Meeting Update

From March 16th to 18th, several of our students and researchers were in Oslo. We combined an internal seminar for the K.G. Jebsen Centre for Influenza Vaccines (JIV) with the 9th annual GLOBVAC conference arranged by the Research Council of Norway.
At the JIV meeting Rebecca Cox held a presentation on the differences in eliciting immune responses to influenza in mice and men with particular emphasis on the difficulties in obtaining good HI antibody responses to the avian influenza subtypes H5 and H7. This resulted in a good discussion around the need for developing better correlates of protection, in particular for avian influenza viruses. Further, Dag Kvåle from the University of Oslo gave us an insightful presentation on the Ebola epidemic. He presented a good introduction on the disease and containment challenges and also gave us a look into the system around treatment of the Norwegian patient at Oslo University Hospital.
Workshops were arranged on several topics:
1. Influenza specific antibody response detection—more assays more opportunities
2. Dendritic cell-targeted vaccines - hope or hype?
3. T cells after influenza vaccinations and infections
The discussions at the workshops were engaging and as in previous meetings we found that discussions in smaller groups across the different partners is a very effective way of including researchers on all levels in the discussion. In addition it stimulates to forming new bonds between the participants.
It was great to see our colleagues in Oslo and some unexpected bowling talents surfaced during the evening in our very informal bowling tournament.

The Influenza Centre in Bergen was well represented at the GLOBVAC conference. We presented a total of six posters and were very proud to witness that our Postdoc, Fan Zhou, was awarded the best poster prize for her poster “Follicular helper T cell responses in children and adults after vaccination with seasonal 2012-13 live attenuated influenza vaccine”.
The conference program was varied with topics ranging from global health policy and women and children’s health issues to vaccine studies. Some of the keynote speakers were very good one of the first speakers, Angela Morelli, held a very educational and stimulating presentation on communication design, which gave us some good thoughts on how to present our data. First and foremost, however, we will all remember Tarek Meguid’s very powerful presentation of the prevention of maternal mortality. He challenged the audience to care and to stop accepting maternal mortality because, as he said, this is all a question of seeing these women as equal human beings and having the will to make the changes.

After the three days in Oslo we all came back with some new perspectives on our research as well as the global society that we are part of.