Home - Plenary Speakers


Prof. Barry T. Rouse


University of Tennessee, USA


Meeting the challenge of controlling viral immunopathology


Prof. Rouse received his Bachelor degree from University of Bristol in 1965, M.Sc. from University of Guelph in 1967 and Ph.D. from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in 1970 and a honorary D.Sc. from University of Bristol in 1997. Professor Rouse has published more than 400 research papers and book chapters. Areas of Research; Professor Barry Rouse's research is in the field of infectious disease and has focused on viral immunology and immunopathology. He has mainly studied herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in mice both with a view to devising successful vaccines and more particularly to determine how HSV causes tissue damage in critical tissues such as the eye and nervous system. Professor Rouse worked on both host innate and adaptive immune mechanisms, particularly the T cells responsible for immunity as well as those involved in orchestrating tissue damage. He has defined the role of several subtypes 2 of proinflammatory T cells as well as numerous cytokines and chemokines. His group was the first to show a role of regulatory T cells (Treg) in the host response to a virus infection demonstrating that Treg responses could act to inhibit the efficiency of immunity, but that Treg were valuable to modulate the severity of immunopathological responses, such as those that occur in the corneal stroma after HSV infection of the eye. Dr. Rouse's group has studied the important blinding lesion herpes stromal keratitis (SK) for >30 years and has demonstrated how multiple events set off by ocular HSV infection culminate in SK. They have paid particular attention to the non-specific inflammatory cells, particularly neutrophils, that are recruited to the eye and which appear to be mainly responsible for the tissue damage that occurs. Dr. Rouse's group was also the first to show a critical role for corneal neovascularization (CV) during SK pathogenesis, identified several angiogenic factors and studied how such factors are generated following HSV infection. Recently, they have also investigated various ways of modulating the extent of proinflammatory T cell involvement during SK with a view to understanding how to optimally achieve lesion resolution. The basic objective is now to find convenient ways to change the balance of T cell subsets involved in inflammatory reactions to favor those with an anti-inflammatory function. To this end, Dr. Rouse's Group became involved in manipulating metabolic pathways since different cell subtypes use different pathways. Honors and Recognitions; Professor Rouse xtensive experience on NIH study sections since 1978. He has served 3 cycles as a permanent member of study section (virology 1986-88, AIDS and Related Viruses III 1988-92 (chairman 1989-92), Immunology and Host Defense study sections (IMS) 2001-05. In the last 25 years he has served at least once (often 5) per year as an ad hoc member of a wide variety of study sections for NIH and the VA. Prof. Rouse is on the editorial board of several journals and has been a co-organizer and participant in Keystone and Herpesvirus meetings. He has spent sabbatical leave in Germany with Hermann Wagner, the John Curtin School, Canberra with Peter Doherty, the Scripps Research Institute with Frank Chisari and Emory University with Rafi Ahmed. Prof. Rouse is a member of ARVO, AAI and ASM Prof. Rouse has trained >75 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Among the honors and awards; 3 1981-82 Fogarty Senior International Fellowship, at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz 1981-82 Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship 1986 University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Scholar Award 1986 Hollister-Stier Distinguished lecturer. Coll. Vet. Med., Washington State, Univ. Mar 1989, 1992, 2013 Beecham Award for Research Excellence 1986 Visiting Fellowship, John Curtin School, Australian National University 1997 DLT Smith Visiting Professorship, University of Saskatchewan, Canada 1998 J.H. Subak-Sharpe Lecture, International Herpes Virus Workshop, York, England 1998 Elected Member of Henry Kunkel Society 2000 Invited Visiting Professor, ST. George University, Grenada 2001 Alcon Award for outstanding contributions to vision research 2002 Dolph Adams Award for Leukocyte Biology Society for most cited paper 1995- 2000 2005 R.G. Thompson Lecture. Atlantic Veterinary College, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada 2013 Scholars in Vision Special Seminar, University of Pittsburgh 2013 Member of Faculty 1000 prime (Faculty Member Faculty of 1000 since 2001) 2014 Medal of Merit Warsaw University of Life Sciences, University of Poland 2015 Opendra Narayan Lectureship, International Society of Neurovirology. San Diego. 2018 Lifetime achievement award in research by American Veterinary Medical association.

