Recognizing excellence in allergy research

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The 2013 annual scientific meeting of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology was held last month in Toronto, bringing together both Canadian and international experts from the allergy community. Covering both basic and clinical research, the conference was an important event for sharing knowledge amongst the specialists and researchers in attendance.

In addition to the traditional CSACI awards for best abstracts, this year’s conference was supported by AllerGen, who also ran their own poster competition for young researchers. AllerGen is the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network, one of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence, and aims to promote collaboration between researchers, healthcare providers, industry, patient advocates and policy makers to improve the quality of life of allergy and asthma sufferers.

The conference abstracts will be published in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology early next year. Once published, readers will be able to view and download all of the abstracts, including the following deserved winners. Congratulations to all of the winners and of course to all of the contributors – the standard of research presented was incredibly high, making the selection of only a few winners a difficult task.

Basic Science/Immunology:
Vivek Gandhi – Regulation of Proteinase Activated Receptor-2 on airway epithelium

Food Allergy/Anaphylaxis:
Sabrine Cherkaoui – Powder milk as a user-friendly tool for baked milk challenge

Allergic Rhinitis/Asthma:
Meghan Azad – Probiotic supplementation during pregnancy or infancy for the prevention of asthma and wheeze: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Other Allergy & Immunology:
Tamar Rubin – Systematic review of outcome measures in randomised controlled trials of pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) treatment

Case Report:
Joyce Ching – Specific IgEs passively transferred through a platelet transfusion caused two discrete allergic reactions to food

AllerGen Poster Competition:

Top Undergraduate Students:
Laura Feldman, University of Toronto (supervised by Dr. Teresa To) – Estimating the impact of temperature and air pollution on cardiopulmonary and diabetic health during the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games
Timothy Chung, University of Toronto (supervised by Dr. Brian Rowe) - Pre-hospital management of anaphylaxis in one Canadian urban centre
Ayanna Boyce, University of Waterloo (supervised by Dr. Padmaja Subbarao) – Are known biomarkers for asthma present in early infancy?

Genes-Environment Interactions:
1st Place – Dr. Elinor Simons, University of Toronto (supervised by Dr. Teresa To) – Longitudinal association between neighbourhood walkability and incident childhood asthma
2nd Place – Dr. Michelle North, Queen’s University (supervised by Dr. Anne Ellis) – Epigenetic upregulation of β1-syntrophin correlates with rhinitis symptoms in the Environmental
Honourable Mention – Sami Shariff, University of Calgary (supervised by Dr. Richard Leigh) - Human rhinovirus infection of human bronchial epithelial cells results in migration of human airway smooth muscle cells

Biomarkers and Bioinformatics:
1st Place – Amrit Singh, University of British Columbia (supervised by Dr. Scott Tebbutt) – Th17/Treg ratio derived using DNA methylation analysis discriminates allergen-induced early from dual asthmatic response
2nd Place – Claudia Hui, McMaster University (supervised by Dr. Judah Denburg) - Thymic stromal lymhopoietin promotes human eosinophil-basophil lineage commitment: a key role for tumor necrosis factor-alpha
Honourable Mention – Jenny Thiele, Queen’s University (supervised by Dr. Anne Ellis) – The Allergic Rhinitic Clinical Investigator Collaborative – nasal allergen induced eosinophilia

Patients, Policy and Public Health:
1st Place – Linda Warner, University of British Columbia (supervised by Dr. Stuart Turvey) – Optimizing Subject Retention in a longitudinal birth cohort study: lessons learned from the Vancouver site of the CHILD study
2nd Place – Laura Feldman, University of Toronto (supervised by Dr. Teresa To) – Estimating the impact of temperature and air pollution on cardiopulmonary and diabetic health during the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games
Honourable Mention – Timothy Chung, University of Toronto (supervised by Dr. Brian Rowe) – Pre-hospital management of anaphylaxis in one Canadian urban centre