Report of 13th FIMSA Advanced Immunology Course


The Molecular Immunology Group, Department of Immunopathology, PGIMER, Chandigarh organized the 13th Advanced Immunology Course from 17th to 19th March 2016 under the leadership of Prof Sunil K Arora. This International event was held under the aegis of Federation of Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania (FIMSA) to facilitate the scientific interactions between younger members of its societies with experienced faculty and promote the discipline of Immunology by providing organizational expertise on various aspects of Immunology. This focus of this year’s course was “Basic and Clinical Immunology”. Looking at the interesting curriculum designed for the course, the Punjab Medical Council awarded "10 credit hours" to the course.

The Course was inaugurated by Professor N K Ganguly, the former Director-General of Indian Council of Medical Research during the Inaugural ceremony presided over by Prof. Yogesh Chawla, The Director of PGIMER, Chandigarh. The organizers felicitated Five very senior Immunology teachers: Professor G P Talwar, Professor Shobha Sehgal, Professor Usha Datta, Professor Shigeo Koyasu and Professor Nirmal Ganguly, as an expression of gratitude for their "immense contributions in the field of Immunology".

The Program included plenary lectures, tutorials and group-discussion sessions. Twenty-two stalwarts in the field of immunology from different parts of Asia-oceanic regions were invited as faculty of this course and were attended by more than 160 delegates from all parts of India and other countries also. Among faculty were Prof G P Talwar (Research Director, Talwar Research Foundation, Founder-Director National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi, who deliberated on the protocols of developing two successful vaccines giving examples of two model vaccines: the Mw-based Leprosy vaccine and the Anti-fertility vaccine, that were developed in his laboratory. Other speakers included Prof. Narinder K Mehra (Former Dean-Research, AIIMS, New Delhi, India); Prof. Shubada Chiplunkar (Director-ACTREC, Mumbai, India); Prof. Shigeo Koyasu (Executive Director, RIKEN Institute for Integrative Biology, Japan); Prof. Yousuke Takahama (University of Tokushima, Japan); Dr. Joshy Jacob (Emory University, USA); Dr Ashley Mansell (Hudson Institute of Medical research, Melbourne, Australia); Prof. Zhigang Tian (University of Science & Technology, Hefei, China); Prof. Nicholas RJ Gascoigne (NUS,Singapore); Dr Laura Mackay (University of Melbourne, Australia); Dr Florent Ginhoux (Singapore Immunology Network, Singapore); Prof. B Ravindran (Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneshwar, India); Prof. Santosh Kar (KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar, India); Prof. Lalit Dar (AIIMS, New Delhi); Prof. D K Mitra (AIIMS, N Delhi India) , Dr Arvind Sahu (NCCS, Pune, India) and Dr. Javed N Agrewala (IMTECH, Chandigarh) to name a few who discussed the topics from innate immune response to adaptive immune response and then clinical immunology.

The program also included "Poster presentations" by 39 young participants on first two days of the course and it generated lot of one-to-one interactions during the "poster walk" sessions. Six abstracts among these were chosen by a scientific committee based on strength of research question and quality of work for "oral presentation" during a special session, "Participant’s Forum" facilitated by Prof. Sunil Arora, Course-Director on first day of the course. The presenting authors of these six abstracts were given trevel bursary by the organizing committee of the FIMSA Course. Besides there were ‘Panel Discussion/Brain storming sessions on each day where the learned panellists stimulated the discussion on all the topics covered during the day. The unique feature of this "course" was the "Meet-the-speaker" session at the dinner venue, which was cherished and appreciated by both the delegates as well as the participating faculty.

During the summing-up session, the awards were given to the presenting authors of oral session as well as three best posters. Prof. Shigeo Koyasu, Executive-Director at RIKEN Centre for Integrative Biology at Wako Saitama, Japan and President of FIMSA, described the course as one of the best among all courses he had attended so far, both from academic point of view as well as social point of view. The course ended with a note of thanks from course director and appreciation from the visiting faculty.