Our ambassador of the month is Bryan Gascon. Bryan become an Immunopaedia ambassador last year while he was a visiting students at the University of Cape Town. He has contributed to the online platform by developing MCQs for various immunology topics, assisted with content for ImmunoKenya as well as written numerous news articles.
Name: Bryan Gascon
Position: Staff Research Analyst at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center, and incoming Master of Science (MSc) candidate in the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto
Research Institute: Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network.
Research interests: Psychoneuroimmunology, health services, clinical epidemiology, infectious diseases/tropical diseases, cancer
Ikumi, NM., Bangani, N., Barboure, M., Alinde, B., Gascon, B., et al.., . The Impact of HIV Exposure on Placenta Pathology and Regulatory T Cells. Poster presentation: 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI); March 4-7, 2019; Seattle, Washington, USA. Abstract 322.
Kariyawasam, R., Gascon, B., et al., 2018. Spectrum of Bacterial Pathogens in Inflammatory and Non-Inflammatory Ulcers of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 73, p.306.
Why I love immunology: The ‘curiosity mind-set’ required to advance in the field of immunology has really captured my interests and forms one of the reasons why I find this field fascinating. Understanding the emerging complex intersections immunology has with human evolution and more recently, mental illness, is challenging, but at least it’s never boring!
Tips for young people who want to enter the field of immunology: As a young, budding scientist myself, my tip for ‘young’ people who want to enter ANY field within the realm of research/medicine is to seek mentorship from those more senior than you. There really is no substitute for good mentorship. Cultivate your curiosity in particular areas of research/medicine that you genuinely find most interesting, and reach out to the principal investigators (PIs) who are leading projects in these areas. Once you begin working with said PIs, practice being independent, but still seek feedback early and often with regards to your specific project and make sure to solicit general career-wisdom. Most PIs have academic appointments at reputable universities, which means being a teacher within their arena of expertise is a hard requirement, so don’t be afraid to seem ‘annoying’. Anyone who labels you as such is unlikely to be someone who has your best interests in mind and therefore, not someone you want to be working with anyways.
What being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means to me: Being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means that I’m able to collaborate with a community of scholars to disseminate immunology knowledge at a global-level.
How I have contributed to Immunopaedia so far: With my undergraduate background in immunology at the University of Toronto, I have developed and published ~40 multiple choice questions across numerous advanced immunology topics (complete them for CDP points!). In addition, I also developed pre-course content (HIV and cancers) for the ImmunoKenya course offered in September 2018, and will be contributing content related to psychoneuroimmunology in the form of paper and clinical cases in the near future.
How can you get in touch with me ? LinkedIn and Twitter
Our ambassador of the month is Kathrin Held, she is a Research Scientist at the University Hospital, LMU(University of Munich), Germany. Kathrin has made a major contributed to Immunopaedia, by promoting Immunopaedia and writing multiple news articles.
Name: Kathrin Held
Research Institute: Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine; University Hospital, LMU Munich
Research interests: Immunology of infectious and autoimmune diseases.
Ahmed et al., 2018. Phenotypic Changes on Mycobacterium Tuberculosis-Specific CD4 T Cells as Surrogate Markers for Tuberculosis Treatment Efficacy. Frontiers in Immunology. Read her summary.
Nadai, Held et al., 2019. Envelope-Specific Recognition Patterns of HIV Vaccine-Induced IgG Antibodies Are Linked to Immunogen Structure and Sequence. Frontiers in Immunology. Read her summary.
Gerdes, Held et al., 2016. CTLA4 as Immunological Checkpoint in the Development of Multiple Sclerosis. Annals of Neurology.
Why I love immunology: The immune system has such complexity as it pervades all areas of biology, from its more known function in defence against infections, to its “dark” side in autoimmunity and even to a role in shaping the nervous system.
If I wasn’t an immunologist I would be: On days where experiments don’t work and deadlines are looming, I dream of a quiet life in beekeeping. But seriously, I probably would be a pathologist. How cells interact to form functional tissue is quite fascinating.
Tips for young people who want to enter the field of immunology: Stay curious, do not give up if experiments and studies do not work out the way you had planned, and importantly don’t forget to have fun, both in science as well as outside of it.
What being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means to me: A big part of life in science is communication, education, and connections to other scientists – all of which is part of the Immunopaedia spirit. It is great to be part of this.
How I have contributed to Immunopaedia so far: I have written breaking news articles for the Immunopaedia on different aspects of immunology from interactions that occur during HIV replication, to studying HIV-sp antibodies induced by vaccination and markers of TB treatment efficacy
Our ambassador of the month is Dana Manuela Savulescu, she is a Medical Scientist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa. Thank you Dana for contributing to Immunopaedia.
Name: Dana Manuela Savulescu
Position: Medical Scientist
Research Institute: Centre for Vaccines and Immunology (CVI), National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa
Research interests: Immunology of pregnancy, development of the immune system in infants, the relationship between the endocrine and immune systems, HLA antibodies, immune tolerance.
Why I love immunology: Immunology fascinates me because the immune system has a major role in our overall function, controlling and taking part in so many aspects of the human body! I started my journey as an immunologist after having completed a PhD in molecular and cellular endocrinology of the reproductive axis. I’m very interested in the relationship between the immune and the endocrine systems, especially in the context of human reproduction.
I’m also fascinated by the evolutionary and philosophical aspects of immunology – why and how did the immune system evolve the way it did, with both innate and adaptive functions, and with its multiple cell types and immune reactions? Also – what is its core role – is it to protect us from infections or rather to prevent us from attacking our “self”; is it to enable us to fight invaders or to make us tolerant, and (philosophically speaking) what is the actual difference between the two?