Prof. Fred Finkelman


University of Cincinnati, USA


IgG-mediated anaphylaxis


Fred D. Finkelman, M.D. is the McDonald Professor of Medicine (emeritus) at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine He received his undergraduate degree from Queens College in New York City and his M.D. from Yale University. This was followed by Internal Medicine residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, immunology research training with William Paul in the Laboratory of Immunology at NIAID and a Rheumatology fellowship with Morris Ziff at the University of Texas, Dallas-Southwestern Medical School. He served on the faculty of the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD for 18 years, where he rose to the level of Professor and Director of the Division of Immunology, then moved 29 years ago to the University of Cincinnati, where he directed the Division of Immunology for 11 years. He assumed an emeritus position 7 years ago upon moving to Netanya, Israel, but will continue to run a laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center until July, 2024. Dr. Finkelman served as a Deputy Editor of the Journal of Immunology for 5 years and Associate Editor for the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology for 10 years, chaired the Clinical Immunology Study Section for the Arthritis Foundation for 2 years, served as a member of the NIH HAI Study Section for 4 years, served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and as Treasurer of that organization for 2 years. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the 2009 Jerry Dolovich Memorial Lectureship from the AAAAI and the 2011 Middleton Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Finkelman has published 378 research papers and 91 reviews and been awarded 8 U.S. patents. He has been recognized as one of the 100 most-cited immunologists, with over 51,000 lifetime citations, an i10 index of 399 and an h-index of 122 (Google Scholar). He and his collaborators have used mouse models to demonstrate that IL-4 is required to induce IgE antibody responses, that IL-4, IL-13 and Stat6 are required to protect against intestinal worm parasites, that inflammatory stimuli determine whether antigen presentation by dendritic cells induces immune activation or tolerance, that IgG antibodies can both block IgE-mediated anaphylaxis and mediate anaphylaxis through a macrophage- and mast-cell-dependent mechanism, that airway hyperresponsiveness can be induced by direct effects of IL-4 and IL-13 on smooth muscle cells and that IgE-mediated allergy can be quickly and safely suppressed in mice by rapid desensitization with anti-FcRI monoclonal antibody. In addition, his in vivo cytokine capture assay is frequently used to determine evaluate in vivo cytokine production.

Prof. Leonardo Antonio Sechi


University of Sassari, Italy



Education: 1989 Università degli studi di Sassari, with honors. 1991 Postdoctoral Fellowship Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Temple University, Philadelphia. U.S.A. 1993 Specialization in Microbiology and Virology, Istituto di Microbiologia e Virologia, Università degli studi di Sassari. Academic Curriculum: 2007 Full Professor of Microbiology SSD MED/07, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Italy. Academic Duties 2013-present. Director of the PhD School in Life Sciences and Biotechnologies, University of Sassari. 2012-present. Member Albo degli Esperti per il Ministero dell’Istruzione, Università e Ricerca (MIUR). (Decreto n. 30/Ric). (12A05157) (GU n. 105 del 7-5-2012 ) 2020-present. Rector’s delegate for the Scientific Area of the University of Sassari, Italy 2018-2020 (up to 07/2021). Member of the National qualification Commission (ASN) for the evaluation of Microbiology Professorship for the Italian Universities (A3/06, SSD MED/07). 2012-2015. Member Gruppo Esperti Valutatori (GEV) 06 (Scienze Mediche) dell’ Agenzia Nazionale Valutazione dell’Università e della Ricerca (ANVUR). 2013-present. Referee databases of the Italian Ministry of University and Research ERC LS6_6, LS6_4. Other activities 2005. Founder of ISOGEM sas, start-up supported by Regione Autonoma della Sardegna, successivamente trasformata in ISOGEM srl. ( 2006- Founder of International Society for Genomic and Evolutionary Microbiology ( Editor or Reviewer: - Chief Editor of “Gut Pathogens” BMC series - Editor of PloS ONE, - Editor of Frontiers in System Biology - Editor of “International Journal of Mycobacteriology” - Member of the Board of Examiners, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India.

