Immunologists gather in Aberdeen

Immunologists gather in Aberdeen

Leading immunologists will gather tomorrow (May 11) for a key symposium which will explore a major area of medicine where the University of Aberdeen has exceptional strengths.

Scientists from across Britain are expected to attend the event which is taking place at the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences and is being held to celebrate 50 years of the British Society for Immunology.

Immunology is the study of the body’s immune system – how it works and what happens when it goes wrong.

Our immune system is designed to protect against infections, but can itself cause disease if it mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. Diseases of this type, called autoimmune, can be very serious and there is an urgent need to understand how they are caused in order to develop new and more effective treatments.

The symposium, which is exploring the causes and treatment of autoimmune disease, is devoted to two major diseases – rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. MS is of particular importance locally, because if is much more common in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

Immunologists from Utrecht University in Holland, King’s College London School of Medicine, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Bristol are speaking at the symposium.

Robert Barker, Professor of Immunology at the University of Aberdeen, has organised the event. He said: “It is a privilege for the University of Aberdeen to be hosting this event, which will highlight the very real progress being made in understanding how diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis can be better treated in the future.

“Immunology is a particular research strength at the University of Aberdeen and that is reflected in the quality of the speakers attracted to travel here to present and discuss their work.”

* Tomorrow’s symposium is one of a series of nationwide events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the British Society for Immunology.

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