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Welcome from ECI 2018 Congress President

Marieke van Ham
ECI 2018 Congress President

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It is with great pleasure that we welcome you on behalf of the Dutch Society of Immunology (NVVI) to the 5th European Congress of Immunology (ECI) in Amsterdam from September 2-5, 2018.

The 5th ECI will cover all fields of modern immunology, ranging from innate memory and tissue specific regulation of T and B cell differentiation to unsupervised analyses of big data for diagnostics and combinational immunomodulatory biologicals.

The special focus of the 5th ECI will be ‘Building Bridges’. The Dutch take pride in being expert bridge builders, physically to live among opulent environmental water, but also figuratively to connect people and facilitate mutual goals. We aim to show you that this pride is not delusional.

In the meeting we will specifically dedicate sessions to identify new discoveries in fundamental immunology that hold diagnostic and therapeutic promise and to tackle challenges that arise from connecting fundamental and translational science.

We will bring in scientists from interdisciplinary fields, like data management, systems biology and multidimensional systems imaging to form beachheads for novel directions of immunological research and optimised evaluations of clinical trials.

Our program will not only enable networking and communication throughout the European immunology community, but also contain a strong outreach section to bridge immunology and the general public. We strive to show that lifestyle, the immune system and health go hand in hand and that insight in immunology directly connects to societal well-being and resilience.

With the 5th ECI we attempt to build an European village of immunology in Amsterdam. Here basic and clinical researchers can dive into immunology, discuss science and form new collaborations without feeling submerged by the size of the meeting. Our program offers 150+ talks by invited speakers, with exemplary keynote lectures and state-of-the field presentations by top of the bill immunologists. The group of invited speakers contains not only established world-leading scientists in basic and translational immunology, but also front-runners in clinical immunomodulatory therapies and up-and-coming scientists, who are changing current immunological concepts through novel scientific approaches. To give ample exposure to exciting new data from the whole immunological society, more than 400 oral presentations will be selected from submitted abstracts.

We aim to have poster sessions and guided poster walks that will allow strong exposure of all research and stimulate discussions and networking. A number of posters will be selected for specific airing and data discussion via electronic poster boards. Special attention will be devoted to the education of our young scientists and students. To this end a bright sparks session for young scientists will be organized. In addition, the 5th ECI will feature a number of satellite meetings dealing with related topics.

The Netherlands has a large immunological society, with strong historic roots. Already during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), biomedical science was popular. Anatomy lessons were social instructive events and the Surgeons Guild commissioned the 26-year old Rembrandt van Rijn in 1632 for his first major assignment in Amsterdam, the “Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp”. In the same year, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft. His creation of strongly magnifying microscopes boosted scientific understanding of the world of microbes and eukaryotic cells. Over the years, immunology flourished. Geert Reinders (1737-1815) was the first to use vaccination against “Rinderpest” and potentially inspired Edward Jenner, who pioneered the small pox vaccine. One of the first great European immunopathologists, Joghem van Loghem, was born in Amsterdam in 1914. The first blood bank in continental Europe was organized 1940 in The Hague, birth place to one of the founders of Eurotransplant and discoverer of HLA antigens Jon van Rood.

Today, Amsterdam still contains many institutes where research in immunology thrives. Yet, Amsterdam is more and while you are here, you may have a change to discover its many faces. Amsterdam, the city of canals (165) and bridges (1281), enchants with its old canal houses, small streets and vivid markets. Over the centuries Amsterdam has been a place of refuge for many people from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Immigration and integration have always created platforms for new cultural and scientific developments. Having recognised that, tolerance also has a longstanding tradition in Amsterdam. Nowadays, Amsterdam is home to people of 180 nationalities, a true melting pot of nations with cosmopolitan flair. There are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam and cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life.

We will do our best to make the 5th ECI a most memorable scientific event for you. We very much look forward to hosting you in Amsterdam in September 2018!

Marieke van Ham, ECI 2018 Congress President