Prof. Delia Goletti


National Institute for Infectious Diseases (INMI), Italy



Dr. Goletti graduated with top marks and honors in Medicine and Surgery, she has a doctorate in Infectious Diseases, and she specialized in Infectious Diseases at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Roma, Italy. She trained scientifically in the United States (1992-1996), under the guidance of Dr Antony Fauci, at the Laboratory of Immune Regulation, at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, working on the immuno-pathogenetic aspects of HIV infection. In the same period, she has also been working with Drew Weissman, the Nobel Prize for Medicine 2023. When back in Italy, she worked at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (1996-1999) contributing to studies on the pathogenesis of Kaposi's Sarcoma and on a vaccine against SHIV infection in macaques. Since 1999, she has been working at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases - IRCCS L. Spallanzani (INMI) where she carries out clinical assistance activities at the outpatient clinic of Respiratory Infectious Diseases directed by Dr. Fabrizio Palmieri (2 days/week). She is the Director of the Translational Research Laboratory coordinating 14 people, working on studies on the immunopathogenesis of infectious diseases such as those caused by M. tuberculosis, Echinococcus granulosus, and SARS-CoV-2. These studies act as a driving force for the identification of biomarkers of infection and disease and propose new host-directed therapies. She has numerous international collaborations with other research institutes in Europe, India, Singapore, Africa, South America, and the United States. She also collaborates with the World Health Organization and the European Respiratory Society for the elimination of tuberculosis. Between 2019 and 2022, she was a contract professor of general pathology at the Faculty of Medicine of the Unicamillus University of Rome. She has been on the list of “Top Italian Scientists” since 2014 (Google Scholar H infìdex>30) and of “Top Italian Women Scientists” (Google Scholar H infìdex>60) since 2019. She is an associate Editor of several scientific journals including the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. She is among the most cited experts in the world for latent tuberculosis infection (, in Europe for therapies against COVID-19 ( ex/covid-19+drug+treatment/c/eur) and in Italy for cystic echinococcosis ( Awards/acknowledgments “Semplicemente donna 2023” award for scientific achievement, Castiglion Fiorentino, November, 2023 “She made a difference 2021” award for scientific achievement by the “European Women's Development Management” association at the Senate of the Italian Republic, November 2021. “FERS”, the Fellow of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) title, in recognition of excellence in scientific and/or educational contributions to respiratory medicine over many years, September 2016

Prof. Matthias Mack


Universitätsklinikum Regensburg, Germany


Fibrosis memory mediated by T cells drives progression of fibrosis


Matthias Mack is Professor of Internal Medicine and Nephrology at the University of Regensburg. He is head of a research group focusing on inflammation, autoimmunity and fibrosis and has published more than 200 original papers. Since several years he is rewarded as highly cited researcher by Web of Science / Clarivate. Matthias completed his internship and specialization in Nephrology at the University Hospital Munich, Germany and obtained his venia legendi from the University of Munich. Prior to that he completed his MD/PhD at the Institute of Immunology of the University of Munich pioneering the development of bispecific single chain antibodies (BiTEs) that lead to clinical application and approval of the first bispecific antibody Blinatumumab by Micromet/Amgen. Matthias graduated in Human Medicine from the Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich and started his early scientific career with a Howard-Hughes scholarship in the Blobel lab at the Rockefeller University in New York.

