ASHI Toronto

by Christoph Gassner

At the 2008 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Conference (ASHI) at Toronto / Canada several excellent lectures have been presented. One of the most impressing ones was presented by Pamela Bjorkman (http://www.its.caltech.edu/~bjorker/) from the California Institute of Technology on the topic of homologs and mimics of class I MHC proteins. These proteins have similar three-dimensional structures, but different functions including immune functions (IgG transport by the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRn; evasion of the immune response by viral MHC mimics), and non-immune functions (regulation of iron or lipid metabolism by HFE and ZAG).

The other presentation given by Minnie Sarwal (http://med.stanford.edu/sarwallab/) from the Stanford School of Medicine was about solid organ (kidney, pediatric) transplant rejection and tolerance. It looks, as if organ rejection, or tolerance may be prognosed in a very early status using analysis of the expression levels of certain genes.

Beside academic activity, Toronto captured my attention for its impressing presence as a vibrating city, especially early in the morning shortly after sunrise, jogging Yonge street towards north. Standing on a glass floor at the CN-tower with an altitude of 553 m is challenging!

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