18 Oct 2013

Department of Immunology celebrates its first 50 years, and looks forward to the next 50

The Department of Immunology celebrated its 50th anniversary with an entertaining and informative symposium, held in the AMREP Education Centre, Alfred Hospital on 4 October 2013.  The event was attended by 180 friends, colleagues, alumni and immunologists from far and wide. Pictured, Fabienne Mackay with one of the poster prize winners, Chindu Govindaraj. See Gallery for more.
Current Head of Department, Professor Fabienne Mackay welcomed attendees with an overview of the department’s current research and teaching programs, and her vision for future frontiers in immunology research linking with many other disciplines to elucidate disease pathogenesis. Several Monash Immunology alumni then addressed the symposium. Emeritus Professor Jennifer Rolland gave an overview of the genesis of the department and its evolution from the original Department of Pathology to the current Department of Immunology. Emeritus Professor Ban Hock Toh reviewed the key role members of the department, especially the foundation chairman Professor Richard Nairn, had played in establishing the discipline of Clinical Immunology in Australia.  MC Professor Richard Boyd and keynote speaker Professor Doug Hilton shared their experiences as students in the Department and key events that had shaped their career paths. 

The formal addresses were followed by a poster and discussion session over refreshments and a chance for old friends to catch up after many years.   Congratulations to the winners of the poster presentation categories, who were Chindu Govindaraj (Sigma postgraduate student award) and Kirsten Fairfax (Becton Dickinson postdoctoral scientist award). A highlight of the evening was a revival of the famed immunology trivia quiz, chaired by Richard Boyd, challenging all with their attention to the addresses as well as to immunology milestones.

The photos of the night (see gallery) clearly show the enthusiasm and enjoyment of both the speakers and their audience at this event. 

Special thanks to the sponsors of the symposium: Central Clinical School, Monash University Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and HealthSciences, Eppendorf (gold sponsor), Becton Dickinson and Sigma Aldrich (silver sponsors) and Miltenyi Biotec, Sapphire Bioscience, and Stem Cell Technologies (bronze sponsors).
The Department is creating a web page for its history - watch this space.

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