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Day of Immunology
Day of Immunology - April 29, 2012

The goal of the Day of Immunology is to strengthen public awareness of immunology by combining activities globally on the Day of Immunology (DOI). They hope to create a global forum of information exchange announcing ideas and activities and bringing immunology and health to all people. Visit: www.dayofimmunology.org 

Vancouver organized DOI 2012 events :
Following on CSI's promotion of Day of Immunology and the activities in Toronto, Montreal and elsewhere, we held the first ever Day of Immunology outreach in Vancouver. The Infection, Inflammation and Immunity (I3) research group at UBC Life Sciences Institute had 22 faculty, staff, post doc and graduate student trainees go out to 4 elementary schools in Vancouver and  North Vancouver this past week. We spent an hour in each of several classes in each school, reaching ~290 students ranging from grade 2 to grade 7 with 15 minute talks on microbes and the immune system. We followed this with hands on workshops showing them hematopoietic cell colonies, bacterial colonies and viral plaque assays under microscopes. We illustrated how prevalent the microbial world was around them by helping them take sample swabs then finished by showing them how unwitting contact with "GloGerm", a harmless, invisible fluorescent teaching aid, can spread from surface to their hands. We left them information postcards we designed that had intriguing immune facts and weblinks to useful sites including CSI and EFIS's web exhibits. We sought this age group which is the target vaccination age and took the opportunity to illustrate the immune system has memory and that vaccines enhance immune responses. We had numerous queries and compliments from students, teachers and parents after the fact and are happy the first event here was so successful. We plan to continue these activities in coming years.

The CSI applauds this initiative and would like to encourage our members to get involved in their local areas.  To facilitate involvement, we have created powerpoint presentation slides adapted from European Day of Immunology materials.  These outreach materials have been made available on our website for use by CSI members (in English or French).  The slides are intended as a resource for explaining the principles and importance of immunology to the public, and can be freely modified or adapted in any way.  Examples of public outreach activities can include public lectures in a university or primary / secondary school setting, media announcements of research successes, or publication of newspaper articles.  With the support of our membership, the CSI looks forward to introducing the Day of Immunology to North America! View powerpoint presentation here (note: you must hold a current CSI membership to access this presentation)

Let's Talk Science and Day of Immunology

Graduate students in Toronto are participating in Let's Talk Science, a country wide program of science outreach. Let's talk science and the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto are planning a series of science outreach events in highschools for Day of Immunology

Let's Talk Science (http://www.letstalkscience.ca/) is a national science outreach initiative that is run out of university and college campuses in all ten Canadian provinces. Let's Talk Science strives to improve Science literacy through leadership, innovative educational programs, research and advocacy. We motivate and empower youth to use science, technology and engineering to develop critical skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to thrive in our world. Graduate student volunteers from the University of Toronto St. George campus site have reached over 2500 children and youth from kindergarten to grade 12 this academic year.

This year, Let's Talk Science is partnering with the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto to run an Immunology Outreach day in high school classrooms across the greater Toronto area. Over 30 faculty, students and post-doctoral fellows of the Immunology Department have been planning the event and will be working first hand in the classroom to help commemorate International Immunology Day on April 29th( http://www.dayofimmunology.org) For the event we have planned two activities. The first is a basic introduction to immunology for grade 9 students. In this activity, the students will learn basic knowledge about the immune system and how it applies to infection and disease. The second activity for grade 12 students is a more in depth look into immune development. The students will take a look at "a day in the life of an immune cell" and understand where the cells come from and how they function specifically during infection. With huge success in volunteer turn out and enthusiasm from high schools across the board, we in the Department of Immunology are looking forward to bringing our love of science and the immune system to the students, and empowering them to pursue the field further in their undergraduate degrees.

Seminars of General Interest

Public education seminar on Immune responses to Hepatitis C virus in First Nations people. Prepared and provided by Julia Rempel, University of Manitoba

The authors of this presentation have graciously given permission for CSI members to use this presentation in whole or part. British Society for Immunology: "Nature's Self Defence" presentation for secondary students.

The American Society for Cell Biology offer seminars on science for general audiences. A few of the seminars are relevant to the study of immunology. Visit: http://ascb.org/ibioseminars/ to access these seminars. Below is a list of the seminars most relevant:

  • Norma Andrews - Leishmania and T cruzi infections
  • David Baltimore - HIV
  • Joe DeRisi - Malaria
  • Stan Falkow - Host-Pathogen interations
  • John McKinney - Tuberculosis 

Immunological Research in Canada

Immunology 1930-1980: Essays on the History of Immunology, Pauline Mazumdar, ed., Toronto: Wall and Thompson, 1989, ix + 307 p., CBMH/BCHM, Vol. 7: 1990, p. 109-10. Immunology has a long pre-history, but its history as a separate discipline is quite short. Read this article.

Links to Canadian Immunology Departments

CIHR National Training Program in Allergy and Asthma
Dalhousie University, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
McGill University, Microbiology and Immunology Department
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Queen's University, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Université Laval, Département de biochimie et de microbiologie
University of Alberta Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
University of Alberta Immunology Network
University of British Columbia, Microbiology & Immunology
University of Calgary, CIHR Training Program
University of Calgary, Immunology Research Group
University of Manitoba, Immunology Department
University of Montreal, Microbiology and Immunology Department
University of Ottawa, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
University of Saskatchewan, Immunology Research Group
University of Saskatchewan, Medicine
University of Saskatchewan, Veterinary Medicine
University of Toronto Immunology Department
University of Western Ontario, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization

Canadian Research Centres

BC Cancer Agency's Trev & Joyce Deeley Research Centre, Victoria
The Biomedical Research Centre, UBC

Research Programs of Interest

Anaphylaxis Canada (outlining some clinical immunology research and how the public can participate)

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