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Editorial introductions

Section Editor(s): Laprise, Catherine; Bouzigon, Emmanuelle; Werfel, Thomas; Zuberbier, Torsten; Bonini, Stefano; Bielory, Leonard

Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology: October 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 5 - p ix–xi
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32834b54ad
Editorial introductions

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology was launched in 2001. It is one of a successful series of review journals whose unique format is designed to provide a systematic and critical assessment of the literature as presented in the many primary journals. The fields of allergy and clinical immunology are divided into 14 sections that are reviewed once a year. Each section is assigned a Section Editor, a leading authority in the area, who identifies the most important topics at that time. Here we are pleased to introduce the Journal's Section Editors for this issue.

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Section Editors

Catherine Laprise

Dr Catherine Laprise has been Professor at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC), Canada, Fundamental Science Department since 2000. She is a member of AllerGen: the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network - a national multidisciplinary research network supporting research, networking, commercialization, knowledge mobilization and capacity building activities that contribute to reducing the morbidity, mortality and socio-economic impact of allergic disease. AllerGen is a member of the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE). Dr Laprise is also a member of the scientific committee of the Québec Respiratory Network (QRN) of the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) where she directs the Inflammation and Remodeling Strategic Group. She holds a Canada Research Chair on Genetic Determinants in Asthma since January 2005.

She is particularly concerned about knowledge transfer and participated to the development and production of several popularization tools on genetics (exhibitions, video, pamphlets, etc.) and was on the administrative committee of the Corporation de Recherche et d’Action sur les Maladies Héréditaires (CORAMH) for seven years. She is also involved in knowledge transfer through the Committee of the QRN-FRSQ.

Her research is mainly focused on the identification of genetic variants in asthma, on gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and on the study of the functions of these genes and their roles in asthma. She has built and manages the French-Canadian Asthma Familial Collection and she has conducted several genetic associations (replication and novel associations) that contributed to documenting the genetics of asthma. Her work also contributed to the large-scale, consortium-based genome wide association study of asthma conducted by the GABRIEL Consortium. Her research helped define the expression profiling of allergic asthma from bronchial tissues and characterizing the functional genetics of some associated genes. The ultimate objective of her research program is to integrate “omics sciences” (genomics, genetics, transcriptomics, epigenetics and proteomics) to better define the molecular nature of asthma, especially allergic asthma, in order to develop personalized diagnostic and therapeutic tools for asthmatic individuals. She also works on several projects pertaining to monogenic diseases such as epidermolysis bullosa simplex, lactic acidosis and cystic fibrosis.

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Emmanuelle Bouzigon

Dr Emmanuelle Bouzigon, M.D., Ph.D., is a researcher at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), France. She initially attended medical school at Bordeaux University, France, graduating in 2001, as Medical Doctor in Public Health. She completed her PhD thesis in Genetic Epidemiology at Université Paris-Sud in 2005. She spent a one year research fellowship from the European Network of Excellence Ga2len (Global Allergy and Asthma European Network) in the Department of Genetic Epidemiology, King‘s College London, UK, where she coordinated a meta-analysis of genome-wide linkage screens for asthma-related phenotypes at the international level. She is a Research Associate at the INSERM unit of Genetic Variation and Human Diseases, located at CEPH-Fondation Jean Dausset, Paris, France since 2007 and a member of the board of the French Society of Human Genetics (SFGH) since 2008.

She has developed a research programme on the genetic determinants of asthma and asthma-associated phenotypes in the French Epidemiological study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA) study and European studies, and participates in a number of large scale national and international research groups. Her research interests include the study on gene environment interaction aspects and epigenetic mechanisms.

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Thomas Werfel

Dr Werfel graduated from the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, after having spent a year of training at Westminster Medical School, UK and University College Hospital London, UK in 1985. He completed a residency in the Department of Clinical Immunology in Hannover Medical School, Germany between 1985 and 1987 and went on to gain a Postdoctoral fellowship from the Department of Immunology, University of Göttingen. He then completed a further five years residency at Hannover Medical School in the Department of Dermatology finishing in 1994. In 1994 he gained board certification in Dermatology and Allergology.

Since July 1994, Dr Werfel has been Senior Physician at the Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Hannover. He also has a board membership in Immunology. Since 2008 he has been Head of the Division of Immunodermatology and Allergy Research (Full Professorship) in the Department of Dermatology at Hannover Medical School.

Dr Werfel's research interests focus on eczema research (role of allergens including food allergens in atopic dermatitis, immunology of eczematous skin diseases, new therapeutical approaches in eczema therapy). He became Chairman of the Interested Group of Food Allergy of the European Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and member of the executive committee of the German Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) in 2009.

