1st Immunology & Inflammation Conference - Poster

The immune system in focus

The first Immunology & Inflammation Conference has been taking place at the MDC since yesterday, February 24, 2019. Over 300 scientists are participating, including the world’s elite immunology researchers. Over three days, they will present and discuss the latest findings from this emerging field of research.

Four major thematic blocks are taking center stage at the I & I Conference, which has been organized for the first time by Professors Michela Di Virgilio and Klaus Rajewsky of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin. Following a keynote lecture by Professor Dan Littman of the New York University School of Medicine on Th17 immune cells, the rest of the talks on Sunday afternoon will focus on issues related to hematopoietic cell development.

Renowned researchers, such as Dr. David Kent of the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute in the UK, Professor Hans-Reimer Rodewald of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, and Professor Sten Linnarsson of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, will be presenting new techniques that make it possible to study hematopoietic cells more effectively, even in living organisms.

Strategies against pathogenic invaders

There will be two thematic blocks on Monday. In the morning, Di Virgilio, head of the MDC research group on DNA Repair and Maintenance of Genome Stability, is chairing a session concentrating on antibodies. “It will mainly look at the numerous mechanisms that help cells of the immune system recognize different pathogens and thereupon produce specific antibodies,” the scientist explains.

Here the main lectures will be held by three U.S. immunologists Professor Frederick Alt of Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor David Schatz of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven and Professor Gabriel Victora of New York’s Rockefeller University and by Professor Michael Reth of the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg.

Astray in the brain

The session on Monday afternoon will deal with the interactions between the immune and nervous systems. “We will primarily focus on the major role that the immune system plays in the development of neuroinflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s,” says Rajewsky, head of the MDC research group on Immune Regulation and Cancer.

Scheduled to give talks are five of the world’s leading scientists in this field: Professor Oleg Butovsky of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Professor Joseph El-Khoury of Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, Professor Bente Finsen of the University of Southern Denmark, Professor Marco Prinz of the University Medical Center Freiburg, and Professor Carla Shatz of California’s Stanford University. 

The new pillars of cancer therapy

The final session of the conference on Tuesday morning will discuss the latest developments in immunotherapies. “Cancer treatment in particular is an area in which medical research has recently made rapid advances,” says Rajewsky.

The main speakers at the session will be Professor K. Christopher Garcia of Stanford University School of Medicine, Professor Carl June of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Professor Cliona Rooney of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Professor Thomas Blankenstein.

“In each thematic block the world’s elite researchers in these fields will be giving a talk,” says Di Virgilio. “We’re looking forward to each and every one of them and hope very much that this will bring about a lively exchange of ideas.”

Further information

Immunology & Inflammation website

Press contacts

Marta Gonzáles Gómez
Coordination of Immunology & Inflammation
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)

+49 30 9406-4268

Professor Michela Di Virgilio
Co-head of Immunology & Inflammation
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)


Professor Klaus Rajewsky
Co-head of Immunology & Inflammation
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)