Can Crabs, Corals or Camels Catch Cold ?
The immune systems of a plethora of organisms from corals to camels, crabs to chickens and seals to humans will be amongst the topics discussed at a major international conference in St Andrews beginning this weekend (29th June – 4th July 2003).
The University of St Andrews will host The 9th International Congress of the International Society for Developmental and Comparative Immunology (ISDCI). A wide range of subjects will be discussed including: new discoveries of how the immune system works in primitive and complex organisms, the effect of pollution and human impact on disease resistance in wildlife and the potential for sourcing new drugs in the natural world.
International experts in the fields of immunology, marine biology, aquaculture science and molecular biology will look across a broad spectrum of living organisms such as corals, sea mammals, sharks, shrimps, sponges and worms to learn more about the human evolution process.
Dr Val Smith of the University’s School of Biology together with Dr Ailsa Hall of the University’s Sea Mammal Research Unit and Dr Liz Dyrynda of Heriot Watt University’s School of Biology have organised the conference.
Dr Smith said: “We are very proud to be hosting such a prestigious conference here in St Andrews, welcoming delegates from all over the world to share their scientific findings in this rapidly developing field of research”
The Congress is designed to bring together an international community of scientists to discuss and debate diversity, evolution, development and integrative physiological functioning of immune responses across the whole spectrum of living organisms. It will consider both adaptive and innate mechanisms from a comparative, developmental or evolutionary standpoint, emphasising the factors that have arisen during evolution to deal with infection. Contributors will also deal with the interaction between environment and immunity, aging and the integration of immune reactivity with other physiological systems.
Importantly, the Congress will include reports of findings from new genomic and related studies and aims to highlight new developments in comparative and developmental immunology using sophisticated methods to study the complexities of the immune system in fine detail.
Over the course of four days, almost 400 delegates will gather from almost 30 countries as diverse as Egypt, Argentina, Cuba, Ghana, Iceland, India, Japan and Poland to deliver 200 talks.
Amongst the general themes under discussion will be:
* Looking at the natural world for potential new vaccination drugs in veterinary science and aquaculture as well as medicine * Keeping animals healthy in stressful and crowded environments * The effect of pollution on wildlife heath * The impact of positive thinking on health and vice versa * How and why the ‘amazing’ immune system sometimes goes wrong * The problem with fish and shellfish vaccines * Immunology of marine mammals and large wild animals (including rare and endangered species) * Inflammation, injury and tissue repair in all animals – how does a coral reef heal after a hurricane? * Learning about the evolution of humans through studying a very wide range of organisms
The six plenary speakers are internationally renowned in their field. They are:
Chris Amemiya (Virginia Mason Research Centre, Seattle); Max Dale Cooper, (University of Alabama); Polly Matzinger (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA); Peter Parham (Stanford University); Ellen Rothenberg (Caltech, USA) and Michael Zasloff (Georgetown University Medical Center, USA).
The Congress, held every 3 years, has been a labour of love for Dr Smith over the last three and a half years. Dr Smith has been a member of the ISDCI for over 20 years and holds the position of Education Secretary. The conference has taken advantage of electronic communications – all organisation of the event has been computer-driven – and is being run by an all-women team.
The St Andrews event will see the Conference return to Scotland for the first time since the first was held in Aberdeen in 1980. The last conference was held in Cairns, Australia in 2000. Weblinks:
NOTE TO EDITORS:
YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND ANY OF THE SESSIONS OF THE ISDCI CONFERENCE 2003
THE FULL PROGRAMME IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk/~seeb/ISDCI/home.htm
PLEASE CONTACT ORGANISER DR SMITH ON 01334 463474 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE CONFERENCE.
ABSTRACTS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk/~seeb/ISDCI/timetable 1_.htm
Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email firstname.lastname@example.org Ref: immunology conf pr 240603 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.ukResearch