EFIS on Tour

To enhance interaction with its member societies and their local immunology communities, in 2016 EFIS launched the EFIS on Tour Symposium series. Conceived and proposed by EFIS Past President René van Lier and enthusiastically embraced by the EFIS Board, these half-day seminars organised on the Friday afternoon preceding the Board's traditional Saturday meeting feature talks by EFIS Board Members and speakers of the hosting societies. Beyond the immediate concrete result of providing a setting for societies to present their most important research lines and to showcase their emerging young talents in an open scientific exchange with the EFIS Board, the far-reaching goal of the EFIS on Tour Symposia is to engage national societies as much as possible at a grassroots level (bearing in mind that EFIS does not have direct contact with societies’ membership bases), and to increase awareness about what EFIS endeavours to do to support the European community of researchers and clinicians working in immunology and related fields.

An article appearing in the June 2018 issue of the European Journal of Immunology summarizing the EFIS on Tour Symposium series can be downloaded here.

The EFIS Board is convinced that the EFIS on Tour Symposium series is an initiative that can effectively support the European immunology community and is hopeful that its national societies – especially its smaller members – will seek to take up on the opportunity to engage and share with EFIS the opportunity to organise a symposium in the near future.

The EFIS Board welcomes national societies' proposals to host an EFIS on Tour symposium: if this is something your society is interested in doing, please complete the expression of interest form downloadable from www.efis.org and return it to EFIS via email at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The inaugural EFIS on Tour Symposium, co-organised by former, long-standing EFIS Secretary General Anna Erdei on behalf of the Hungarian Society for Immunology (MIT), was held c/o the prestigious Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest in July 2016. Telling of the event’s success was the participation of no fewer than 90 attendees (from Budapest, as well as from Pécs, Szeged and Debrecen), a remarkable turnout given the midsummer holiday for the staff of the Semmelweiss Medical University. The complete program can be downloaded here.

EFIS on Tour then moved to Athens in October 2016, hosted by the Hellenic Society of Immunology (HSI). The symposium was again very well attended, and appropriately featured two junior clinical scientists, Maria Mytilinaiou and Aikaterini Stavropoulos-Gioka, whose respective talks on stem cells in autoimmunity and the immunopathophysiology of IgG4-related diseases reflected the strong clinical immunology vocation of the HSI. Representing EFIS were again Andreas Radbruch, and Winfried Pickl, as well as guests of EFIS, Marieke van Ham of the Sanquin Blood Foundation (Amsterdam) and President of the Fifth European Congress of Immunology (ECI 2018),, and Paola Castagnoli, Chair of the European Network of Immunology Institutes (ENII). Click here for the Symposium program.

2017 saw two EFIS on Tour symposia, the first of which took place in March in Lisbon. By the EFIS Board’s own admission, this event, hosted by the Portuguese Society of Immunology (SPI) c/o the Institute of Molecular Medicine, was the most scientifically stimulating thus far held in the series and, indeed, owing to lengthy discussion ran nearly an hour overtime. Prominent highlights included talks by SPI members Luis Moita (Gulbenkian Institute of Science), speaking on the importance of disease tolerance in the onset of sepsis, and Henrique Veiga-Fernandes (Champalimaud Research), who presented on neuroimune regulation of mucosal physiology. Moreover, despite a very crowded agenda, there was even time for a presentation by EC Liaison for EFIS, Arnd Hoeveler, on new trends for immunology in current and future EU research programmes. Once again, attesting to the appreciation of the initiative was the large turnout of group leaders and their associates and students from research hubs of outside of Lisbon (namely, Porto and Braga). For the full program, click here.

Accepting the invitation of the Croatian Immunological Society (HID), the EFIS Board travelled to Zagreb in October 2017 for its fourth EFIS on Tour Symposium. In addition to the significance of this being the first time ever that an EFIS Board had met directly with the HID, the symposium assumed greater relevance as it was integrated into the HID’s 2017 Annual Meeting. Over one and a half days, the entire EFIS Board and its guests – Günnur Deniz, Ihsan Gürsel and Barbaros Oral of the Turkish Society of Immunology, and former EFIS Treasurer Reinhold Schmidt – had the opportunity to share their cutting-edge findings with an audience of more than 120 meeting participants. The complete program of the event is available here.

