To coincide with World Immunology Day 2023, our panel of experts will explain how allergies occur when the immune system mistakes harmless, everyday substances for potentially dangerous ones.
The immune system protects our bodies by clearing microbial infections, such as bacteria and viruses, as well as toxins (dangerous chemicals) and cancers. Sometimes the immune system mistakes harmless substances for potentially harmful ones. Allergies develop when the immune system attacks these harmless substances, and we then call the substances ‘allergens’
Allergic diseases affect the parts of the body that are exposed to the allergens. Respiratory symptoms affecting the lungs (wheezing, sneezing, shortness of breath) develop when an allergen like pollen is breathed in. Skin symptoms (itching, redness) develop when an allergen such as nickel contacts the skin. Gut symptoms (diarrhoea, vomiting) can occur after eating a food you are allergic to. In severe cases, people can develop a life-threatening allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, and their body goes into shock. This can happen when someone who is severely allergic is exposed to peanuts or stung by bees.
Our panel will discuss why some people develop allergies, what immune cells are involved in allergic reactions and how we can treat allergic diseases. They will also explain how environmental factors influence the likelihood of developing allergies.
We will run this as a hybrid event, with an in-person audience at the Crick joined by online attendees. There will be an opportunity for questions from the in person and online audiences. Full joining details will be sent in advance of the event.
This scientific panel discussion is aimed at the interested public and students from year 13 and beyond.
This event is held in partnership with the Francis Crick Institute, Nature Portfolio, and the British Society for Immunology.
Professor Carsten Flohr | Head, Paediatric & Population-Based Dermatology Research
St Johns Institute of Dermatology, King's College London
Professor Clare Lloyd| Professor of Respiratory Immunology, NHLI
Imperial College London
Professor Alexandra Santos | Clinical Professor of Paediatric Food Allergy
King's College London
Dr Paul Turner | Reader in Paediatric Allergy & Clinical Immunology
Faculty of Medicine, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London