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June 16-18, 2006
RCAI-JSI International Symposium on Immunology 2006

An international symposium on immunology hosted by RIKEN Center for Allergy and Immunology (RCAI) in conjunction with the Japanese Society for Immunology (JSI) was held June 16-18 in Yokohama. This international symposium was started last year with the goal of providing young Japanese scientists and students with the opportunity to communicate with leading researchers and to learn about the most advanced topics in immunology. This year's conference, organized by Dr. Masaru Taniguchi, the director of RCAI, and Dr. Toshio Hirano, the JSI president and deputy director of RCAI, was a great success with more than 500 people in attendance. Thirty invited specialists, including 17 from the US and Europe, gave outstanding presentations. In addition, a poster session was introduced this year so that young scientists and students could have a chance to make their own presentations and discuss their data with world renowned researchers.

The organizing committee selected the theme of "Regulation of Immune Responses in Allergy and Inflammation" for its second symposium, which reflects the recent direction of immunologic research. Having dissected the individual constituents of the immune system, contemporary research aims to understand how the overall immune system is regulated. In keeping with this theme, important immunoregulatory components such as dendritic cells, regulatory cells, Th1/Th2 balance, signaling molecules and chemical mediators in allergy and inflammation, biological aspect of allergy and inflammation were the focus of the symposium. Speakers, including the prominent biochemists, Dr. Shu Narumiya and Dr. Nobuyoshi Shimizu, gave thought-provoking talks that included recent unpublished results, and many insightful questions were raised from the floor. Fifty posters were presented, and the participants had informal discussions and a very useful exchange of information during the poster session.

Nearly all of the seats in the Yokohama Hamagin Hall were occupied throughout the sessions, and the participants were able to bring back the most advanced beneficial information to their home laboratories. Research on regulation of immune responses has become a growing interdisciplinary field, and we expect more advances will be forthcoming at the third symposium next year.

Figure: (left) Discussion during the poster session (from left) Drs. Toshio Hirano, Kenji Nakanishi and Stephen J. Galli (right) RCAI-JSI International Joint Symposium 2006 poster.