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Santos group success at largest allergy conference

The research group led by Dr Alexandra Santos has had success at the Annual Congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI).

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The Congress took place in Lisbon over 5 days between the 1 and 5 June and had more than 8600 participants, the highest number ever recorded at EAACI.

Dr Alexandra Santos from the paediatric allergy group in the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences and the School of Life Course Sciences was an invited speaker and gave three lectures. One talk was part of the Luso-Brazillian symposium titled ‘Tolerance induction in food allergy’ and another as part of an interactive symposium titled ‘Integrating basophil activation and mast cell activation tests in the diagnosis of food allergy’. The final talk from Dr Santos was the introductory lecture of the EAACI patient organisation committee, where Alexandra talked about the new tests, she has been working on in order to improve the accuracy and safety of food allergy diagnosis.

Alexandra was awarded the prize for the best oral abstract for her work titled  ‘Identifying allergic children with severe adverse events during oral peanut challenges in the LEAP studies by assessing basophil activation’. This talk featured unpublished data about the results of the basophil activation test to peanut and other allergy tests performed at the end of the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) and related studies.

Oliver Hemmings from the Santos group presented an oral abstract titled ‘IgE to epitopes of Ara h2 enhance the diagnostic accuracy of Ara h 2-specific IgE’. Oliver’s abstract was presented in both the Junior Members’ Poster session on the opening evening of the conference, designed to showcase the latest work of aspiring young researchers, and as an oral abstract in the session titled ‘ Characterisation and mechanisms of food allergens’.

Dr Richard McKendry, also from the Santos group, presented an oral abstract titled ‘Basophil and mast cell responses to food allergens in sensitised but tolerant patients are not mediated via the FcgRIIa and FcgRIIbreceptors’. This work was initially presented in a Junior Members’ Poster Session and there was a second opportunity for presenting the work during an Oral Abstract Session which provided greater time to present the work and answer more detailed questions.

Both Richard and Oliver were awarded travel grants to attend the conference.

Adding to these successes and much networking and enjoyment, Alexandra was announced as the chair of the Board of Food Allergy Interest Group for the next two-year term 2019-2021 and will be joining the Scientific Programme Committee for the EAACI Congress in London in 2020.

The EAACI Congress is the number one international conference in allergy and immunology. It is energising to attend sessions about the latest developments in the field and to meet with collaborators and colleagues from all over the world. I am delighted to be part of the EAACI Family, and to see the youngest members of the group to present our research confidently and be recognised by the EAACI Community for their successes.– Dr Alexandra Santos