2012 Awaji Island, Japan (16-20 January 2012)

Overview of 2012 Round

The Winter School was jointly organized by IFReC (Osaka) and SIgN (Singapore) to provide an innovative educational and networking venue for young researchers. The school will be an annual event, alternating between Japan and Singapore; in this inaugural year it was held in Japan at the International Conference Center on Awaji Island. This venue has a number of features that were expected to contribute to the goals and to the success of the school. It has a calming view of the sea and is somewhat remote and isolated, thus the school had an almost retreat-like atmosphere. The students and several of the lecturers spent the duration of the school on Awaji Island, and thus had many opportunities for productive, informal interactions. In addition to contemporary in-depth lectures by the distinguished faculty and exceptional poster and oral presentations by the participants, there were Journal Club sessions to discuss current papers on hot topics in immunology, as well as relaxed evening scientific discussions that were held in traditional tatami-style Japanese rooms at the center. The Winter School officially closed on Friday evening but, in order to give the foreign students a brief taste of Japan and its culture, there was a day trip to Kyoto on Saturday before everyone departed to their home country on Sunday.

Date and Venue

16-20 January, 2012
Awaji Yumebutai International Conference Center, Awaji Island, Japan

Official Website

Birds-eye view of Awaji YumebutaiThe Awaji Yumebutai International Conference CenterConference BuildingTea Ceremony House

Application and Selection

There were 209 applications for the Winter School from 48 countries and 53 applicants were selected. There was a competitive screening and selection process based on the submitted application materials: Curriculum vitae, a personal statement describing the motivation for attending the program, an abstract of the applicant’s presentation, and a recommendation letter. Two of the selected applicants withdrew their applications, thus there were 51 participants in the 1st Winter School on Advanced Immunology.

2012 Program

Professor Kishimoto delivered a keynote lecture to open the Winter School and this was followed over the next four days by 16 lectures given by prominent immunologists. There were also 51 poster and short oral presentations by participants, small group discussions, and nightly informal scientific discussions.


Tadamitsu Kishimoto (Keynote lecturer, IFReC, Osaka Univ., Japan)
Hiroshi Kawamoto (RIKEN, Japan) Shigeo Koyasu (Keio Univ., Japan)
Paola Castagnoli (SIgN, Singapore) Florent Ginhoux (SIgN, Singapore)
Gabriel Núñez (Univ. of Michigan, USA) Wayne Yokoyama (Washington Univ., USA)
Rafi Ahmed (Emory Univ., USA) Maria A. Curotto de Lafaille (SIgN, Singapore)
Shimon Sakaguchi (IFReC, Osaka Univ. Japan) Vijay Kuchroo (Harvard Medical School, USA)
Kiyoshi Takeda (IFReC, Osaka Univ., Japan) Sidonia Fagarasan (RIKEN, Japan)
Masaru Ishii (IFReC, Osaka Univ., Japan) Tomohiro Kurosaki (IFReC, Osaka Univ., Japan)
Kunle Odunsi (Roswell Park Cancer Institute, USA)

Presentation Award Laureates

Awards were given to the following participants for their excellent presentations.

Jeremy Di Domizio (The University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, USA)
Feng-Yen Li (National Institute of Health, University of California San Francisco, USA)
Jiyeon Kim (University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Marija Pesic (Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Germany)
Nathaniel Wang (The Scripps Research Institute, USA)
Michelle Linterman (University of Cambridge, UK)

Messages from the Participants

dummy“I found that most of the students’ presentations to be of high quality and it was inspiring to listen to new novel data presented by many of my colleagues. Furthermore, the afternoon sessions with the invited lecturers really pinpointed current hot topics within different fields of immunology and I thought the educational value was very high.”

dummy“Because of the competitive nature of the application, I felt that each attendee was both extremely knowledgeable and competent. It was incredible to be able to network with such talented peers with whom I can stay in contact in the future.”

dummy“The discussion of research paper in the small group with forerunner in the field also provokes critical thinking on experimental outcome and design, which makes the IFReC-SIgN Winter School different from all the other conference or workshop I have attended previously.”

Organizing Committee

Tomohiro Kurosaki (Director, IFReC, Osaka Univ.)
Paola Castagnoli (Co-Director, SIgN)
Philippe Kourilsky (SIgN)
Tsuneyasu Kaisho (IFReC, Osaka Univ.)
Hisashi Arase (IFReC, Osaka Univ.)
Maria Curotto de Lafaille  (SIgN)
Florent Ginhoux (SIgN)
Lucia Mori (SIgN)
Satoshi Uematsu (IFReC, Osaka Univ.)
Hiroyoshi Nishikawa (IFReC, Osaka Univ.)
Wataru Ise (IFReC, Osaka Univ.)
Peter D. Burrows (Scientific Advisor, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, USA)

Photo Album


Organizer title


Venue_titleGrand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel