Public Open Forums

From 21-26 August 2016, over 3500 experts in the field of immunology will descend on Melbourne for the International Congress of Immunology 2016 (ICI 2016).

To celebrate there are two Open Public Forums taking place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Topic:            Immunology and Aging: Lessons Learnt for HIV

Date:   Tuesday 23rd August 2016
Time:   18.00-19.00 (doors open 10 minutes prior)
Location: Plenary Room 1, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
How to book: Click here to register your interest

The development of highly active anti-retroviral therapy is one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements.  Better treatments means people living with HIV are living for much longer and the virus is now considered a manageable chronic condition in many parts of the world. 

However, we know that aging with HIV is not the same as aging without HIV and that the virus makes fundamental changes to the immune system, meaning people living with the virus have an increase in the risk of developing age-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, kidney and liver disease, osteoporosis and cognitive impairment, years before those living without HIV.

With over 35 million people living with HIV globally, public health systems will need to quickly adapt to meet the needs of this population as they age, and more science, especially in the area of immunology, is required to inform this response. 

Further research in this area is expected to not only improve the lives of people with HIV, but also provide advances in the treatment of age-related disease and conditions for all.   Understanding aging with HIV gives a vital insight into an aging immune system at the cellular, organ, system and individual levels. 

Join a panel of world-leading immunologists, clinicians and people living with HIV to discuss aging with HIV.  

Bill 118x160Bill O’Loughlin

Bill O’Loughlin was infected with HIV in 1982. He has worked in the response to HIV since 1985. He works as a consultant on HIV, sexual and reproductive health, harm reduction and development.


Alan 118x160Dr Alan Landay

Alan Landay is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Immunology/Microbiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.  He has been involved in HIV research for over 35 years having performed some of the first immune evaluations of HIV infected haemophiliacs in 1982.  Alan helped establish the HIV research program at Rush, which has grown to encompass both a basic and translational focus on immune studies in HIV and has a strong current focus on aging.  Alan’s current research focus is on immune pathogenesis and immune based therapy of HIV disease. He serves on the Women’s Interagency HIV Studies Aging Committee and on the Office of AIDS Research HIV and Aging Work Group. 

Tony 118x160Professor Tony Kelleher

Tony Kelleher is Professor of Medicine at University of NSW, where he is head of the Immunovirology and Pathogenesis program at the Kirby Institute. He holds appointments at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney as a Clinical Immunologist and Immunopathologist where he helps run the diagnostic services for HIV and immunological conditions. His research interests encompass the immunovirology of HIV infection, particularly understanding the co-evolution of the virus and the T cell immune responses that control it.

Sharon 118x160Professor Sharon Lewin

Sharon Lewin is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist. She is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity – a joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital; a Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne; and consultant infectious diseases physician at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. At the Doherty Institute, Sharon’s research focuses on finding a cure for HIV and the interaction between HIV and hepatitis B virus. Sharon is passionate about community engagement in health and medical research.

Clovis 118x160Dr Clovis Palmer

Clovis Palmer is a graduate of the University of Sydney, Australia (2007), and holds a PhD in biochemistry and molecular genetics. He completed five years of postdoctoral studies in immunology, liver disease and obesity and was to first to show that obesity suppresses immunity in overweight people living with hepatitis C infection.  He formed and currently heads the HIV Immunometabolism Laboratory at the Burnet Institute, where his team discovered that metabolic dysregulation of immune cells is a hallmark of HIV infection, contributing to inflammation and poor immunity.

Suzanne 118x160Professor Suzanne Crowe AM

Suzanne Crowe is an Associate Director (Clinical Research) at Burnet Institute, an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Principal Specialist in Infectious Diseases at the Alfred hospital and Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Monash University, Melbourne.

Within the Centre for Biomedical Research, she is Head of the International Clinical Research Laboratory (iCRL) and Burnet WHO Regional Reference Laboratory for HIV Resistance Testing. Suzanne’s main research interests are the role of monocyte subsets and macrophages in HIV pathogenesis as well as translational research and technology transfer for low cost CD4 and viral load tests to monitor HIV infection in developing countries.


Topic:            Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer: saviour or spin?

Date: Wednesday 24th August
Time: 18.00-19.00 (doors open 10 minutes prior)
Location: Plenary Room 1, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
How to book: Click here to register your interest

Only a few years ago, the idea that cancer could be eliminated by the immune system was received with dubiety. Today, the potential of this treatment –Cancer Immunotherapy– is touted as nothing short of a medical revolution. Accordingly, there has been an explosion of clinical trials announcing successful outcomes with the new “checkpoint” drugs, antibodies that release the brakes on the immune system to kill cancer. Public health agencies, universities, research institutes, philanthropists and pharmaceutical companies are forming alliances of unprecedented scope to turn basic scientific discoveries into novel immunotherapies. Yet, despite the reporting of the treatment of a few high profile patients like ex-US President Jimmy Carter, entrepreneur Ron Walker and AFL star Jarryd Roughead, the high costs of these drugs put them beyond the reach of most of the population, posing new challenges on public health systems.

What lies ahead for immunotherapy? Will it become mainstream in the clinic? Will it contribute to make cancer a disease of the past, as vaccination is doing for many infectious diseases? Or will it become another false dawn in our long “war on cancer”?

The 16th International Congress of Immunology, under the auspices of the International Union of Immunological Societies and the Australasian Society for Immunology, invites you to hear the latest on these questions from some of the world leaders in immunology and cancer immunotherapy.

Peter 118x160Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty
Peter Doherty Institute, University of Melbourne

  Prof. Doherty has been prominent in basic biomedical research for over 40 years. He and his Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for identifying the target of T cells (a discovery made at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Canberra), thus discerning the nature of cell-mediated immunity and transplantation. Awarded Australian of the Year in 1997, Peter has become a prominent communicator of science and has written five books while continuing his involvement with talented young researchers.

IraProfessor Ira Mellman
Vice President of Research Oncology, Genentech, USA

Prof.  Mellman joined Genentech in 2007 after 20 years at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he was chair of the Department of Cell Biology, member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, director of the Yale Cancer Center, and Sterling Professor of Cell Biology & Immunobiology. A member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Ira has characterised fundamental processes within cells and applied these insights to understanding the immune response. He has developed the cancer immunotherapy portfolio at Genentech, a world leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical company.

Bruce 118x160Professor Bruce Robinson
University of Western Australia

Bruce is a lung physician and scientist. His research program focusses on cancer immunology, including asbestos-related cancers. He is Director of a National Centre of Research Excellence, has written definitive invited reviews in major journals and has won many prestigious scientific awards, including the international Wagner Medal, and AMA, TSANZ, RACP and Saint awards. His team have undertaken over 15 novel clinical immunotherapy trials. He has also written six parenting books and provides volunteer medial services in Asia.

In 2013 he was named Western Australian of the Year.