This is a longstanding CSH conference with a strong focus on vaccine research and development. This year we have designed the meeting to bring together leaders in the field studying the basic biology of the interface between the innate and adaptive immune responses to infections, with an emphasis on understanding the role of tissue microenvironment and the microbiome, and translating such insights into the human model. There have been many advances recently in several basic areas of immunology relevant to these issues, including new insights into: 1) the decision making mechanisms that regulate memory T and B cell differentiation, 2) how pathogens, commensals and vaccines trigger the innate immune system, and how these responses program adaptive immunity, 3) the nature of the signaling cascades and transcriptional networks that program T and B cell responses, 4) the emerging importance of microenvironments and microbiomes in orchestrating the innate-adaptive axis, and 4) the application of high throughput tools, including transcriptomics and proteomics, to understanding immune responses in the human model. The basic science contributions will cover these areas and examples will be given how innovation in these areas can be incorporated into vaccine design. In addition there is an emerging appreciation of the metabolic networks underlying immune responses, and we will have presentations by experts doing cutting edge work in this area as well. Our hope and expectation is that the interaction and exchange of information between the basic scientists and those involved in application will lead to the design of more clinically relevant experiments and will inform vaccine developers of critical new scientific breakthroughs they should consider in their vaccine approaches. Drs. Bruce Beutler and Craig Thompson have accepted our invitation to give a keynote talk. We have organized sessions on: 1) decision making in memory cell differentiation, 2) innate programming of adaptive immunity I, 3) innate programming of adaptive immunity II, 4) organ specific immunity, 5) microbiome-immune interactions, and 6) the journey within: human immunology. We have invited several leaders in the field to present in each session and in addition we will choose two to three short presentations selected from the abstracts to encourage participation of more junior scientists and to give an opportunity for presentation of late-breaking results. The meeting format also ensures time for interactions between scientists, particularly during meals and in poster sessions. The meeting will foster interaction, and provide a forum for the development of new ideas and approaches.
Vaccines are designed to induce the immune system to become primed, so that when an infectious agent is encountered again, the memory T cells circulating antibody produced by primed B cells can prevent infection or quickly clear any invading organisms. Yet, the scientists studying the mechanisms of immunity are found mostly in academia and they do not often interact with those who design and test vaccines who work mostly in the pharmaceutical industry. We hope to bring these two groups together to exchange information, forge collaborations and discuss how to enable and make better vaccines.