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Department of Infection and Immunity triumphs at EAACI

LIH scientists were elected to international scientific leadership boards and presented their research to more than 7000 participants at the Annual Congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

24 August 2022 5minutes

Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) scientists were strongly represented at this year’s Annual Congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) to communicate their successful projects in allergy research conducted in Luxembourg. Five young researchers presented their latest research related to allergic disease mechanisms, allergo-oncology and microbiome. Starting term of office at the 2022 EAACI-Congress in Prague, four LIH scientists were elected as leading experts to EAACI boards for the duration of two years.

The annual EAACI congress is the world’s largest congress specialising in the field of allergy and clinical immunology, gathering scientists and clinicians from all across the globe to exchange their data and views on the latest scientific and medical advancements . This year, the congress was held in hybrid mode, with more than 4,216 on-site and 2,837 online participants in Prague, Czech Republic, from 1st to 3rd of July 2022.

Both Group Leaders of the Molecular & Translational Allergology Group at the LIH-Department of Infection and Immunity (DII) were very successful in this year’s EAACI board elections. Dr. Christiane Hilger was elected as Chair of the EAACI Interest Group on Allergy Diagnosis & Systems Medicine , while Dr. Annette Kuehn received a mandate from the electorate as board member of the same interest group for the period of 2022-2024. Dr Hilger was also part of the Scientific Programme Committee of the 2022 EAACI-Congress. She gave an invited lecture on ‘Allergy to furry animals: different sensitization patterns and their interpretation’. Dr. Hilger’s team is actively engaged in advancing precision-based allergy laboratory diagnosis and in the investigation of mechanisms leading to disruption of the epithelial barrier in respiratory and food allergy diseases.

Prof. Markus Ollert, Director of LIH-DII and Group Leader of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology research group at DII, was newly elected as EAACI Vice President Science for the term 2022-2024, during which he will be part of the Board of Officers and the Executive Committee of EAACI (link: https://www.eaaci.org/organisation/leadership.html ). In his role, he will help to continue EAACI’s successful journey to provide the leading platform for education and science in the field for its more than 13,000 members, thus supporting doctors and researchers with the best practices and tools to facilitate standardised, high-quality care and translational research in allergy, asthma and clinical immunology.

Neera Chakrapani, PhD student in the group of Dr. Hilger, was awarded a travel grant to present her research in Prague. She gave a short oral presentation on ‘Mouse blood protein survives degradation in Ixodes ricinus ticks after molting and upon starvation up to 6 months’, providing evidence that ticks can store blood proteins from an animal on which they fed, for a very long time. These animal proteins from ticks are likely allergen sources for triggering allergy to red meat, a disease now recognized worldwide as a non-infectious tick (vector)-borne disease.

Rebecca Czolk, Dr. Kuehn’s PhD student, introduced her research entitled ‘The microbial composition of the gut microbiome varies between peanut-allergic children and healthy controls’. She described differences of the human gut microbiome between peanut-allergic children and healthy controls, showing how bacterial strains associated with known opportunistic infections were overrepresented in allergic patients. This points to hitherto unknown patterns of dysbiosis and putative novel targets for modulation of type-2 immunity via the gut microbiome

Agnieszka Demczuk, PhD student in Prof. Ollert’s group, reported on latest insights of her research entitled ‘Low-level non-inflammatory activation of the IL-6/IL-6 receptor pathway characterizes the early immune signature of successful allergen-specific immunotherapy’. She presented data from patients undergoing clinically successful insect venom immunotherapy, the resulting immune signatures in patients and their validation in a preclinical mouse model, resulting in important mechanistic links for early patient stratification and biomarker use for clinical response.

Dr. Marie Boudaud, post-doctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Mahesh Desai, gave a short oral presentation entitled ‘A mucin-degrading gut bacterium modulates food allergy sensitization in a diet-dependent manner’. Although alterations in the gut microbiome, including diet-driven changes, are commonly linked to the rising prevalence of food allergy, little is known about mechanisms of how gut bacteria are involved in the breakdown of oral tolerance. Dr. Boudaud reported that Akkermansia muciniphila, a commensal mucin-degrading gut bacterium, mediates the dietary fiber deprivation-induced exacerbation of anaphylaxis symptoms in an allergic mouse model, by promoting a colonic type-2 immune response. These results reveal important and so far unknown diet-dependent effects of A. muciniphila in the pathogenesis of food allergy.

Dr. Aurélie Poli, scientist in the Neuro-Immunology Group of the LIH-Department of Cancer Research and elected board member of the EAACI Working Group AllergoOncology, gave a lecture entitled “The impact of allergic inflammation in cancer risk and progression” during the symposium dedicated to “The role of IgE in AllergoOncology, from allergy inducer to cancer killer”. During her talk, Dr. Poli defined the concept of AllergoOncology and highlighted how allergic inflammation can potentiate cancer immune surveillance and favor tumor elimination. She then presented her unpublished work regarding the impact of allergic inflammation on glioblastoma risk and progression, a project that aims to elucidate the underlying immunological factors involved in the inverse association between allergic inflammation and glioma. 

Funding sources

FNR-CORE, FNR-PRIDE, Action LIONS “Vaincre le Cancer”, EAACI. 

Scientific Contact

  • Markus
    Ollert
    Director of Department of Infection and Immunity

    Group Leader of the Allergy and Clinical Immunology research group

    Contact

  • Annette
    Kuehn
    Group Leader, Molecular and Translational Allergology

    Department of Infection and Immunity

    Contact

  • Christiane
    Hilger
    Group Leader, Molecular and Translational Allergology

    Department of Infection and Immunity

    Contact

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