If I wasn’t an immunologist I would be: An endocrinologist specializing in human reproduction and/or a science journalist.
Tips for young people who want to enter the field of immunology: First thing is – welcome to this fascinating field! Always remember not to take the textbooks as the absolute truth – our knowledge of immunology is constantly evolving.
Also – and I find this so important – remember that we, researchers, are the ones who categorize immune cells into different types (M1/M2 macrophages, regulatory T cells, etc’), but what happens in vivo is probably much more complex than that – cells might be able to transition from one “type” to another and secrete different types of molecules, depending on the context, etc’. In other words, cells don’t know that they are Tregs/M2s, etc’ 😉
And lastly, don’t forget to always keep the big picture in mind, i.e. always ask yourselves what your research questions and findings would mean from an evolution and development of the immune system point of view.
What being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means to me: It’s a great platform for sharing my love for immunology and promoting the field, as well as finding out about the work of other immunologists across the world.
How I have contributed to Immunopaedia so far: I have composed MCQs for the Autoimmune and Tolerance special focus; I have interviewed Dr Nashied Peton ; I have re-posted several Immunopaedia articles on the South African Immunology Society (SAIS) and Federation of African Immunological Societies (FAIS) LinkedIn pages, which I manage; I have promoted Immunopaedia in my institute, having uploaded the link to its website on CVI’s website.
How can you get in touch with me ? LinkedIn: Dana Savulescu
Our ambassador of the month is Amy Mónaco, she is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree at the Instituto de Higiene (Facultad de Medicina – Universidad de la República). Thank you Amy for contributing to Immunopaedia.
Name: Amy Mónaco
Position: PhD candidate and research associate
Research Institute: Departamento de Desarrollo Biotecnológico at the Instituto de Higiene (Facultad de Medicina – Universidad de la República)
Research interests: Tumor immunology, immunotherapies based on bacteria
Latest Publication: TLR7 agonist in combination with Salmonella as an effective melanoma immunotherapy, doi: 10.2217/imt-2017-0188. There is an article highlight featured on Immunopaedia website on December of last year if you want to know more!
Why I love immunology: Because getting to know everything that goes on inside your body when encountering a pathogen is like magic. And getting to alter it is even better!
If I wasn’t an immunologist I would be: Not sure but probably a chef! Cooking is like following protocols in the lab as well as being creative, and both professions are constantly under pressure!
Tips for young people who want to enter the field of immunology: As Coldplay says in The Scientist song: “Nobody said it was easy”… but is totally worth it! Work hard, love what you do, do not let yourself be defeated. When we fail is when we learn more.
What being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means to me: To be able to share my love for immunology around the world!
How I have contributed to Immunopaedia so far: I have been ambassador for less than a year but I spread the word about Immunopaedia every meeting I go, showcasing a poster or performing short presentations. I have also contributed with an interview, an article highlight and I am currently preparing a congress report.
How can you get in touch with me ? LinkedIn: Amy Mónaco Patiño
Name: Maxwell Chan
Position: Undergraduate Project Student
Research Institute: Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research / University of Toronto
Research interests:Fibrosis, Fibroblast migration, Cardiology, Wound healing
Why I love immunology: Immunology plays a role in countless other biological and medical sciences. As I finish up my undergraduate degree, I’ve come to realise how integral Immunology is. While most people would not associate Cardiology with Immunology, the latter is very relevant to some cardiomyopathies, inflammation, and organ transplant.
If I wasn’t an immunologist I would be:Hopefully a dentist! I’m keen on entering the healthcare field and working with patients.
Tips for young people who want to enter the field of immunology: Talk to your professors! Researchers might seem intimidating, but they’re people too. Networking is an essential part of any field and it will help you land your first research experience.
What being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means to me: Being an Ambassador means sharing my interest in Immunology with others and making it more accessible for people outside of Immunology.
How I have contributed to Immunopaedia so far: I’ve served as a staff writer in the past and helped update some of the pre-courses offered by Immunopaedia. Now, I occasionally contribute articles for the Breaking News section and promote the site at the University of Toronto.
How can you get in touch with me ? by email: Maxwell.email@example.com
Our ambassador of the month is Mahaman Moustapha Lamine from Senegal. He is PhD candidate at the Centre of Medical and Health Research of Niger (CERMES), and also holds a lecturing position at University of Zinder . He has showcased Immunopaedia at his research institute and conducted our March Immunologist of the month interview. Thank Mahaman for contributing to Immunopaedia.
Position: PhD-Student, Lecturee at University of Zinder
Research Institute: Centre of Medical and Health Research of Niger (CERMES)
Research interests: Immuno-genetic of malaria
Why I love immunology: Because it’s amazing (and important) to know how our organism ministry of defence work
If I wasn’t an immunologist I would be:Pigeon Fancier
Tips for young people who want to enter the field of immunology: Immunology is a transversal and an indispensable tool for biomedical research
What being an Immunopaedia Ambassador means to me: Promoting the immunology around the world
How I have contributed to Immunopaedia so far: I promote immunopedia in my research institute and my university. I also conducted the March Immunologist of the month interview.
Online Profile: ResearchGate – Mahaman Moustapha Lamine
January – February 2019
This month we conducted a special video interview of Abdouramane Camara and Vicky Gent. Both ambassadors attended the 8th Infectious Diseases in Africa Symposium in November 2018, where they were selected as rapporteurs and provided summaries on Malaria and TB vaccines sessions.
Current position? PhD student in Immunology
Research Institute? Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMC), Strasbourg-France
Research interests? Immunology, Molecular biology, Infectious diseases
Current position? Graduate Assistant
Research Institute? Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
Research interests? Immunomodulators, Vaccine development, Neuroimmunology
Interview by Cheleka AM Mpande