The ASI-Visiting Speaker Program (VSP)

The ASI visiting speaker program gives members the advantage of inviting speakers to visit their location by touring around Australia and New Zealand. For more details please see the ASI-VSP guidelines here.

Nominations for 2018

The first nomination round for 2018 will open on Tuesday October 24th and will close on Tuesday November 14th, 5pm.

Simply email a description of the proposed speaker's contribution to the field (less than 500 words) and a short list of recent publications to:  Up to 4 speakers will be selected for a tour from the nominated individuals.  The speaker must visit at least 3 branches, or 2 branches if SA, WA, NT or NZ is visited, and must take up the offer within 1 year of approval. You can support your application by including names of laboratories from other branches who would be keen to host your speaker, however this is not essential. Please make sure that you have contacted the nominee and that they are willing to participate.
I strongly encourage you to keep gender in mind when nominating speakers. Supporting women through the ASI VSP enhances the ability of both female and male immunologists to achieve their potential. Here are some great international databases full of magnificent female immunologists to invite: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Immunologie, European Federation of Immunological Societies and the American Association of Immunologists.


ASI-VSP Co-ordinator

Name:  Joanna Kirman
Position:  Senior Lecturer at the Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Address/affiliation:  University of Otago, NZ
Email address:

Upcoming speakers for 2017

Prof Lars Nitschke

University of Erlangen, Erlangen, nitschke-kleinGermany 

Visit co-ordinated by David Tarlinton


Visits in November 2017, itinerary to be confirmed.


Prof Nitschke is a scientist working in the field of B cell immunology with a major research focus on the regulation of B cell immunity, B cell signalling and autoimmunity. His main research focus is on inhibitory receptors (Siglecs) on immune cells as regulators of lymphocyte activation. With newly generated genetic mouse models he studies the regulation of immune responses and the dysregulation of the immune system in autoimmune diseases.


Prof Cezmi Akdis

akdisSwiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research,  Universität Zürich,  Zurich, Switzerland

Visit co-ordinated by Kara Filbey


16-17 October 2017: Curtin University/Telethon Kids Insitute, Perth, WA (Connie Jackaman)

19-20 October 2017: South Australia Health & Medical Research Institute, SA (Iain Comerford)

23 October 2017: Newcastle University, NSW (Paul Foster)

25-26 October: Malaghan Institute, Wellington, NZ (Kara Filbey)


Prof. Dr. Cezmi Akdis, MD is the Director of the Swiss Institute of Allergy and Asthma Research (SIAF), Davos and Professor in Zurich University Medical Faculty. He is one of the Directors of the Christine Kühne-Center for Allergy Research and Education (CK-CARE) in Davos.

Prof. Akdis’s research is focused on immune tolerance mechanisms in humans, developing novel vaccines and treatment modalities, and regulation and role of tissue cells and epithelial barrier in asthma and allergies. He has been continuously performing vaccine, human immunology, lung and skin research to find solutions for allergies and asthma. Prof. Akdis has published more than 450 articles. H-index: 74, total number of citations more than 17’000. He was selected to Web of Science, Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher List for 2016, which will be announced in December 2016.

Upcoming speakers for 2018

Prof Carina Mallard

Harvard University

Visit co-ordinated by Andrew Currie


January 2018 Itinerary to be confirmed


Prof Diane Mathis

Harvard University

Visit co-ordinated by Daniel Gray


March 2018 Itinerary to be confirmed


Dr Alan Sher

NIH Distinguished Investigator, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Visit co-ordinated by Carl Feng


March 2018 Itinerary to be confirmed


Dr. Sher received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of California, San Diego, working with Dr. Melvin Cohn at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He performed his postdoctoral training in the Division of Parasitology at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London. In 1980, after several years as a research associate and then assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, Sher joined NIAID as a section head in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases and from 2002- 2017 served as Chief of that NIH department.

Although initially trained as a basic immunologist, Dr. Sher has devoted most of his career to the study of immunity and immune regulation in parasitic and mycobacterial infections. His group played a pioneering role in defining the effector functions of Th1 and Th2 subsets in the response to parasites later linking them to innate signals triggered by these pathogens in dendritic cells. At the same time Sher and his colleagues helped define the regulatory pathways which prevent immunopathology in polarized anti-parasitic responses and in particular elucidating the role of Interleukin-10 induction in that process. In more recent work, the Sher lab has focused on cytokine and eicosanoid pathways regulating host resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis along with other strategies for host directed therapy of this major pathogen and participated in related clinical collaborations in India, Brazil and South Africa.

Dr. Sher is an elected member of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Academy of Microbiology and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. He is a recipient of the Bonazinga Award (Society for Leukocyte Biology), the Bailey K. Ashford Medal (American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene), the USPHS Superior Service Award and the NIH Director’s Mentoring Award. Sher holds adjunct faculty positions at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Virginia.