Following our strategy to work with international partners to promote excellence in immunology research, the BSI has been developing links with the Chinese Society for Immunology (CSI), examining areas we can collaborate on to reach common goals. Here, BSI Policy and Public Affairs Manager Shannon Lacombe reports on our recent trip to China to meet with representatives from the Chinese Society for Immunology in the 2nd joint CSI-BSI symposium.
At the beginning of June, I had the enormous pleasure of accompanying a delegation of 13 UK immunologists (BSI members) to Chongqing, China for the 2nd Joint CSI-BSI Symposium on Immunology.
This year’s symposium built on the relationships already established in the first joint symposium (held in 2017) and the longstanding links that have been built through Oxford University’s Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Group.
Last year, when the delegates met in Shanghai, it was a unique opportunity, and a first for the BSI, for our members to gain a strong insight into Chinese immunology and to identify possible areas for collaboration. Feedback from those involved was extremely positive and the benefit such an international partnership could have on UK immunology, at a time where internationalism is at the heart of research success, was very clear.
The meeting ended last year with the two societies signing a joint letter of intent for continued collaboration and commitment to build on the newly formed relationship. One of the upshots of this letter was the CSI’s commitment to support the BSI Congress 2017, where Professor Xuetao Cao, world leader in anti-tumour immunity, delivered a plenary talk highlighting some of the leading immunology being carried out by our Chinese counterparts.
This year, the meeting moved west to the impressive metropolis, Chongqing, where Peter Openshaw as BSI President was joined by Arne Akbar (BSI President Elect), Chris Buckley, Tao Dong, Deborah Dunn-Walters, Gary Entrican, Helen Lachmann, Claudia Mauri, Graham Ogg, Jan Rehwinkel, Gavin Screaton, Leonie Taams, Xiaoning Xu and Rose Zamoyska.
Following a similar format to last year, the two-day meeting saw experts from both countries present their latest research before closing with formal and fruitful discussions about future collaborations between the two countries.
While showcasing research was the heart of the meeting, the real value of the symposium was demonstrated in the future collaboration discussions where ideas were solidified into commitments. It was extremely important for us to ensure we left Chongqing with concrete actions that would ensure benefit to the wider BSI membership.
These formal discussions about how the two societies can drive forward the relationship to benefit their respective national immunology programmes resulted in a plan and timeline for how the countries will support the exchange of early career researchers, beginning this year with a plan to enable BSI early career researchers attending the CSI’s Annual Congress, as well as, commitment from the BSI to be more actively involved in Beijing’s organisation of the 2019 International Congress of Immunology. In addition, we look forward to sharing our other exciting plans over the coming months.
While these annual meetings have been incredibly productive for those present, it is important for the momentum and motivation to endure on an ongoing basis. We are looking forward to hosting our CSI colleagues in the UK next year and in the meantime, we are very excited about continuing this partnership and are working to ensure our wider membership reaps its benefits.
List of Chinese delegates*
Xuetao Cao, Nankai University
Zhigang Tian, University of Science and Technology of China
Yuzhang Wu, Third Military Medical University
Bing Su, Shanghai Institute of Immunology
Yiwei Chu, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University
Bing Sun, Shanghai Institute of Immunology
Lilin Ye, Third Military Medical University
Hong Tang, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai
Taoyong Chen, Second Military University
Liwei Lu, University of Hong Kong
Bo Huang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
Yuting Ma, Suzhou Institute of Systems Medicine
Chengjiang Gao, Shandong University
Juan Liu, Second Military Medical University
* In due course, the BSI will publish more information about areas of specialty of the above delegates and areas for potential collaboration.
Policy and Public Affairs Manager, British Society for Immunology