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Published: 26 August 2014

5th Australasian Vaccine and Immunotherapeutics Development Meeting, 7–9 May 2014

The AVID meeting is held every 2 years bringing together immunologists, virologists, microbiologists and vaccinologists both nationally and internationally. The AVID committee acknowledge the support of the ASM as a major partner to this meeting, together with generous support from CSL, QIMR, Burnet Institute, Australasian Society for Immunology, EMBO, Immunology Group of Victoria (IgV) and trade partners Miltenyl Biotec, Millennium Science and PALL Life Sciences. The IgV coordinated their Master Class with the AVID conference allowing them to uniquely expose students to a stellar line-up of researchers spanning multiple lines of microbial pathogen investigation. These included Prof. Federica Sallusto, Dr James Murphy, Prof. Elizabeth Hartland, A/Prof. Phillip Darcy, A/Prof. Kristen Radford, Prof. Rick Pearson, Dr Irina Caminschi and Dr Marco Herold.

The AVID conference saw a packed programme composed of 14 sessions with a clear focus on understanding how the body deals with viral, bacterial and parasitic infections and how best to generate effective vaccines for these that might be cheap and effective for developing countries.

Plenary and Keynote speakers for the conference included Prof. Antonio Lanzavecchia, Prof. James McCluskey, Prof. Adrian Hill, Prof. Julie McElrath, Prof. Federica Sallusto and Dr Brian Rudd. Session 2: Novel Vaccine Vectors and Delivery where Mark Kendall led the discussions on how nanopatches allow delivery of vaccines in a needle-free manner. The barrier provided by the skin and the importance of the microbes in the skin was a central theme of the session. Dr Manisha Pandey discussed the mechanisms involved effective action of a synthetic peptide vaccine in protection of the skin against Streptococcus pyogenes. Other speakers including Eugene Maraskovsky, Gavin Painter and Daniel Getts highlighted the importance of different adjuvants as carriers of antigens to fight viral and bacterial diseases. Fasseli Coulibaly introduced the concept of the microcube for the generation of HIV antigen. A full programme of all speakers in the sessions is attached.

There were 170 registrants at the 2014 conference, which was a 17% increase in attendees from the 2012 meeting held in Brisbane. The majority of the registrants predictably came from Victoria (66%) with 17% attending from Queensland and pleasingly over 7% of international delegates attended. A small representation attended from the other Australian states.

The committee is also pleased to report that student involvement at the conference was significant with over 20% of attendees being students. The committee is continually trying to foster the development of upcoming students with awarding of poster presentation prizes and oral positions in the programme.

In closing, the sponsors were wholeheartedly acknowledged for their contributions and this support was instrumental in allowing the stellar line-up of speakers and coordination of the Master Class to focus on student involvement across disciplines. Participants were encouraged to attend upcoming conferences related to the sponsors.

The 6th Australasian Vaccine and Immunotherapeutics Development Meeting will be held in Queensland in 2016.

Gabrielle Belz
Chair, AVID2014
Email: belz@wehi.edu.au

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