News Release 

2019 Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in interferon & cytokine research

The ICIS recognizes two world leaders in deciphering the fundamental mechanisms of innate immunity in directing cytokine driven responses

International Cytokine & Interferon Society

The International Cytokine & Interferon Society (ICIS) announced today that the Seymour and Vivian Milstein Award has been bestowed on two world leaders in deciphering the fundamental mechanisms of innate immunity in directing cytokine driven responses. Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, and Hao Wu, PhD, will share the 2019 Seymour and Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Cytokine and Interferon Research ("The Milstein Award"). The 31st "Milstein Award" ceremony will be held at Cytokines 2019, the 7th Annual Meeting of the International Cytokine & Interferon Society on Sunday, October 20, in Vienna, Austria. The Milstein Award recognizes achievements by biomedical research scientists who have made outstanding contributions to cytokine and interferon research, either in a basic or applied field.

Interferons and cytokines are involved in all biological processes and play a critical role in the development and progression of many diseases including cancer, viral diseases, and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

This year's Milstein Award laureates are:

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology; Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; and Dermatology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University, New Haven, USA. The ICIS Awards Committee have chosen Akiko Iwasaki, PhD as one of the two recipients of the 2019 Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of immunology, particularly involving interferons and cytokines. Dr. Iwasaki has made major discoveries in the areas of innate anti-viral immunity and mucosal immunity that have resulted in paradigm shifts in our understanding of the immune response and vaccine design. Specifically, Dr. Iwasaki has revealed fundamental mechanisms spanning the activation, function and pathologic roles of type I interferons, from pregnancy to aging. A large body of her work is dedicated to revealing various aspects of interferons and cytokines in viral immunity and host physiology. Her work has direct relevance in several important infectious agents including herpes simplex virus (HSV), influenza virus, rhinovirus, Zika virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Hao Wu, PhD, Asa and Patricia Springer Professor of Structural Biology, Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, and Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, USA. The ICIS Awards Committee have chosen Hao Wu, PhD as one of the two recipients of the 2019 Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award in recognition of her unparalleled contributions to the molecular mechanisms of cytokine signaling. Her in-depth mechanistic elucidation of many important protein complexes, in particular those used by the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) family, the Toll-like receptor/interleukin 1 receptor (TLR/IL-1R) family and the inflammasomes, not only changed how we understand cytokine-induced programmed cell death and immunity, but also presented a new paradigm for immune cell signaling.

For 30 years, the Milstein Awards have represented the pinnacle of scientific achievement in interferon and cytokine research and are conferred each year by the International Cytokine & Interferon Society at a special event during its annual meeting. " This year the ICIS recognizes two world leaders to receive the 2019 Seymour and Vivian Milstein Award, Dr. Akiko Iwasaki and Dr. Hao Wu. They have made exceptional advances to decipher fundamental mechanisms of innate immunity and cytokine-driven responses. Dr. Iwasaki, a Professor at Yale University, has made breakthrough discoveries in understanding host recognition and response to viral pathogens. The remarkable achievements of Dr. Wu, a Professor at Harvard University, have illuminated complex structural elements of protein interactions in innate immune signaling. We are proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Iwasaki and Dr. Wu and it is an honor for ICIS to present the Milstein Award to these outstanding scientists", said Dr. Nancy Reich Marshall, President of the ICIS.

The Milstein family -- Vivian, her late husband Seymour, their son Philip and their daughter Connie -- are well-known philanthropists in the United States and abroad. For more than 50 years they have provided essential support for institutions and organizations at a time when funds from government agencies have been drying up.

Seymour Milstein's early insights into the critical importance of interferons led him to Sidney Pestka, M.D., one of the scientists at the forefront of interferon research. Seymour Milstein's interest in fostering continued investigations in this emerging field, and the Milstein family's tradition of support for organizations dedicated to patient care and scientific research, motivated him and his wife Vivian to establish The Milstein Awards in 1988, two years after interferon was first approved for the treatment of hairy cell leukemia.

Since that time, it has been widely recognized that interferons and the larger class of cytokines play critical roles in the development and progression of many major diseases including cancer, viral diseases such as hepatitis and influenza, and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and lupus. Most importantly, in the context of the Milstein Award's scope, the three most recent honorees have contributed tremendously to the treatment of disease and improvement of human health, exemplifying the goals of the Milstein Awards.

The Milstein family also supports The Milstein Young Investigator Awards to recognize the work of individuals who have made an impact on interferon and cytokine research early in their careers, and The Milstein Travel Awards to give those who may not otherwise be able to attend the Annual Meeting of the ICIS an opportunity to share the most current cytokine and interferon knowledge with peers around from the world.


About ICIS

The International Cytokine and Interferon Society, based in Oradell, NJ and Regensburg, Germany, is a non-profit organization devoted to cytokine, interferon, and chemokine research in the fields of cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and pre-clinical and clinical drug development. The ICIS provides a forum for sharing knowledge and encourages investigations that will lead to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases that impact humanity. ICIS members' research has led to significant breakthroughs in understanding and treating cancer, inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, viral diseases such as hepatitis and influenza, and autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and lupus.

Cytokines 2019 will be held 20-23 October, 2019 at the Hofburg Congress Center in Vienna, Austria, bringing together leading investigators across many different research disciplines in the field of cytokine biology that impact all aspects of medicine, the world's most important conference on basic, translational and clinical research related to cytokine biology. The theme of the 2019 meeting is:

Cytokines & Interferons: From Biology to Clinics

Cytokine targeting has become one of the greatest revolutions in modern medicine. A large number of severe and sometimes even lethal inflammatory and autoimmune diseases have become manageable due to selective inhibition of cytokines and cytokine signaling. The development of compounds that selectively inhibit cytokines or interferons has permitted a so far unprecedented molecular characterization of human disease. Cytokines also contribute to cancer development and alterations in tissue homeostasis. Cytokines 2019 will address these developments and provide a comprehensive picture of the current knowledge of cytokine pathways in human disease and the strategies to inhibit, modulate or foster cytokine responses.

Topics - The Following specific topics will be addressed:

    1. Mechanisms and treatment of inflammation: The IL-23/IL-17 pathway

    2. Biology and targeting of type 2-mediated immune responses

    3. Pro-resolving and immune-regulatory cytokines: Control of inflammation and autoimmunity

    4. Local and systemic effects of IL-1 family cytokines in disease

    5. The biology of IL-6 and the role of IL-6 inhibition in disease

    6. Type I interferons: biology and their role in disease

    7. Immune metabolism regulating cytokine production and immune cell polarization

    8. Therapeutic targeting of the cytokine signaling pathways

    9. Cytokine-related diseases after checkpoint inhibition

    10. Cytokine-mediated resident tissue destruction and fibrotic responses

    11. Control of inflammation by inflammatory cytokines

    12. Cytokine effects on the brain: molecular control of pain, sickness behavior and depression

    13. Targeting neutrophils and macrophagesin immune-mediated disease

    14. Induction of immune tolerance -fact or fiction?

The 7th Annual Meeting of the International Cytokine & Interferon Society will be held at the Hofburg Conference Centre, an international conference and event centre in the heart of the capital city of Vienna.

Abstract Topics:

    1. Cytokine regulation

    2. Innate immunity

    3. Cytokines in Allergy and Th2 Immunity

    4. Cytokines in skin inflammatory diseases

    5. Mucosal immunity

    6. Autoinflammation and Autoimmunity

    7. Anti-cytokine therapy

    8. T cell differentiation and function

    9. Cytokines in cancer development and antitumor immune therapy

Deadline is 1 June for Abstract Submission, Travel Award and/or Young Investigator Award Applications

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