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January 2024 Webinar

K. Frank Austen Memorial Webinar – Mast Cells & Eosinophils

Wednesday, 31 January 2024

Recording Now Available!

Click here to view the recording.

K. Frank Austen, MD, was the founding chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at BWH and the AstraZeneca Professor of Respiratory and Inflammatory Diseases, Emeritus, at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Austen died on June 23 at the age of 95.

A member of the Brigham community for more than 60 years until his retirement in 2022, Dr. Austen was physician-in-chief and chair of the Department of Medicine at the Robert B. Brigham (RBBH) Hospital, one of the three Harvard institutions that merged to form BWH in 1980. After the merger, he became chair of what was then the Department of Rheumatology at BWH until his appointment as chief of the newly formed Inflammation and Allergic Disease section within the Department of Medicine in 1994.

Publishing more than 700 original papers over seven decades, Dr. Austen was known for his rigor for data. His major contributions to the field of immunology include unraveling the complement cascade, being one of the original discoverers of slow-reacting substance of anaphylaxis (SRS-A), discovering how leukotrienes drive inflammation and furthering the understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of mast cells.

As a mentor, Dr. Austen trained more than 200 full professors at U.S. medical schools or equivalent institutions in Europe, four chairs of medicine, the three leaders of the largest asthma research programs in the U.K. and four presidents of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Read more here.


9:30 am – 9:35 am: Introduction to IES & EMBRN and Personal Relationship to K. Frank Austen
Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD - United States & Francesca Levi-Schaffer, PharmD, PhD - Israel

9:35 am – 9:45 am: In Memoriam: K. Frank Austen – History and Achievements
Joshua Boyce, MD - United States

9:45 am – 10:05 am: Mast Cells and Eosinophils: What They Really Have to Say to Each Other?
Francesca Levi-Schaffer, PharmD, PhD - Israel

10:05 am - 10:20 am: Eosinophil Advances Following K. Frank Austen Mentorship
Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD - United States

10:20 am - 10:25 am: Q&A

10:25 am – 10:40 am: Inflammation-Induced Mast Cells in the Lung
Jenny Hallgren Martinsson, PhD - Sweden

10:40 am - 10:45 am: Q&A

10:45 am – 10:55 am: Closing Remarks
Peter Weller, MD - United States



Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD

Marc Rothenberg is the Director of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, a Professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, the Founder and Director of the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders, the Founder and Director of the NIH’s Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers and the incumbent of the Bunning Chair of Allergy and Immunology. He has published over 500 peer review articles that have garnered >50,000 citations, an H-index of >130, and laid the foundation for therapeutics that are advancing the allergy/immunology field including the first drug approval by the FDA for eosinophilic esophagitis. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He is the current President of the International Eosinophil Society (IES).

Francesca Levi-Schaffer, PharmD, PhD

Francesca Levi-Schaffer is a Professor in the Institute for Drug Research, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She holds the Isaac and Myrna Kaye Chair in Immunopharmacology. She completed her PharmD at the University of Milano, PhD in Immunology at the Weizmann Institute, and post-doctorate at Harvard Medical School. Prof. Levi-Schaffer has published 184 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 106 reviews and editorials and 27 book chapters and has three patents and three provisional patents. Her expertise is in immunopharmacology of allergy focusing on mast cells and eosinophils, their activating and inhibitory receptors, and their cross-talk for a better prophylaxis/treatment of allergic diseases. She is the current President of the European Mast Cell and Basophil Research Network.

Joshua Boyce, MD

Joshua A. Boyce, MD, FAAAAI, is the Albert L. Sheffer Professor of Medicine and a Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School. He is Chief of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, overseeing one of the largest and most successful research and training programs in the specialty. He has been a member of the CIA since 2007. Dr. Boyce has trained more than 30 fellows in his lab, almost all of whom have full time research positions in academic institutions or industry, including several CIA members. His research on the mechanisms of aspirin sensitivity and lipid mediator control of type 2 inflammation have been funded by National Institute of Health (NIH) since 1995, with  over 150 peer reviewed studies. Dr. Boyce received the AAAAI Mentoring Award in 2020. In addition, he chaired the expert panels that generated both the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-sponsored food allergy guidelines and the addendum guidelines for the management of peanut allergy.

Jenny Hallgren Martinsson, PhD

Jenny Hallgren Martinsson, PhD, is Assoc. Professor at Uppsala University and Senior Lecturer in Immunology. She defended her thesis on mast cell tryptase in 2004 under the supervision of Gunnar Pejler, and did her post-doc at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, with Michael Gurish and K. Frank Austen. Jenny has led her own research group at Uppsala University since 2008, studying the role of mast cells and their progenitors in lung diseases such as allergic asthma. Since 2015, she is secretary in the EMBRN council.

Peter Weller, MD

Peter Weller, MD is the William Bosworth Castle Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Allergy and Inflammation Division, Emeritus Chief of the Infectious Disease Division and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. His research, supported by NIH R01 and MERIT awards, has centered on understanding basic mechanisms of leukocyte functioning in inflammation. Areas of investigation include the immunobiology of eosinophilic leukocytes and the intracellular generation of inducible mediators of inflammation in neutrophils and other leukocytes.

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Astra Zeneca

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