The fifth EFIS on Tour Symposium took place this past February, again hosted by a national society with which an EFIS Board had never convened: the Bulgarian Society for Immunology (BuSI). Organised by BuSI Co-President Andrey Tchorbanov (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), the symposium was held c/o the Medical University of Sofia and featured talks by BuSI Co-President Maria Nikolova, and BuSI members Snezhina Mihailova and Dobroslav Kyurkchiev. Representing EFIS on this occasion were Andreas Radbruch, Winfried Pickl, Pablo Engel and René van Lier. The complete program can be downloaded here.

The sixth EFIS on Tour Symposium saw the EFIS Board travelling to visit a national society with which it has never met: the Estonian Society for Immunology and Allergology (EIAS). Scheduled for June 1st, 2018 c/o the Technical University of Tallinn, the nearly full day symposium, featured talks by prominent EIAS representatives, including EIAS President Kai Kisand, together with Pärt Peterson, Raivo Uibo and others (most of whom made the effort to travel from the principal immunology research community in Tartu, 2 ½ hours away), as well as by Francesco Annunziato, Chair of the EJI Executive Committee. For the full program, click here.


The seventh EFIS on Tour symposium was hosted by the Immunological Society of Serbia (ISoS) in Belgrade on June 7th, 2019. The program included four members of the EFIS Board, six faculty members from the University of Belgrade, and Professor William Harnett from Strathclyde University, Scotland, who spoke about his work on the filarial nematode product ES-62 in inflammatory conditions. Next stop for EFIS on Tour is Istanbul, this coming September 27th, 2019.


EFIS held the eighth EFIS on Tour Symposium on September 27, 2019 in Istanbul with the support of the Turkish Society of Immunology (TSI). The full-day program - featuring the EFIS Board, TSI representatives and special guest speakers Andreas Diefenbach and Antonio Lanzavecchia - can be downloaded here.


The Final EFIS on Tour Symposium of 2019 was held November 8, 2019, hosted by the Czech Immunological Society c/o the Czech Academy of Sciences Institute of Physiology in Prague. James Di Santo of the Institut Pasteur (and Chair of the Executive Committee of EFIS' Official Journal European Journal of Immunology) was the keynote speaker and gave an insightful lecture on innate lymhpoid cell development and function. This was also the first EFIS on Tour Symposium to benefit from the dedicated sponsorship of BD Biosciences. The EFIS Board is extremely grateful to BD Biosciences for supporting the EFIS on TOUR series and looks forward to pursuing the partnership in the coming years. The full program of the Prague symposium is available here.


On occasion of the first EFIS Strategic Retreat, the tenth EFIS on Tour Symposium took place at the German Rheumatism Research Centre (DRFZ) on February 21, 2020 in conjunction with the German Society for Immunology (DGfI). Co-chaired by DGfI President Thomas Kamradt and EFIS President Andreas Radbruch, speakers - in addition to EFIS Board members and DGfI representatives - included guests from the Turkish and Irish Societies for Immunology (Ihsan Gürsel and Ed Lavelle, respectively). The program of the event can be downloaded here.


The eleventh EFIS on Tour was held jointly with the Catalan Society for Immunology (SCI) on occasion of their annual meeting on November 19-20, 2020. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the symposium was broadcast as an online event only. The program of the SCI 2020 annual meeting is available for downloading here.


Again due to continued COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, the twelfth EFIS on Tour was co-organized as a virtual event with the Irish Society for Immunology. In spite of (or thanks to...) being available exclusively online, the symposium attracted more than 600 registered attendees. The full program can be downloaded here.


No other EFIS on Tour symposia were scheduled in 2021, as the EFIS Board continued to meet periodically only remotely. However, with 2022 and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, a hybrid EFIS on Tour was organized with the Polish Society for Fundamental and Clinical Immunology. The symposium program is available here.


In June of 2022, on occasion of the Annual Meeting of the Scandinavian Society for Immunology, EFIS traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland for the 14th EFIS on Tour symposium. Download the program here.