Immunology research at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has been featured in an international science journal that devoted its March/April issue to the Oklahoma City-based organization.
The foundation’s president and scientific director, Dr. J. Donald Capra, said “The Immunologist” is the official journal of the International Union of Immunological Societies, a professional organization for about 20,000 immunologists around the world.
This is the first time the immunology journal has devoted a complete issue to one institution, said Capra, an editor of the journal since its founding about six years ago.
“This issue of the journal makes a strong statement about what we do at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation,” Capra said. “We think the people of Oklahoma, whom this institute counts on for almost half of its support, need to know about this issue of the journal, and we’d like to think they’d be very proud that OMRF is being honored in this way.”
Immunology is the branch of biomedicine concerned with the structure and function of the immune system.
The issue featuring the foundation was mailed to subscribers in early May. Capra said the journal has an international circulation of about 10,000.
In an introduction to the current issue, the publication’s editorial board said it had long been mulling over the idea of devoting an issue to a single research institution.
The commentary said the board finally decided to do so because it believed readers would find it informative.
“There are many renowned institutes in immunology which have contributed enormously to our field,” the introduction states. “Such institutions play a tremendously important role in the culture of immunology, and this role is expanding as an ever increasing proportion of immunology research is performed outside the traditional university setting.”
Capra said the publication’s overview of immunology research at the foundation was sparked by a suggestion he had made to the journal’s editorial board last summer, soon after he was appointed president of the Oklahoma foundation.
“Immunology is not just practiced in hospitals and universities, but in many other venues, such as at small, independent nonprofit research foundation like OMRF, and in the research departments of many companies,” Capra said. “I thought an entire issue devoted to one of those venues might be a good way to demonstrate that.”
The journal invited nine foundation scientists to submit articles for publication in January.
Their manuscripts were sent out for review by scientists familiar with the research field, which is the journal’s usual procedure before publication.
Capra said he did not participate in the peer review of any of the articles by the Oklahoma scientists.
Topics of the nine papers included new information about the “checkpoints” that stem cells pass through to become B lymphocytes, a discussion of X-ray crystallography and the three-dimensional structure of antibody molecules, the role of the anticoagulant protein C in the clinical treatment of blood clots and the discovery that the Epstein-Barr virus may cause systemic lupus erythematosus.
“The articles illustrate the depth of immunology research and talent that we have at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation,” Capra said. “I’m tremendously grateful to the editors of ‘The Immunologist’ for the opportunity to let others in the field know about what is happening in immunology in Oklahoma.”