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Immunology without borders

Wellcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL
Thursday, 13 June, 2019 - 09:00 to Friday, 14 June, 2019 - 17:00


The British Society for Immunology's Ulster Immunology Group is pleased to present 'Immunology without borders' taking place on 13 - 14 June 2019 in Belfast.

Four informative sessions will host global experts in the area of regenerative immunology, immunonutrition, viral infections of the respiratory track and innate lymphoid cell immunology. Discussion across diverse range of immune related topics and disease areas is a major advantage to the promotion of impactful cross-disciplinary research.

This meeting will also offer an opportunity for the establishment of links with industrial partners, who are encouraged to attend. Our aim is to create a setting where conventional boundaries can be broken down to allow new insights to our understanding of the immune system. This unique conference will be of significant interest to clinicians, scientists, nutritionists, and pharmaceutical companies, among others. 

There will be a poster session at the end of the first day, followed by an optional conference dinner. This is a great opportunity to make some valuable connections and continue exchanging ideas and discussing future advances in immunology. We would like to encourage you to book your place and attend the dinner. There will also be an early career research session at the beginning of the second day. Attendance is free but pre-registration is required.

Main objectives:

  1. Discuss the past, present and future advances in immunology 
  2. Advance the results of recent scientific research with a specific focus on regenerative immunology, nutritional immunology, viral immunology and innate immunity 
  3. Provide a forum for exchanging ideas, building networks and formulating new research directions 


Thursday 13 June 

9:15 Registration

9:45 Welcome message from the BSI's Ulster Immunology Group 

Immuno-nutrition in Health and Disease 
Chairs: Dr Philip Allsopp and Dr Emeir McSorley

10:00 Dr Fiona McGillicuddy (University College Dublin) - Diet, obesity and inflammation
10:30 Prof Lothar Rink (University Hospital RWTH Aachen) - Zinc as gatekeeper of immune function
11:00 Selected oral presentation 1: Michelle Naughton (Queen's University Belfast) - CCN3 is dynamically regulated by treatment and disease state in Multiple Sclerosis 
11:15 Coffee/Tea break
11:45 Selected oral presentation 2: Rebecca Coll (Queen's University Belfast) - Mechanism of action of the small-molecule NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor MCC950
12:00 Prof Martin Hewison (University of Birmingham) - Vitamin D and immunity: a crucial role for cell metabolism
12:30 Dr Emeir McSorley (Ulster University) - Associations between methylmercury, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and antinuclear antibodies in young adults from a high fish-eating observational study in Seychelles

13:00 Lunch and poster session

Regenerative Immunology 
Chairs: Dr Yvonne Dombrowski and Prof Denise Fitzgerald
14:00 Prof Ling-Pei Ho (University of Oxford) - Monocyte and macrophages in lung injury, fibrosis and regeneration
14:30 Dr Stefano Pluchino (University of Cambridge) - Immune modulation of stem cells and their cargo vesicles in brain regeneration
15:00 Selected oral presentation 1: Xuan Du (Queen's University Belfast) - Uncontrolled microglial activation independently induces retinal degeneration in an age-related retinal microgliosis murine model
15:15 Coffee/tea break
15:45 Selected oral presentation 2: Andrew Young (Queens University Belfast) - Th1 cells Promote Oligodendrocyte Differentiation in vitro
16:00 Dr Yvonne Dombrowski (Queen’s University Belfast) - Regenerative inflammation: innate immune mechanisms in myelin regeneration
16:30 Prof Andreas Diefenbach (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin) - Innate Lymphoid Cells and tissue homeostasis

17:00 Poster session and reception

19:00 Conference Dinner (optional)

Friday 14 June 

9:00  Breakfast and early career research session organised by Dr Martin Broadstock (Medical Research Council)

Supporting the career development of Early-Career Researchers (ECR) is a key aspect of the work of BSI and UIG. At this meeting, Dr Martin Broadstock, MRC’s Programme Manager for Immunology, will deliver a focused session for ECRs to discuss ways in which the MRC can support ERC career development, including funding opportunities. This will be a combined presentation and open forum session to a broad ECR audience ranging from postgraduate students to new PIs. Attendance is free but pre-registration is required.

Innate Lymphoid Cells
Chairs: Dr Rebecca Ingram and Dr Eric Campbell

10:00 Prof Padraic Fallon (Trinity College Dublin) - Are ILC2 the customs or police at the skin border?
10:30 Dr Matt Hepworth (University of Manchester) - Innate lymphoid cell regulation of host-microbiota crosstalk in health and disease
11:00 Selected oral presentation 1: Rachael Bell (Queens University Belfast) - The effects of E-cigarette use on inflammasome activation 
11:15 Coffee/Tea break
11:45 Selected oral presentation 2: Jonathon Dean Coey (Queens University Belfast) - The Anti-RSV Activity of IRF9 & IFI6: Two Genes Implicated in Severe RSV Disease
12:00 Dr Tim Halim (University of Cambridge) - Immune regulatory functions of group 2 innate lymphoid cells
12:30 Dr Rebecca Ingram (Queen's University Belfast) - ILC memory

13:00 Lunch and poster session 

Virus infection of the respiratory tract
Chairs: Dr Ultan Power and Dr Lyndsay Broadbent

14:00 Prof Clare Lloyd (Imperial College London) - Regulating immunity in early life
14:30 Dr Fiona Culley (Imperial College London) - TBC
15:00 Selected oral presentation 1: Hong Guo-Parke (Queen's University Belfast) - Rhinovirus induced innate immune responses in the epithelium of severe COPD 
15:15 Coffee/tea break
15:45 Selected oral presentation 2: Olivier Touzelet (Queen's University Belfast) - Secretome profiling of a pediatric airway epithelium infected with human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV)
16:00 Dr Helen Groves (Queen’s University Belfast) - Innate immune maturation in the airway epithelium - development of  responses to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
16:30 Prof Marc B. Hershenson (University of Michigan Medical School) - Innate lymphoid cells and viral-induced airways disease

17:00 Symposium award ceremony

Abstract submission

Delegates are encouraged to submit abstracts on their work for presentation at the meeting. A small number of abstracts will be selected for short talks and there will be a prize for the best oral and poster presentation. Abstracts should be a maximum of 250 words and should be submitted via our Google Docs form. The abstract submission deadline has been extended to 24 May.


Online registration is now open. Registration is free but you must register to ensure your place is booked. If you'd like to attend the conference dinner taking place at the end of the first day, please select this option in your online registration. Registration will close at 15:00 BST on 10 June.

Corporate sponsors

Our thanks to the following sponsors for supporting this event.



If you would like to enquire about sponsorship opportunities, please email Jane Sessenwein.


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