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BSI at FOCIS 2023

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The Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies (FOCIS) 2023 Annual Meeting took place in Boston, USA on 20–23 June. We were delighted to have a strong presence at the conference, which brings together researchers and clinicians around the world to showcase the latest breakthroughs across immune-mediated diseases.

As a member of the Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies, the BSI is part of a forum of 62 member societies based across the world fostering interdisciplinary approaches to understand and treat immune-based diseases.

The FOCIS Annual Meeting is one of the biggest international conferences in the field of translational immunology, bringing together researchers and clinicians working on a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases to share knowledge across traditional research borders. The four-day programme focuses on the molecular pathways that underly immunopathologies, providing an opportunity to apply ideas from other diseases and identify commonalities between treatment and therapies.

Over the past few years, the BSI has established a fruitful partnership with FOCIS to support the promotion of each other’s conferences, in the hopes of fostering greater scientific exchange and international collaboration between our communities. We were delighted to have a strong presence at the 2023 Annual Meeting, with Professor Leonie Taams, Editor-in-Chief of Clinical & Experimental Immunology in attendance in Boston for a week of cutting-edge science.

During the ‘State of FOCIS’ address, Professor Taams presented the 2023 British Society for Immunology Poster Abstract Prize to Dr Yuan Gao from Shanxi Medical University, China. Dr Gao’s abstract ‘Sex-specific unconventional neutrophils determine immunological outcome in autoinflammatory disease’ was selected by Professor Leonie Taams and Professor Ciro Piccirillo on behalf of the BSI. Professor Taams commented, “The abstract submissions to FOCIS 2023 were of high quality. This abstract stood out to us as it identified sex-specific heterogeneity in neutrophil composition under normal and inflammatory conditions at single-cell resolution. Understanding how biological sex influences the immune response is important but is still quite under-researched in immunology”.

The FOCIS Annual Meeting is always an opportunity to celebrate excellence and we were delighted to see several BSI members were also recognised at FOCIS 2023. Dr Allison Maher (Imperial College London) and Dr Sam Burgess (UCL) were each awarded a FOCIS Research Award, while Dr Carl Coyle (King’s College London) took home a FOCIS Research Award and Poster of Merit award. Our congratulations go to all!

Our long-standing journal of translational immunology, Clinical & Experimental Immunology, was also well represented at the conference. As in previous years, the journal compiled a Virtual Issue of free primary research and review articles to complement the scientific programme of FOCIS 2023, organised according to sessions within the programme such as ‘Cutting Edge of Transplantation’, ‘Tolerance Therapeutics’ and ‘Immunity Across the Ages’, the collection provides an opportunity to delve into further reading on these hot topics. Read the Virtual Issue here.

Just in time for the Annual Meeting, Clinical & Experimental Immunology also published a new Review Series titled ‘Unconventional T cells in health and disease’. The series was born out of the Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI) guest symposium ‘Unconventional T cells in Chronic Disease and as Targets of Therapy’ at the 2022 FOCIS Annual Meeting, and was guest edited by Professor Kelly McNagny of the University of British Columbia, Canada. It features seven free review articles which demonstrate the biology and function of these often-overlooked cells, highlighting scenarios where unconventional T cells prove themselves not to be an evolutionary relic on the path to emergence of antigen-specific conventional T cells, but instead may convey a selective advantage in survival. Read the Review Series here.

Reflecting on the event, Professor Taams remarked, “FOCIS 2023 was yet again a great congress. It’s a wonderful opportunity to hear the latest in translational immunology, see old friends and meet new collaborators. I encourage all BSI members who are interested in translational immunology to look out for next year’s meeting in San Francisco.” The BSI is proud to be a part of the FOCIS community and we look forward to continuing our partnership to promote scientific exchange and international collaboration. FOCIS 2024 will take place on 18–21 June 2024 in San Francisco.