Top Columbia Medical Team Participates in Immunology Symposium

November 21, 2018

More than 150 health professionals from around the world, including five Columbia faculty members and researchers from the Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, gathered to participate in the symposium "Primary Immunodeficiencies and Immune Dysregulation: From Translational Immunology to Personalized Medicine", held in Santiago de Chile in early November.

The event focused on diagnosis and state-of-the-art management of diseases derived from genetic defects in the immune system which result in recurrent or severe infections or in exacerbated immune responses in the form of autoimmunity or immune dysregulation.

The Columbia team included:

  • Dr. Jordan S. Orange, Reuben S. Carpentier professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, whose research has advanced the field of primary immunodeficiencies and Natural Killers (NK) cells biology, who addressed the power of whole exome sequencing in the discovery and description of primary immunodeficiencies.
  • Dr. Wendy Chung, clinical and molecular geneticist, whose work has led to the description and understanding of more than 40 genetic diseases, who reviewed precision medicine in immune related diseases.
  • Dr. Lawrence Stanberry, Associate Dean for International Programs at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, an authority on viral diseases, who presented on genomics and global health.
  • Dr. Philip S. LaRussa, professor of Pediatrics at Columbia and expert on safety of immunizations for children, adolescents and adults, who discussed immunization and the immunocompromised host.
  • Dr. Emily Mace, professor of Pediatric Immunology working in the description of NK cell development and primary immunodeficiencies, who spoke about NK cell deficiencies.

In the last decade, advances in genetic sequencing have led to the discovery of more than 340 genetic defects in the immune system, which have contributed to understanding how the immune system works. Understanding genetic mechanisms of disease and interpreting of unbiased genetic sequencing is crucial to discover new diseases and design targeted therapies.

The symposium is the first of many activities to be carried out in the framework of an academic and research collaboration agreement signed in July by Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUMC) with Chile’s Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD), the School of Medicine Clínica Alemana-UDD, and the Institute of Sciences and Innovation in Medicine (ICIM).