From 1992 he has continuously received research grants from the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” (DFG) and from various research foundations and received several awards for his work in allergy and inflammation research. Dr Werfel has been Speaker of the DFG-Research Training Course on the Regulation of the Allergic Response in Lung and Skin (nine projects) since 2006 which offers grants to international and national MD or PhD students at Hannover Medical School or the Fraunhofer Institute, Hannover.

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Torsten Zuberbier

Prof. Torsten Zuberbier was born in Hamburg, Germany, and attended medical school at Free University of Berlin, Germany graduating in 1990. His career began in 1990 at the Charité Virchow Clinics, Berlin, where in 1995 he became a Senior Physician at the Dept. of Dermatology. Prof. Zuberbier's research experience is in the domain of human mast cell differentiation and function. He is a member of numerous scientific bodies among which: the editorial board of the Journal of Allergy and the JDDG, the advisory board of Allergo Journal; the scientific advisory board of the German Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the Expert Commission “Novel Food” of the German Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, member of the EAACI Dermatology Section, Executive Committee member of ARIA, and member of the World Allergy Organisation Communications Council.

Prof. Zuberbier is the Secretary General of the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA2LEN), Network of Excellence, Head of the Allergy-Centre-Charité and Co-director at the Dept. of Dermatology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Since 2003, Prof. Zuberbier has also been Head of the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF), Berlin.

The research cuts across several disciplines in experimental and clinical allergy, cell development and cancer research. A unifying theme of his experimental research is the focus on human mast cells and related cell types.

The major interest of the experimental research is on human mast cell differentiation and functions as well as the interaction of human skin MC with physical stimuli such as UV-light.

The second major issue of the research interests is on cancer research. Topics include mastocytosis and MC leukemia development and treatment options, the role of MCs in the development of other types of skin tumors, as well as fundamental mechanisms underlying malignant transformation.

The clinical research focuses on urticaria, atopic eczema, inhalant and food allergies and allergic rhinitis. Several studies in the field of clinical allergy have been initiated and performed by the Allergy Centre Charité, among others, and is one of the largest world-wide epidemiological centres assessing the prevalence of food allergy.

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Stefano Bonini

Professor Stefano Bonini was born in Rome in 1953. He graduated in 1977, specialized in Ophthalmology in 1981 and Clinical Allergology and Immunology in 1984 at the University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy. During a fellowship of three years at the Eye Research Institute of Boston, Harvard Medical School, USA, he concentrated on the study of ocular immunology and allergology. His primary interest is the study of corneal and conjunctival diseases, particularly regarding inflammatory pathologies. Between 1984 and 2002 he held the position of Associate Professor at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy. Since 1997 he has been Scientific Director of the G. B. Bietti Foundation. His present position is Professor and Chairman in Ophthalmology at the University of Rome ‘Campus Bio-Medico’ Italy.

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Leonard Bielory

Dr Bielory attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA where he completed his BSc in Engineering (Fundamental Science) and a Masters in Molecular Biology (1976). He obtained his MD degree from UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School (1976–1980); Internal Medicine training at the University of Maryland Hospital; subspecialty training in Allergy and Immunology and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology at the National Institutes of Health as a medical staff fellow in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where his research focus has been on the classic immune complex disorder – serum sickness. He was recruited back to his alma mater to direct the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School where he had been Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Ophthalmology, Director of Clinical Research and Development for the Department of Medicine, and Director of the UMDNJ Asthma and Allergy Research Center, where he directed the only training program in Allergy and Immunology in the State of New Jersey for 25 years.

He is consistently selected as one of New Jersey and New York ‘Top Docs’ in the New Jersey and New York metropolitan area surveys for the past 18 years. He has several hundred publications in peer-reviewed journals and serves on several editorial boards. He continues to serve in various capacities in a variety of national organizations including his role as an Associate Editor of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, as chair of a variety of national committees including; Chair of the Ocular Allergy Committee of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; and as Chairman of the Ocular Allergy Practice Parameter Committee - a joint task force of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. He was past Chairman of the NIH NHLBI Raynaud's Treatment Trial; the program Chairman for the ACAAI International Symposium on Complementary Interventions in Treatment of Asthma and Allergy; and Reviewer for the NIH NCCAM Centers of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CERC).

He has been appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to sit on the Clean Air Council advisory to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Dr Bielory presently sits on the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) Immunology and Respiratory Council of Experts and on the recently convened USP Medicare Model Committee mandated by the United Stated Congress. He is presently funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study Climate Change and Allergic Airway Diseases.

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