RDG Conference Report of Elena S. Catap

Write up about the Conference

The 1st International Conference of Fish and Shellfish Immunology was organized by the International Society of Fish and Shellfish Immunology (ISFSI) and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) through the Institute of Marine Research in Vigo.  The ISFSI originated from the first conference in Copenhagen in 1990 wherein fish immunologists from the Nordic countries initiated research collaboration to reduce diseases in aquaculture. Since then the conferences have been held in several cities, but it was in 2007 when the society changed its name to European Organisation of Fish Immunology.  In 2010, it was finally decided to establish the ISFSI in order to include scientists who worked on shellfish
(crustaceans, mollusks) and fish immunology.  The conference is a venue for aquatic animal immunologists, students, government researchers and private sector to discuss immunological approaches that could be applicable in aquaculture.
This particular conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from different European countries, from the Americas, and Asian countries.  Three plenary speakers were invited who presented the following: (1) Genomic approaches to the understanding of the catfish innate immunity system; (2) Epigenetic and environmental influences on the shellfish immune response; and (3) Behaviour, individual variation and immunity.  Two parallel sessions were held during the 4-    day conference with a total of 147 oral presentations and 162 poster presentations.  The General Assembly of the ISFSI was also held on the last day of the Conference.

  • The topics during the 4-day conference included Crustacean immunity, Immune cells and molecules, Molluscan Immunity, Immunoglobulin superfamily and MHC, Antimicrobial peptides, Fish antiviral response, Invertebrates functional genomics, Fish antiparasite and antibacterial response, Fish functional genomics, Effects of pollutants on immune response, TLR signaling and inflammation, Effect of diet on immune system, Immunomodulation and Vaccines.  The paper presented was included in the session, “Effects of diet on immune system”; the results presented were based on the theses of three undergraduate Biology students and the research project was funded by the UP-NSRI, which was completed in 31 December 2012.
  • The welcome reception was held at the San Simon Island, after the last session of the first day of the conference (25 June 2013).  The conference delegates were taken to the island via two boats in the Ria de Vigo.  It was an opportunity to meet other delegates and to meet up with former friends/acquaintances (from Stirling University, Scotland, Australia, Taiwan, Thailand, Mainland China and Japan).
  • The poster sessions during the 4-day conference were also excellent opportunities to discuss the research work of other scientist that could be useful for future research that could be undertaken in the Philippines.  During the poster session, I was able to meet two Filipino Ph.D. students (one from Japan and another one from Denmark) and to talk with old and new acquaintances.

Feedback on paper presented

The oral presentation of the paper was well-received by the audience.  Minor clarifications were on the materials and methods, particularly the experimental design and preparation of feed supplements were made.  In addition, possible effects of the natural products used with regards the gastro-intestinal tract was asked, and satisfactorily answered.  These feedbacks will certainly help in improving the manuscript which will be submitted for publication in the journal “Fish and Shellfish Immunology (Impact factor 3.3) since it was selected by the session chairman for inclusion in a special issue

Future directions of research presented

Data obtained from the cell-based assays were conclusive compared with the humoral assay
(lysozyme), thus it would be good to include other immune assays (eg. cytokine levels) in future research work in order to validate the present data.  It would also be better to try the natural products (Ganoderma lucidum powder and VCO) in other species of fish in order to assess their potential use in aquaculture. Likewise, these substances could be trailed in aquaculture set-ups (eg. fishpond, cages) to further test their application in aquaculture.

Potential foreign collaborators

Dr. Verlhac-Trichet from France (Research Centre for Animal Nutrition and Health)  and Dr. Rita Chakrabarty from India (Department of Zoology, University of Delhi) were gave very supportive feedbacks to the paper and are possible collaborators since they work with immunostimulation in aquatic species.

Other important contacts and insights

Important contacts (old and new) include Dr.Hirono and Dr. Chris Secombes (editors of FSI), Dr.Grace Lo, who heads the Reference Lab (National Taiwan University) for shrimp virology, Dr. Barbara Nowak, and her research group, who are doing Vaccine research in Australia, Dr. Kim Thompson and Sandra Adams, who are doing fish immunology research at the University of Stirling, Scotland.

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

Dr. Elena S. Catap, an Asst. Professor from the Institute of Biology, UP Diliman, delivered an oral presentation entitled, “Immunomodulatory effects of Ganoderma lucidum and virgin coconut oil (VCO) in Nile tilapia artificially-infected with Aeromonas hydrophila” in the First International Conference of Fish and Shellfish Immunology that was held from 25-28 June 2013.  The event was held in the Centro Social Novocaixagalicia de Vigo, Galicia, Spain.  The Conference was attended by more than 400 delegates from Europe, the Americas, and Asia where advances in the basic and applied aspects of fish and shellfish immunology were presented and discussed. Two parallel sessions, where oral presentations of papers on immunology of aquatic species, were held and poster papers were also presented during the four-day Conference.  The presentation was well-received and was selected by the session chairman to be included as a peer-reviewed paper in a special issue of Fish and Shellfish Immunology journal.