What will the field of immunology look like in five, ten or twenty years? How are the efforts we are making today going to help us use the immune system to create cures, more quickly?
It is certain that immunology is integrating with other areas of tissue biology, just as the immune system itself is integral to the function of most of our tissues. To that end, a future of high-dimensional high data-content analyses seems assured. In addition, comparing and profiting from studies of the functions of the immune system across tissue types will prove a fruitful avenue to supercharge discovery. To all of these ends, increased cooperatively amongst immunologists--between ourselves and with other disciplines--seems ever more important. Further, a discussion and organized effort to influence the scientific infrastructure and strengthen our community is needed to support the training of the next generation of scientists, improve funding, publishing, and success.
On June 23-25, 2019, ImmunoX co-sponsored with Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, a first meeting of mid-career Immunologists from across the US. The goals were to brainstorm this future and figure out ways to supercharge it. The site was Skamania, Washington (thus"ImmunoSkamania") and organizers were Ananda Goldrath (UCSD), Marion Pepper (UW), Mark Ansel (UCSF), and Max Krummel (UCSF). The meeting was small and intimate and included families and hounds. Five major sessions focused on 1. The coming wave of Immunology-centric Science and 2. The policy needs to make this happen, for the best science. From this, major white papers about peer-review and funding are underway. It was also recognized that our community may benefit from a sharing of key articles and facts, to help one another with 'best ideas' about how to prosecute our studies in the future.
On June 28 and 29, 2020, amid COVID-19, the group met again, this time virtually. Topics that were heavily discussed included immigration and diversity, equity and inclusion. We wanted to reflect and improve on how we can advocate for our post-doctoral scholar immigrants who have no voice to ensure that they are represented and are protected. We discussed ways to advocate for legislation to permanently protect immigrant scientists so that their visa status wouldn't affect the hard work they've dedicated to work here in this country. As a group, we also acknowledged the work that we must put in for DEI to become central in driving research for years to come.
On June 27-29, 2021, we returned to Skamania Lodge, a visit made possible by a nadir in COVID-19 case rates and a strong vaccine policy. In retrospect, the timing was very fortunate, and the meeting was a singular opportunity to connect and discuss the challenges of the pandemic as well as continuing challenges and opportunities for our community. The dialogue was enlivened by new participants and co-organizers (including Alex Hoffmann (UCLA) and Susan Kaech (Salk)) and enriched by presentations from distinguished guest experts Brooke Runnette and Liz Neeley. Major sessions addressed effective scientific communication in a time of extraordinary public engagement, the coming wave of human immunity, the importance of theory, and lessons learned in our continued commitment to promote equity and inclusion in our scientific community and institutions.
This site provides resources, offered by attendees, to help one another to best discover and navigate. It is meant for anyone who is or wants to prosecute studies of immunology. Details are as basic as lab-management (information we wish that others had shared with us, for example) to specifics of publishing. Ideas are just that. We intend to update this as future meetings (this one or ones like it) take place. If you'd like to contribute and share ideas, please send to ImmunoX@ucsf.edu.