Report from EAACI Winter School in Poiana Brasov 2014

EAACI Winter School on Basic Research in Allergy and Clinical Immunology report
30 January - 2 February 2014,
Poiana Brasov, Romania

The 12th EAACI Winter School on Basic Research in Allergy and Clinical Immunology, organised by the EAACI Immunology section, was held for the first time in eastern Europe in Poiana Brasov, Romania from the 30 January - 2 February 2014. As part of our ongoing efforts to constantly improve and innovate the activities of the Winter School, this year was the first time that we engaged with local clinicians working in the allergy and asthma field. Following our arrival in snow-covered Bucharest, Dr. Roxana Bumbacea, Dr.Dragos Bumbacea and Prof Giurcaneanu at the Respiratory, Dermatology and Allergy clinics at Elias University Hospital, Bucharest, gave us a tour of their facilities and discussed the potential for future collaborations. She highlighted the great potential of the ELIAS hospital and great willingness to collaborate in scientific studies particularly on the clinical side in allergic skin and airway diseases.

We then travelled by bus through Transylvania, up into the wild and beautiful Carpathian mountains, reaching Poiana Brasov in the late afternoon, Once we had all gathered at the conference hotel, Alina Dumitru Allergy and Clinical Immunology Department, Imperial College gave the opening lecture, during which she described how her early participation at EAACI Allergy Schools and meetings had helped her to find new collaborators and develop her research interests and activities, useful advice for those young investigators attending their first Winter School. Thus for the first time the Winter School also illustrated to participants the situation of allergy research in one of our European countries and therefore supporting the European spirit of our Academy.

We continued to be stimulated by an exciting and varied scientific program, which included six guest speakers, 20 short talks and 43 poster presentations. Scientific highlights included discussions on the novel mechanisms underpinning the development of food allergies and food hypersensitivity, the essential interactions between B cells and the innate immune system, macrophage polarization during inflammatory responses, TH2 lymphocyte regulation and the influence of parasites on allergic immune responses. An amazingly interactive and intense poster session challenged all participants later in the day.

The social program included a tour of Dracula’s castle, a guided walking tour of Brasov city and late night dancing lessons.

Overall, we received positive feedback from all attendees, who were not only exposed to the latest immunological discoveries (including the importance of mucus), but also initiated new collaborations and made new friends. Many thanks to the EAACI Headquarters team (Viviane, Jeanette and Petra) and EAACI Vice President of Communications and Membership Ioana Agache for their essential contributions to the success of the meeting. The Immunology Section board is already working on the program for the 2015 school, stay tuned for further details.

Liam O’Mahony
EAACI Immunology Section Secretary

Carsten Schmidt-Weber
EAACI Immunology Section Chairperson