Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA, USA
Course Director: Dr Leslie J. Berg, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Dr Hannah Ohunene Ajoge, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science,
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
“I applied for the Advanced Immunology course while applying for postdoctoral positions in laboratories (including immunology based laboratories). My PhD research involved aspects of epidemiology, virology, immunology and bioinformatics, thus I needed more grounding in immunology if am to fit in a pure immunology lab. Though I now have a postdoc appointment in a bioinformatics lab which deals basically with aspects of HIV virology, the knowledge I have acquired will be useful in the future in planning research activities; my career/research aim has always been to be involved in meaningful scientific research with a focus on computational, molecular and immunological analysis of infectious diseases (especially HIV), relevant to my country and other developing countries.
At the advanced course, some of the lectures were a reminder and revision of my basic immunology knowledge. Others were less familiar and helped me get a grasp of several aspects I had been naive about as well as laboratory applications of some of the lectures. Notably, I was specifically exposed in depth to the role of NK Cells (by Yokoyama WM) and dendritic cells (by Turley SJ) as well as the latest insight into asthma (by Elias JA). Hitherto, my knowledge of cytokines was much limited, but at the end of the course I became more familiar with the nomenclature and their interwoven roles in the different pathways.
The course was excellent, but if asked for possible improvements, I would suggest that the first three days summarize the whole course with less repetition of the same aspects, and then the remaining three days should be divided into concurrent mini-blocks of lectures of thorough specialization in different aspects. So that a student from a B-cell lab (who properly needs more grasp of B cell biology) can concentrate more on recent findings in B cell biology OR an expert in B cell biology who wants to do some dendritic cell work (and will not really develop much on his previous knowledge in B cell biology) can attend dendritic classes where he is taught extensively. In conclusion I will recommend this course to graduate students, postdocs and early-career investigators who need to strengthen their knowledge in immunology, or those changing field to immunology or changing from one aspect to another.“
Dr GayaneManukyan, Lecturer, Group of Molecular and Cellular Immunology,
Institute of Molecular Biology, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia
“I had such a worthwhile time and experience at the 2012 Advanced Immunology Course. It was a great opportunity for me to have been selected for a travel award. I would like to say thanks to the AAI and IUIS, who gave me the funding. I valued the opportunity to study in such a rich and diverse environment. It was a huge benefit academicallyto be able to exchange ideas with PhD students and scientists from different fields of science. It was also a tremendous learning experience to interact with people from such a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
Learning about the latest trends in fundamental and molecular immunology was very enlightening and inspiring, especially that the lectures came from the prominent people in the field. Of great interest to me were the lectures about NK cells, dendritic cells, MHC-restricted antigen presentation to T cells, and vaccines. Many questions arose and lecturers answered all of them. Moreover, I had the chance to discuss several topics with lecturers concerning my scientific interests, and received very helpful comments. The most important benefit for me was the understanding that I should revise my own lectures and improve them in light of the new information.
In general, the Advanced Immunology Course has given me more than I thought I would get and within a short period of time. My views have broadened and I am better equipped in the field of molecular immunology. With this I hope to make my contributions to my country Armenia and to the world at large.”
Tamrat Abebe Zeleke,
Lecturer and PhD student, Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology, Addis Ababa University College of Health Sciences School of Medicine, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to IUIS for offering me a travel grant and to AAI for course registration and accommodation for attendance at this very gratifying and breathtaking Advanced Immunology Course of 2012 held at the Boston World Trade Centre.
The welcome and overview given by Dr. Leslie J. Berg were very useful in answering important questions like:Who are theattendees, speakers,organizers? How to interact with the speakers?What the missions of AAI & IUIS are?
The major goal of the course was to expand or update the understanding of the field of immunology of the attendees. Since the course content was consistent with this goal, I was able to expand my knowledge, update my understanding of immunology and even clarify ambiguities. I am working on infectious disease immunology and I was disappointed by the fact that the speaker on Immune Response to Pathogens was not able to attend. However, the other lectures enabled me to see how much the questions I am asking in my research are relevant to the field of immunology.
Since most of the speakers were leading experts in the field, their knowledge about the subject matter was unquestionable, the speakers’ ability to communicate the subject was also absolute and their presentations have positively impacted on my understanding of material. Even though the size of the class was very large, the speakers took enough time to explain the questions arising during and after the lectures. This created a very good forum to learn from one another. I appreciated the enthusiasm of the speakers to share their knowledge and experience. Furthermore, even if the speakers’ ability to relate concepts was overall excellent, the speaker on B cell development was exceptional. However, there were two speakers (indicated that in the evaluation form) who despite being highly knowledgeable, had a poor delivery style.
The amount of material covered and the pace were appropriate. However, less emphasis was given to the development of skills. Otherwise the course content was arranged in a clear, logical and orderly manner, did cover most of the topics expected, did explain the concept and information very well, was of appropriate level of difficulty, and has made me feel more confident in the subject.
Finally, I would like to say thank you, for giving me this superb chance to attend this very prestigious course. Another important message I have is this kind of opportunity should also be given to my fellow young African trainees and scientists who have interest to expand or update their understanding of the field and I strongly recommend my colleagues to attend these well-organized courses.”
Dr Wayne Yokoyama, Dr Michele Hogan, Dr Tamrat Abebe Zeleke, Dr Gayane Manukyan, Dr Hannah Ajoge, Dr Mark Jenkins