Plenary Speakers

International Plenary Speaker

Professor Florent Ginhoux

Florent Ginhoux graduated in Biochemistry from the University Pierre et Marie CURIE (UPMC), Paris VI and obtained a Masters degree in Advanced Studies in Immunology from the Pasteur Institute, Paris. He then started his PhD in the Immunology Team of GENETHON, Evry and obtained his PhD in 2004 from the UPMC, Paris VI.  As a postdoctoral fellow, Florent Ginhoux joined the Laboratory of Miriam Merad in the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM), New York where he studied the ontogeny and the homeostasis of cutaneous dendritic cell populations, with a strong focus on Langerhans cells and Microglia. In 2008, he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, MSSM and member of the Immunology Institute of MSSM. He joined the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), A*STAR in May 2009 as a Principal Investigator. He joined the EMBO Young Investigator (YIP) program in 2013 and is a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher since 2016. He is also an Adjunct Visiting Associate Professor in the Shanghai Immunology Institute, Jiao Tong University, in Shanghai, China since 2015 and in the Translational Immunology Institute, SingHealth and Duke NUS, Singapore since 2018. Both laboratories are focusing on the ontogeny and differentiation of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs).

Dr Dan Littman

Dr. Littman completed the M.D./Ph.D. program at Washington University in St. Louis and was a postdoctoral fellow in Richard Axel’s laboratory at Columbia University. He was Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, before joining NYU, where he is the Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Professor of Molecular Immunology at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  Dr. Littman is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He is the recipient of the New York Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, the AAI-Invitrogen Meritorious Career Award, the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, the William B. Coley Award from the Cancer Research Institute, and the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Littman’s laboratory applies molecular and genetics tools to study mechanisms that promote immune system homeostasis at mucosal surfaces and on characterizing the role of the microbiota in these processes.

Professor Feng Shao

Dr. Feng Shao is an investigator and deputy director at National Institute of Biological Sciences (NIBS), Beijing. He was a chemistry undergraduate of Peking University and obtained his PhD from University of Michigan (2003). Before joining NIBS (2005), he was a Damon Runyon Postdoc Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Shao’s research lies at the interface between bacterial pathogen and host inflammation. He identified most of the known cytosolic receptors for bacterial molecules, including caspase-11/4/5 for LPS and ALPK1 for ADP-heptose in LPS biosynthesis. He also identified gasdermin-D (GSDMD) whose cleavage by caspase-1/4/5/11 determines pyroptosis, critical for septic shock and other inflammatory diseases. His research establishes the gasdermin family of pore-forming proteins, re-defining pyroptosis as gasdermin-mediated programmed necrosis. Among the family, GSDME is activated by caspase-3, which occurs mostly in noncancer cells and contributes to toxicity of chemotherapy drugs. His most recent work demonstrates that pyroptosis is a critical mechanism underlying lymphocyte cytotoxicity and gasdermin activation can stimulate potent antitumor immunity.

Dr. Shao‘s work has been recognized by numerous awards including the Future Science Prize, HHMI International Early Career Award and the Protein Society Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, an associate member of EMBO, and a fellow of American Academy of Microbiology.

Dr John Wherry

Dr. E. John Wherry is the Barbara and Richard Schiffrin President’s Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics in the Perelman School of Medicine and Director of the UPenn Institute for Immunology.  Dr. Wherry received his Ph.D. at Thomas Jefferson University in 2000 then did postdoctoral research at Emory University with Dr. Rafi Ahmed from 2000-2004. Dr. Wherry has received numerous distinctions and honors including the Distinguished Alumni award from the Thomas Jefferson University, the Cancer Research Institute’s Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology and the Stand Up To Cancer Phillip A. Sharp Award.  Dr. Wherry has over 225 publications. He has an H-Index of 101 and his publications have been cited over 55,000 times.

Dr. Wherry’s research has pioneered the field of T cell exhaustion – the fundamental mechanisms by which T cell responses are attenuated during chronic infections and cancer.  His discoveries helped identify the role of PD-1 and the ability to block this pathway to reinvigorate exhausted T cells. His group also first demonstrated that targeting multiple co-inhibitory receptors simultaneously could synergistically improve therapeutic efficacy, a foundation for current combination immunotherapy efforts in humans.  Dr. Wherry’s work has defined the transcriptional and epigenetic atlas of exhausted T cells defining exhausted T cells as a distinct immune lineage.  Finally, his laboratory has been a pioneer in defining the concept of Immune Health using systems immunology approaches, most recently applying this concept to COVID-19.

International Symposia Speakers

Associate Professor Stephanie Eisenbarth

Dr. Stephanie Eisenbarth is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Immunobiology and the Section of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at Yale University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on understanding the immunologic mechanisms of allergic disorders. Recently, her group has embarked on developing new mouse models of food allergy, informed by data from patients, and using these systems to identify fundamental cellular pathways resulting in allergic responses to dietary antigens. Clinically, Dr. Eisenbarth practices laboratory medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital with a focus on immune-mediated disorders including autoimmunity, immunodeficiency syndromes and allergic disease.

Professor Daniel Kaplan

Professor Daniel KaplanThe skin is a barrier organ that is exposed to a wide variety of potential pathogens including bacteria, fungi and viruses.  Within the skin there are numerous components of both the innate and adaptive immune system.  The research focus of my lab is to understand how these skin resident immune cells (e.g. dendritic cells, T cells, mast cells) interact with specific pathogens and other non-immune cells in the skin (e.g. keratinocytes and neurons) to contribute to the development of both innate and adaptive immune responses that provide host protection.  My presentation will focus on how sensory nerves in the skin are able to trigger immune responses leading to host defense as well as maintain cutaneous immune homeostasis thus establishing cutaneous neurons as a critical cell type modulating cutaneous immune function.


Dr Michelle Linterman

Michelle Linterman is Group Leader at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge. Her laboratory aims to understand the cellular and molecular basis of the germinal centre response, which generates robust humoral immunity after vaccination and infection. The Linterman lab is funded by the Bioscience and Biotechnology Research Council and the Dunhill Medical Trust. Michelle is currently an EMBO Young Investigator, a Lister Institute Prize Fellow and a Fellow of Churchill College.

Michelle received her PhD in Immunology from the Australian National University in Canberra, where she investigated the contribution of the germinal centre response to humoral autoimmunity with Prof. Carola Vinuesa. Following her PhD, Michelle undertook post-doctoral research with Prof. Ken Smith at the University of Cambridge, where she continued to work on the formation, function and suppression of the germinal centre response. 

Local Plenary Speaker

Professor Sharon Lewin 

Sharon Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital; Professor of Infectious Diseases, The University of Melbourne; consultant infectious diseases physician, Alfred Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital and is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow, Melbourne, Australia. The Doherty Institute is home to over 700 staff all working in infectious diseases and immunology and focuses on research, education and public health.

 She is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist. Her research focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection. She has also had a long standing interest in the natural history and management of HIV-hepatitis B co-infection.