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AAI Introductory Immunology Course (June 25 - July 1, 2010)

University of Pensylvania School of Medicine
Course Directors: Terri M. Laufer and Christopher A. Hunter


Mariam Mumtaz Ghulam Murtadha MSc Student,
College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

Thesis: “Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Associations in Two Subsets of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Regulatory T cells in Different Treatment Modalities”.
"I was interested in the AAI introductory course because I believed it would enhance/ refresh my understanding of the immune system, specifically autoimmunity and regulatory mechanisms. Upon attending the course, I was surprised by the depth of knowledge I acquired about the immune system and its clinical relevance. Throughout the course, I realized there have been many updates in the basis of the immune system. I became very much interested in transplant immunology and immunodeficiencies as important clinical problems. The lecture by Dr. Jordan Orange was very inspiring; he presented clinical cases along with research data that showed how immunodeficiencies arise by defects in B cells, T cells, or via other mechanisms.
aai2010The course also contributed to my personal development. Through meeting different course participants, I gained a better understanding of what career I would like to pursue in immunology. The course participants were graduate students, pharmaceutical and industrial researchers, quality control engineers, and physicians. After each lecture, there was a 20 minute break which allowed us to meet professors in person. The faculty members were very cooperative and answered questions with great enthusiasm. The course location was also an added benefit, as the University of Pennsylvania is amongst the Ivy League Universities in the United States. Through touring the campus, I got an excellent overview of current research facilities and the type of research labs I would like to be involved in, if I get a chance to pursue doctoral studies.
The grants by IUIS and AAI also facilitated my attendance at the FOCIS two-day course in Boston, which involved an update in basic and interventional immunology. I was particularly interested in immunotherapies because my MSc thesis is based on how T regulatory cell levels change in RA patients with different immunotherapies. I truly recommend the course to those interested in immunology and I would like to thank IUIS and AAI for offering me this great and rare opportunity in life."

Fatou Noho Konteh, PhD candidate in Cellular Immunology, The Open University UK and MRC, Banjul, The Gambia

Thesis: “Do DTwP and measles vaccine interact: effects on T cell memory and immune polarization”
"The AAI Immunology course 2010 was very good. The organizers really did a great job! I enjoyed the talks in part I as all were focused on the basics of immunology and in very simple terms. The Faculty members explained the topics in such a way that even someone with very basic knowledge of immunology will understand what it was all about. I know I did. To me the highlight of the course was the talk given by Dr E. John Wherry on the Immunologic Memory to Intracellular Pathogens. After his talk, I had gained a better grasp of certain issues that I was confused about that were relevant to my research.
My PhD is on Vaccine interactions, looking at T cell memory and immune polarisation after vaccination with Measles and DTwP (diphtheria, tetanus and wild-type pertussis). I have a background in Molecular biology and therefore needed this course to get a better understanding of immunology. I have gained a lot from attending this course and now have a more in-depth knowledge of the topic."