He will be missed by those who knew him. In memory of Professor Alain de Weck
Alain de Weck was a gentleman, in his professional and private life alike. He was a very critical teacher, examiner, researcher and assessor and was regarded by many people as unapproachable and even arrogant. It took several personal encounters to discover the real features of his character, his sincerity, humour and irony, insistence on traditional virtues like correctness and fairness, but also an infectious cheerfulness and ability to enjoy himself.
The foundations of de Weck’s career were probably laid as a visiting scholar at the Washington University St Louis. Together with Hermann Eisen and Charles Parker he investigated some of Karl Landsreiner’s ideas and developed penicilloyl-polylysine as a non-immunogenic reagent for intradermal testing of penicillin-allergic patients. This successful example of the transfer of basic research into a clinical application was a guiding principle of de Weck’s work and could be seen in many of his ambitious research activities.
On his return from the USA, he went to Bern, Switzerland, where, in spite of considerable local obstacles, he was able to establish a University Institute for Clinical Immunology. He employed young researchers to assist him in his investigations of the pathology of drug-induced allergies, cytokines and cellular immunology. Several of his colleagues – C. Schneider, W.Pichler, B.Stadler, Cl. Dahinden and others – went on to enjoy illustrious careers of their own.
De Weck was one of the few allergy researchers of his time who was also an expert in classical immunology. In the 1960s Otto Westphal (Max-Plank-Institute Freiburg, West Germany) and Carl Steffen (Department of Immunology, University of Vienna, Austria) founded the Society for Immunology as an interregional society serving German-speaking countries. De Weck soon became the third prominent figure in this group. For all his investment in the society, which was to become the German Society for Immunology, however, his main focus was to promote allergology and immunology in the international arena. Indeed, there were few societies in this field in which he did not contribute his expertise as a board member, general secretary or president. His influence in these groups was considerable but always with a view to identifying meaningful innovation and encouraging young researchers. He travelled considerably and wrote many assessments in order to help and guide other researchers. As an assessor he was strict but fair. Austria’s allergologists and immunologists have a lot to thank him for in this regard.
Alain de Weck was particularly interested in the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum, a kind of élite group of allergologists and immunologists. Much in the style of a Renaissance prince, he was an organiser and prime mover, supported in particular by his wife Christine, and also by Peter Dukor and later John Bienenstock, Johannes Ring, Steven Galli, Gianni Marone and many others. Each of the small biennial meetings was an unforgettable experience, combining outstanding research with excellent dinners and social gatherings that acted to bond the scientific community even more closely.
Alain de Weck was an extraordinary scientist and researcher, who had a mind of his own – to the point, sometimes, of rubbing people the wrong way. At the end of his life he frequently visited Tenerife, a wise old man living far removed from his former life of science. He communicated with friends by computer and with the help of his wife Brigitte was a very welcoming and generous host. It was always a delight to talk with him on topics such as evolution, the modern world as we had experienced it, war and peace, aggression, the European identity, and also philosophy and religion. He will be missed by those who knew him.
Dietrich Kraft - former President, Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology
EFIS Travel Grants
Successful candidates will be notified of their award before June 3rd, 2013. Read more...
EFIS reminds its Affiliated Societies that that it is accepting applications for
Deadline for receipt of applications: June 14, 2013.
Take part & apply for an award!
The annual Day of Immunology is just around the corner – April 29, 2013! This year, EFIS and IUIS have joined forces are working together to enhance the global reach of this endeavor and to involve all regional and national societies in promoting the benefits of research in immunology.
Immunologists worldwide are invited to submit their ideas and campaigns for PR initiatives in combination with the DoI 2013, via their respective national immunological society. The main goal of the activities should be to effectively bring “hot topics” in immunology to the public (laypersons, the media, patients, etc.).
The ideal initiative should make immunological expertise more accessible for the general public. Design your campaign the way you like using any media you wish posters, film, video, social media, email or regular mail. Ask all your members to give interviews, lectures, join classroom discussions, meet teachers and talk to friends, family and neighbors about their amazing immune system!
To help with your campaign, EFIS has created and published different educational tools that you may use free of charge. EFIS and IUIS will be offering attractive awards for the best initiatives for the DoI 2013, with winners and their concepts being presented on the occasion of the International Congress of Immunology (ICI 2013) in Milan. Applying for a prize is simple - just follow the steps that you can find outlined here.
This is a unique opportunity to increase awareness around the world about immunology and the importance of immunity in fighting major diseases and saving lives, and EFIS enthusiatically encourages its affiliated societies to take part.
We also look forward to celebrating the prize winners with you in Milan this coming August!
Stefan H.E. Kaufmann
The deadline for nominations for ACTERIA Doctoral Thesis Prizes and ACTERIA Early Career Research Prizes in immunology and allergology:from EFIS-Affiliated Societies has now expired. Societies wishing to submit candidates are reminded that nominations must reach the ACTERIA Prizes awarded by the email@example.com">EFIS Secretariat by no later than March 15, 2013.
Thanks to a recently established partnership with the Fondation ACTERIA - ACTing on European Research in Immunology and Allergology - EFIS will award these prizes for the best doctoral theses defended in the last 3 years prior to the award nomination deadline and for the best early career research work of investigators with up to 10 years postdoctoral experience. In all, four (4) Prizes will be awarded.
Candidates eligible for each of the ACTERIA Doctoral Thesis Prizes must have earned their PhD (or equivalent) after March 1st, 2010, i.e., three (3) years prior to the application deadline (see below); similarly, candidates eligible for each of the ACTERIA Early Career Research Prizes must have earned their PhD (or equivalent) after March 1st, 2003, i.e., ten (10) years prior to the deadline. These prizes carry cash awards of €15,000 and €30,000 each, respectively. In addition, awardees will automatically become eligible for 3-year research grants of up to €50,000 annually. Nominations will be accepted exclusively from EFIS-affiliated National Societies. The ACTERIA Prizes awarded by EFIS will be made for the first time at the 2013 International Congress of Immunology (ICI) in Milan at a special awards ceremony on August 25th, 2013, during which each of the four prize winners will be expected to speak and present his or her work. Thereafter, the awards will be presented at the tri annual European Congress of Immunology (ECI) organized by EFIS, starting in 2015 in Vienna.
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