Meeting of immunity community
About 100 scientists specialising in the immune system are in Palmerston North this week for the annual meeting of the New Zealand branch of the Australasian Society for Immunology.
Organising committee chairwoman Joanna Roberts said the topic was attracting many of New Zealand's brightest young scientists, with more than half of the speakers aged under 28 years old.
The delegates worked in industry, university and independent research settings around the country.
"They are all very curious about understanding more about the immune system, finding out when white blood cells are useful, and when they are not," she said.
The work of immunologists includes helping to create vaccines that boost the immune system, and exploring its role in fighting cancer. At other times the system has to be suppressed, for example to control rejection of transplants.
The conference will feature presentations by three international speakers. They are Melbourne-based Massey University alumni Jane Oliaro on cancer treatment, Leon Knippels from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands on the role of nutrition in allergy management, and Martin Vordermeier from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency in the UK on predicting the effectiveness of vaccines.
Dozens of doctorate and postdoctoral students will be able to provide snapshots of their research projects.