Plenary Speakers

The Program Committee has selected interesting and timely speakers for the 2021 ACT Annual Meeting Plenary Lectures.

On-demand access to sessions until February 15, 2022.

Monday, November 15, 10:30 AM–11:30 AM (EST)

Plenary Speaker Dr. Berin

M. Cecilia Berin, PhD

Endowed Chair, Hugh A. Sampson Professor of Food Allergy Research, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Cecilia Berin is a Professor of Pediatrics and the Associate Director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute. She received her PhD (Physiology) from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada and her postdoctoral training (Mucosal Immunology) from the University of California, San Diego. She joined Mount Sinai as an Instructor in 2001. Her research has used mouse models of food allergy to identify mechanisms of sensitization to foods and to study the communication between the skin and gastrointestinal tract in food allergy. She has also designed mechanistic studies for multi-center clinical trials for the NIAID-funded Consortium for Food Allergy Research (CoFAR) and the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN).


Title: Emerging Concepts in Immune Responses to Foods and Development of Allergy in Early Life

Description: This lecture will outline new advances in our understanding of immune mechanisms of food allergy learned from patient cohorts and will discuss ongoing efforts to understand how the immune system is educated in early life to generate immune tolerance to foods.

Wednesday, November 17, 10:30 AM–11:30 AM (EST)

Plenary Speaker Ricke Darrell

Darrell O. Ricke, PhD

Dr. Darrell Ricke has extensive experience in molecular biology, genomics, functional genomics, bioinformatics, computational biology, programming, and software engineering. Dr. Ricke has worked extensively in these areas in applications of understanding the mechanisms of human diseases, biology discovery, data integration, and data mining. His current research focuses on biomedical research with applications in designing medical countermeasures to viral, biotoxins, and bacterial pathogens, epigenetics, transcriptomics, metagenomics, and disease mutation analysis.


Title: Antibody-Dependent Enhancement and Models for SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Associated with Multiple Diseases

Description: The SARS-CoV-2 virus is associated with COVID-19, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and Adults (MIS-A), and Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 or Long COVID. Negative outcomes for COVID-19 patients are correlated with high antibody titers. Fc receptors on immune system phagocytic cells may enable extended cellular trophism for SARS-CoV-2 in some patients. Either early viral sepsis or possibly infected phagocytic cells enable the SARS-CoV-2 virus dysregulation of germinal centers in lymph nodes and spleen. Antibody maturation outside of germinal centers can upregulate autoantibodies; these autoantibodies can exacerbate COVID-19 for a few patients or contribute to Long COVID in others. Thrombocytopenia is observed in some COVID-19 patients. In addition to microthrombi, antibodies may contribute to destruction of platelets by phagocytic immune cells. Inflammatory molecules released from hyperactivated granulocutes with Fc receptors binding SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is likely responsible for the phenotypic symptoms for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adults.

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