Executive Summary: WHIP is an annual international meeting that provides an exceptional opportunity for researchers in the various areas of immunoparasitology across the world to convene to showcase and discuss cutting-edge research findings in the field.
Meeting organizers Elia Tait Wojno (University of Washington) and Jude Uzonna (University of Manitoba) welcomed 151 attendees (70 in-person and 81 virtual) to an exciting 4 days of scientific presentations, networking, and social hours. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was offered in a hybrid format, with all talks available streaming and as recordings for virtual attendees to view, virtual and in-person poster sessions, and talks given over Zoom from virtual participants in addition to in-person talks and keynote lectures. The meeting was very successful as it featured a diverse and truly stellar program of keynote talks, session talks, posters presentations and social hours. The session talks and posters described works in immune responses to helminth parasites, Leishmania, Toxoplasma, malaria parasites, cryptosporidium, and others.
Demographics of delegates: One hundred fifty one (151) attendees from 53 institutions/laboratories in 18 countries (Table 1) attended the meeting. Attendees included a diverse representation of principal investigators, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. and MSc students, and Research Associates. The meeting was also highly diverse, representing a diversity of gender, racial, and ethnic identities.
Keynote Talks: There were three outstanding keynote talks. Dr. Tania Watts (University of Toronto) discussed myeloid cell responses to inflammation. Dr. Boris Striepen (University of Pennsylvania) provided outstanding new data the genetics of and host response to Cryptosporidium parasites. Dr. Keke Fairfax (University of Utah) described her work on the role of helminth infection at the maternal-fetal interface and how type 2 immunity impacts metabolism.
Sessions: There were six (6) Meeting Sessions comprising between 5-7 15-minutes (including Q&A) talks per session. These were:
1. Co-infection, Neuroimmunology, and Host-Pathogen Interactions: Chairs: Drs. Tajie Harris & Nathan Peters
2. Adaptive Immunity and Host Defense: Chairs: Drs. Fernanda Novais and Chris Hunter
3. Genetic, Metabolic and Environmental Cues in Immune Responses: Chairs: Drs. Kirk Jensen & Tiffany Reese
4. Immunoparasitology: from Inflammation to Regulation: Chairs: Drs. Pedro Gazzinelli Guimaraes & Emma Wilson
5. Cellular and Molecular Innate Immune Responses: Chairs: Drs. Michael Hsieh & Tracey Lamb
6. T and B Cell Immunity: Chairs: Drs. Christoph Konradt & Phil Scott
Sponsorship: Generous support for the meeting was provided by the American Association of Immunologists (AAI), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), the American Society for Hygienic and Tropical Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, the International Cytokine and Interferon Society (ICIS), and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF).
Impact: This meeting is a cornerstone for the immunoparasitology community, and WHIP 2022 continued the tradition of excellence. The outstanding high-quality oral and poster presentations demonstrate our trainees’ and principal investigators’ tenacity and resilience during this COVID-19 pandemic. Generous sponsorship from BWF, NIAID and AAI, ICIS, and others made this unique hybrid meeting experience possible. This meeting continues to support the growth and career development of trainees in immunoparasitology, help launch the independent careers of new PIs, and address some of the most key questions in the important field of understanding immune responses to parasite infection that are relevant to human and animal health.
ICIS Travel Award Recipients:
Michael Kovacs (student) – University of Virginia: Meningeal lymphatic drainage promotes T cell responses against Toxoplasma gondii but is dispensable for parasite control in the brain
Breanne Haskins (student) – University of Pennsylvania: CD8+ T cells provide protection during Cryptosporidium Infection
Left to right: Jude Uzonna, Breanne Haskins, Michael Kovacs, Elia Tait Wojno