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Meet Your WAO Leaders


Francesca Levi-Schaffer, PharmD, PhD
Treasurer, World Allergy Organization
Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Unit, Institute for Drug Research, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Member Society: Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (IAACI)

What inspired you to become more involved in WAO?
Throughout my career as a basic researcher in allergy and asthma, I have been a member as well as an active volunteer in various professional societies in the field. The World Allergy Organization (WAO), with the purpose to advance excellence in clinical care, research, education and training in allergy and clinical immunology, is recognized as one of the most important global organizations in the field. Thus, becoming active in WAO was most appealing and natural for me.

What would you like to share about the work of your national member society?
The Israel Association of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’s (IAACI) activities include bi-monthly scientific meetings, an annual conference, active participation in committees of the Israeli Ministry of Health and national committees on policies regarding allergy and allergy related topics, a newsletter with updates on topics relevant to the field, and development and promotion of the profession in the medical community.  

6-9 December 2016, the IAACI and its collaborating partner Allergists for Israel will be hosting the WAO International Scientific Conference (WISC) in Jerusalem. The theme of the conference is Outstanding Allergy, Clinical Immunology and Cultural Heritage. The conference will offer presentations of the latest research, reviews of current theory and practice, plus hands-on and problem based learning. The IAACI is honored to have been chosen to host the conference and invites WAO members throughout the world to participate in a scientifically exciting meeting in one of the oldest but also modern, beautiful and vibrant cities of the world — Jerusalem.

What is one of your current special interests in the field of allergy/immunology?
My expertise is in the area of immunopharmacology of allergy. The main goal of my research in recent years has been to identify new targets for prophylaxis/treatment of allergic diseases and their consequences such as fibrosis and angiogenesis by specifically studying the two main effector cells of allergy, i.e. the mast cells and the eosinophils.

My research focuses on mast cell and eosinophil cross-talk (AEU) in allergy, novel inhibitory and activating receptors on mast cells and eosinophils; the role of mast cells and eosinophils in hypoxia (allergy, COPD); mastocytosis treatment; atopic dermatitis, the microbiome and the AEU; and bispecific antibodies as novel drugs for allergy.

Reference(s) to one or two of your most recent publications
Papain activates human mast cells to release pro-inflammatory mediators via its enzymatic activity.
sCD48 is anti-inflammatory in S. aureus enterotoxin B induced eosinophilic inflammation.