  • 7th Annual Immunology Symposium: Cellular Immunotherapy and Hematopoietic Stem Cells

    Featured Speakers and Topics:

    • Stanley Riddell, MD: Engineering Defined T Cell Cancer Therapeutics with Gene Transfer Professor, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington School of Medicine
    • Crystal MacKall, MD: Chimeric Antigen Receptor Based Adoptive T Cell Therapy for Cancer: Progress and Challenges Head, Immunology Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute
    • Pramod Srivastava, MD, PhD: Search for Truly Tumor-Specific Antigens Director, Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut
    • Linheng Li, PhD: Niche, Signaling, Epigenetic Regulation of Stem Cells Professor, Stowers Institute, University of Kansas School of Medicine
    • Stuart Orkin, MD: Making Sense of Heterogeneity in the Hematopoietic System Chair, Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School

    Event Materials


Immunology Then and Now


Immunology in the form of immunohematology was a key component of the activity of the early “Milwaukee Blood Center,” which eventually became Versiti. The discovery of the role of human leukocyte antigens (HLA) on platelets in transfusion led to HLA typing to match platelet donors. This led to Versiti Blood Center being selected as the national depository for rare bone marrow donor types, which evolved into the National Marrow Donor program. In 1979, Versiti Blood Center investigators discovered a new HLA histocompatibility system, now known as HLA-DQ. With its expertise in HLA, Versiti Blood Center was able to facilitate the first unrelated bone marrow transplant in 1981. It was an early adopter of T- cell typing and was one of the first institutions in the U.S. to implement molecular genetic-based HLA typing. Today’s Versiti continues to provide expanded HLA typing using high-throughput DNA sequencing.

Immunologists at the BRI currently conduct cutting-edge research in cancer, infectious disease and autoimmunity. Investigators are developing new methods for eradicating cancer by using novel immunotherapies. In infectious disease, the work by BRI immunologists studying how the immune system recognizes and responds to viruses is opening new avenues for the treatment and prevention of viral infections. Studies in autoimmunity include how B and T lymphocytes contribute to and regulate autoimmunity.

The immunology community at BRI/MCW is well organized and in addition to the yearly Immunology Symposium, now in its 13th year, offers a variety of training opportunities. These include both pre-doctoral graduate courses and advanced training in clinical immunology. The immunology faculty also facilitate a weekly journal club, a weekly work-in-progress and a yearly internal conference/retreat.

The strength of and leading role of Immunology on the Medical College campus has led to the founding of the Center for Immunology, which is dedicated to helping translate our understanding of basic research to problems faced by Medical College physicians.

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