Centre for Inflammation Research

7th Annual Symposium Explores Macrophage Biology: "A Cell for All Seasons: Macrophages in Health and Disease"

August 2023

5 conference organisers standing in front of a large screen
The conference organisers
Professor Hilary Critchley delivering a tribute to Professor Jeff Pollard
Professor Hilary Critchley delivering a tribute to Professor Jeff Pollard

The symposium featured a diverse array of topics, spanning from developmental biology to applied gene therapy. The lineup included eight esteemed speakers, four from international institutions, including Elisa Gomez Perdiguero, Matteo Cesaroni from Sanofi (who delivered a "career talk" comparing industry and academia), Stefan Uderhardt, and keynote speaker Luigi Naldini, who delivered the talk "Genetic engineering of tumor-associated macrophages to reprogram the microenvironment towards development of anti-cancer immunity." The day's presentations provided unique perspectives on the challenges and breakthroughs in macrophage research.

Prizes were awarded for the best 5-minute presentations given by both a PhD student and a PostDoc, with two winners receiving the Jeff Pollard Award. CIR PhD student Lizi Hegarty from Calum Bain's Lab and CIR PostDoc Phoebe Kirkwood from Doug Gibson's lab received this honour, in memory of Professor Jeffrey Pollard, a co-organiser and founder of the conference.

As part of the symposium, Co-Director for Centre for Reproductive Health Professor Hilary Critchley gave a lovely and touching tribute to Professor Jeffrey Pollard, an esteemed colleague and friend to many of the symposium's attendees. Professor Pollard made great strides in the field of macrophage biology and, together with Professor David Hume, founded the "A Cell for All Seasons: Macrophages in Health and Disease" symposium 10 years ago. Sadly, Professor Pollard passed away in May 2023 after struggling against cancer.

With the close of this insightful day of dialogue and exploration, attendees departed with a revitalized recognition of the remarkable world of macrophages and their pivotal roles in health and disease. The symposium not only celebrated the progress made but also illuminated the exciting prospects that lie ahead in the dynamic field of macrophage biology.

The Macrophage Symposium was a real success thanks to the quality of the work presented by local and international speakers, and the positive attitudes of all the participants who engaged with interesting questions which generated new connections and scientific collaborations. It was the perfect occasion to remember and honour the memory of our friend and colleague Jeff Pollard, and to show what an amazing legacy he left."

Dr Samanta Mariani, Chancellor's Fellow, Centre for Inflammation ResearchConference Organiser
Calum Bain, Lizi Hegarty, Phoebe Kirkwood, and Samanta Mariani
Conference organisers Calum Bain (left) and Samanta Mariani (right), with award winners Lizi Hegarty (left centre) and Phoebe Kirkwood (right centre)

The event was supported by 8 commercial sponsors, including BGI Genomics, BioLegend, Miltenyi, NanoString, Parse Biosciences, ThermoFisher scientific, 10x Genomics, Vizgen. 

The symposium was a great success and a celebration of macrophage biology. The date of next year's symposium will be 6 June 2024.

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Jeffrey W Pollard Memorial Fund