A wonderful week of immunology in Copenhagen


Immunologists from all over the world and especially those from Scandinavia will gather in Copenhagen in April for the 2013 meeting of the Scandinavian Society for Immunology. This is the 41st meeting of the SSI and continues a tradition stretching back over 44 years for this long-standing society, originally established in 1969 (see Spärck JV. 1994 Scand J Immunol. 40:272–5). The SSI incorporates national immunology societies from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, and meeting organization rotates between them. Recent meetings were held in Geilo, Norway, and Tallinn, Estonia (jointly with the Baltic Immunological Society), and in Turku, Finland. This year's meeting is hosted and organized by the Danish Society for Immunology.

SSI meetings have earned a reputation for interactive and high-level immunology. The value of such face-to-face meetings of groups of scientists lies in the sense of community as well as the random and unscheduled interactions that cannot be substituted by electronic media. There is a strong focus to student and postdoc immunologists, the upcoming generation, who after all do most of the hands-on work. The SSI applies support to bring as many young immunologists as possible to their meetings, which are thus cross-generational in every respect. Workshops have been organized to maximize the opportunity for trainee scientists to share their findings in a relatively informal and interactive setting. The city of Copenhagen offers a lively and active cultural milieu for this meeting of young and young-at-heart immunologists. The conference will be held at the new DGI-Byen Center next to the vibrant ‘koedbyen’ area of the city, central and close to restaurants, amenities and hotels.

The Copenhagen 2013 SSI meeting will be preceded by an introductory course to provide a one-day perspective on all aspects of the immune response. This will be of particular benefit to early-stage immunologists who can quickly become up-to-date on the breadth of current immunology, outside of their own speciality, but will also be of interest to more senior immunologists as a refresher update. Faculty in this course have been chosen for their research expertise as well as their ability to communicate complex topics to a general audience.

Scientific highlights of the upcoming meeting include a keynote presentation on Dendritic Cells from Richard Flavell of Yale University, USA. The theme of the meeting is The Immune Response, contrasting with more highly specialized meetings that are on offer internationally. The SSI 2013 Copenhagen meeting is therefore designed to take the participants on a 3-day adventure through the immune response, a little bit in the manner of Hans Christian Andersen's stories, although there are no Ugly Ducklings here, only swans. There will be sessions on Innate Immunity, Differentiation, Regulation and Effector Function, and Autoimmunity Allergy and Therapy. Scandinavian scientists are to the fore in all of these areas and are well represented as speakers, complementing European and international speakers.

The Scandinavian immunological tradition is well regarded, exemplified by this journal, founded in 1972 (see Capra, J.D. et al, Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 2009, 70: 503–504). Nobel Prizes to Finsen in 1903 and Jerne in 1984 recognized Danish contributions at different timepoints in the history of immunology. Current strengths in the areas of innate immunity and immune response to viral infections are matched by Scandinavian prowess in areas of autoimmune disease research and structural immunology, to mention but a few. The 2013 SSI meeting continues this well-respected tradition of excellence in immunology, bringing forward new generations of scientists and welcoming immunologists worldwide to what promises to be a wonderful week of immunology in Copenhagen.