Prof. Martin F. Bachmann


University of Bern, Switzerland


Virus-like particle based vaccines against chronic diseases


Prof. Hassan Abolhassani


Karolinska Institutet, KI, Sweden


Long-term follow up and outcomes of monogenic immune dysregulation diseases


Dr. Hassan Abolhassani is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Immunology at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, KI, Sweden. He obtained his MD and MPH at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and his PhD in Immunogenetics at KI. During his Post-doc he evaluated single-cell multi-omics of novel Inborn Errors of Immunity (IEI) after he obtained the Jonas Söderquist award for the best PhD thesis at KI. He is currently a team leader of IEI research in Pan-Hammarström's lab. He is the president of the Middle East and North Africa Registry on IEI (MENA-IEI), one of the largest cohorts worldwide (>17000 patients) performing translational research on immune defects and specific IEI with B cell defects and immune dysregulation. He is a steering member of the J Project experts (professional network on IEI and related diseases in East-European countries) and a distinguished clinical immunologist collaborator of Global Burden of Disease (GBD). Additionally, he is a leading member of the junior faculty at KI and received several awards including Anna-Greta Craford's prize, Barlan Award, Razi Research Festival, and USERN LAUREATES in Medical Sciences. Within a long-term collaboration with the Center for Vaccine Equity, and Task Force for Global Health, he is coordinating the guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, transplantation and vaccinations in IEI patients. Fortunately, he is honored as top 1% of highly cited scientific researchers in the field of Immunology, Essential Science Indicators (ESI, Web of Science) and the World's Top 2% widely cited scientists based on Stanford University.

Prof. Siamon Gordon


University of Oxford, UK


The Mononuclear Phagocyte System-Immunology and Beyond


Webinar Biography Siamon Gordon My career is nearing 50 years of fascination with the macrophage, its cell biology and role in homeostasis and disease.Following their widespread distribution throughout the body, mononuclear phagocytes constitute a dispersed organ, on a par with the neuro-endocrine and other systems.After medical education in Cape Town, South Africa, I completed a doctoral programme in life sciences at Rockefeller University in New York supervised by Zanvil Cohn, using recently developed cell fusion to study the properties of macrophage homo- and heterokaryons. On moving to the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford my group produced monoclonal antibodies against a succession of plasma membrane receptors to study cell differentiation and activation, in vitro and in vivo.The F4/80 antigen became a founding member of a family of adhesion GPCR receptors implicated in peripheral tolerance, followed by lectin-like and scavenger receptors recognizing modified and non-self ligands on host and microbial targets.These markers made it possible to map the presence of macrophages in the mouse throughout life and revealed their phenotypic heterogeneity in all organs of the body . Remarkably, tissue macrophages acquired organ-specific as well as canonical trophic and cytotoxic functions.Personal recognition included election to the Royal Society , the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Academia Europeae.(206 words). TOPICS My presentation will trace the origins of macrophage research from Metchnikoff to the present day.It will cover their embryonic development and distribution from yolk sac and bone marrow as tissue resident and newly recruited monocyte-derived macrophages, before birth and throughout life.They interact with neighbouring cells and extracellular matrix in all tissues and micro-organisms through a broad range of plasma membrane receptors that regulate phagocytic uptake, digestion, biosynthesis and secretion of trophic and cytotoxic molecules. These properties underlie homeostasis, inflammation, humoral and cellular immunity to infection, metabolic, malignant and degenerative disease processes.In addition to classical activation or deactivation by prime- boosting cytokines such as Interferon gamma and Il-10, respectively, the Th2- cytokines IL-4/13 induce an alternative pathway of macrophage activation and repair associated with parasitic and allergic stimuli.Recent studies in humans and mice have drawn attention to organ-specific contributions of macrophages to the neuro-endocrine, cardiovascular and reproductive systems, for example, raising the question of the generation of their diversity.Further genetic and epigenetic studies should help to elucidate phenotypic analysis.In spite of their wide presence in vertebrates and invertebrates, the potential role of macrophages in driving evolution is still poorly understood.(197 words).

Prof. Richard Wyatt


The Scripps Research Institute, USA



Prof. Jiri Mestecky


University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA



Jiri Mestecky, M, PhD, is a professor of Microbiology and Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, U.S. A. He obtained his medical degree from Charles University in Prague and PhD from the Czech Academy of Sciences. He has worked on the induction of humoral and cellular immune responses in mucosal and systemic compartments against bacterial and viral antigens and vaccines including influenza, Epstein-Barr, human or simian immunodeficiency viruses, and streptococci using mucosal or systemic vaccine route administration and various antigen delivery systems. Furthermore, his co-workers demonstrated in humans the induction of mucosal tolerance manifested by the systemic unresponsiveness of T cells in the presence of mucosal and systemic antibody responses. The most recent studies include the role of Epstein-Barr virus infection in the development of a common human autoimmune disease – IgA nephropathy – with marked age, socio-economic and racial differences in the disease incidence.