Povijest Društva

Djelomično preneseno iz Periodicum Biologorum, Vol 110, Suppl 1

(P 1-164, Zagreb, rujan, 2008.)










Institute of Immunology, Rockefellerova 2, Zagreb



All my endeavors to find original Cinader’s letter in the archives of the Croatian Immunological Society have been unsuccessful. Therefore at least part of this text will depend on my memories which are certainly not an unquestionable category. Thus, according to my recollection, I received a letter in the distant year 1967 from B. Cinader with a request to inquire into a possibility of founding an immunological society in the then Yugoslavia. Further intention was that several national societies unite into International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS). With this letter, I went to talk to Dr. Boris Nakić. We immediately agreed that founding such a society would be excellent for promoting immunology and international connections. We thought that we should offer Dr. B. Janković in Belgrade who, as we knew, was engaged in immunological studies, to found Yugoslav Immunological Society together with him and his associates. Nakić made contact with Janković and in a few following days we agreed on a meeting in Belgrade where we we would discuss it and found a society.

Our delegation went to Belgrade (since Janković was engaged in immunology longer than us) for the final agreement. I don’t remember if there was anybody else from Zagreb apart from Nakić and me. The agreement was reached and the soci- ety was founded on December 17, 1968, with its seat in Zagreb. The first president was B. Nakić, B. Janković was vice-presi- dent, and I was elected secretary. The society was entitled Yugoslav Immunological Society (YIS).

We also agreed that the head office was to shift every two years. According to what I remember, the meeting was held in a pleasant and constructive atmosphere.

Accordingly, YIS head office transferred to Belgrade after two years. The following president was B. Janković, I was elected vice-president, and the secretary was M. Simić (he was after some time replaced by K. Isaković).

The headquarters of YIS in the third term of office were again in Zagreb. I became a president, and M. Jurin was a secretary. Our term of office lasted somewhat longer than two years since at its end it was necessary to implement the transformation of YIS into Federation of Yugoslav Immunological Societies (FYIS). In agreement with colleagues from Belgrade and Ljubljana, we carried out all preparations, but FYIS was not founded until 1975. I was then already gone to a one-year stay in Boston, USA. Decision to found FYIS was made in due time by ballots but adjusting the text of the Statute took very long time.

Our relatively fast response in founding YIS was rewarded: YIS was one of the 10 founders of the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS); these were: American Association of Immunologists, British Society of Immunology, Cana- dian Society for Immunology, Dutch Society for Immunology, Gesellschaft fur Immunologie, Israel Immunological Society, Polish Society of Immunology, Scandinavian Society of Immunology, Societe Française d’ Immunologie, Yugoslav Immuno- logical Society. The Union was founded on May 5, 1969 at a meeting in Brugge (Belgium). An Interim Council was elected but I don’t remember who was on it (whether B. Nakić or myself). The Statute was confirmed at the first Annual Assembly in Washington on June 30, 1972. The first Council was then also elected according to the Statute for the 1971–1974 period.

Janković represented YIS in the Council. B. Cinader was elected president of IUIS, J. Humphrey was vice-president, and de Weck a secretary. I was elected a member of the Symposium Committee because the First International IUIS Sympo- sium was held in Rovinj in May 1971. IUIS objectives were: 1) organize international cooperation between immunologists and promote collaboration between different immunological and related disciplines; 2) encourage cooperation of all societies within a country that represent interests of immunology; 3) contribute to the advancement of immunology in general. Ac- cording to assessment at that time, there were about 7,000 immunologists worldwide.

Soon after the foundation of IUIS, European immunologists carried out a sort of a coup in this Union (the Frenchman A. Bussard was particularly active in it) because they wanted to establish a federation of European immunological societies. IUIS Commission for Europe was established with this aim. The chairman was J. Humphrey, and I was elected one of the three vice-chairmen. As you know, the Federation was eventually founded (European Federation of Immunological Societies, EFIS). Three events marked my participation in the activity of YIS and my presidential term of office: a symposium in Rovinj posi- tively, and negatively a conflict with B. Janković about election of YIS scholarsip holder and that with M. Simić on election of YIS vice-president.

The symposium in Rovinj was the first one organized by the IUIS Symposium Committee. Actually, it was organized by Rukavina, O. Springer and me, including also Saša (I don’t recall his last name) from Generalturist Travel Agency. It was a real adventure. One of the most dangerous parts was transport by hydrofoil boat from Venice when a number of Israeli par- ticipants did not have the entry visa. We literally smuggled them under the cover of the dark. They had problems when leav- ing the country but it all ended well. There were a number of things that particularly colored my life as the principal organ- izer: everyday trifles in a newly opened Eden Hotel as, e.g., the fact that the staff did not manage to wake up a lecturer who arrived from the USA. The man in question simply overslept and missed his lecture. Invariable trifle was also the fact that electricity was out every day around 10 o’clock. There were also some funny things: for instance, when van Rood came run- ning barefoot to have his lecture, holding sandals and still wet swimming trunks in his hands.

A hundred and fifty participants from 22 countries took part in the Symposium. Participants from our Society and the Eng- lish one were most numerous. I’ll state here some of the most famous names, without any particular order: E. Diener, M. Si- monsen, G. Biozzi, G. Voisin, K. Rajewsky, B. Askonas, J. Batchelor, D. Dresser, H, Festenstein, J. G. Howard, G.E. Roelants, I.M. Roitt, J. J. van Rood, M. Sela, G. Petranyi, M. Colnaghi, F. Spreafico, E. Thorsby, A. A. Coutinho, E. Moller, H. Wigzell, Dausset, K.T. Brunner, J-C. Cerrottini, F. Bach, G. Houghton, H.O. McDevitt, H.O. Sjogren, R.L. Walford, and about 23 members of our Society. According to everything we know, it was a successful meeting, which was also confirmed by Brigite Askonas, the president of the IUIS Symposium Committee; she wrote to me: »I should like to thank you for making the first meeting of the International Union Symposium Committee such a success…«. The conflict with the late B. Janković broke out because he insisted that the list of 10 potential Yugoslav grant holders (I think that grants for participation in the World Congress of Immunology were in question) be made in the manner that five of them were from Serbia and five from Croatia. Seemingly, according to a fair principle. However, it should be clear that at that time (the beginning of 1974) Croatia had bet- ter candidates. Thus, I remember, for example, that Blanka Veselić, who achieved PhD and had several papers in journals worldwide, had the same rank in the list as D. Marković who was a novice in immunology (but was a relative of D. Marković, a leading Serbian politician). After exchanging a few sharp-worded letters with Janković, the things settled down. I don’t re- member if any of our candidates eventually obtained the grant. Luckily, I managed to avoid growing a gastric ulcer. Besides myself, Mislav Jurin (secretary) and Oskar Springer (member of the YIS Board) were also subjected to hardships due to this conflict.

The conflict with Simić occurred because I proposed Katarina Isaković for vice-president rather than him. Simić was es- pecially hurt by this proposal as I was at that time in continuous conflict with a group led by Janković. The main reason for my proposal which was, of course, put forward after consultations, was that Mirko Simić, when he was YIS secretary, was not very successful (as stated by Janković!) and was eventually replaced by K. Isaković who was YIS treasurer. Indeed, I received an open letter and answered. All this was also soon forgotten, but it cost me nerves. The entire conflict was later forgotten and Simić and I had good collaboration.

Everything else was rather routine during my term of office, if a normal activity of a society which was active in the area of the entire former state could be described by this category. This routine included organization of our regular YIS symposia. After my term of office as a president, the Yugoslav Immunological Society ceased to exist, and histories of independent soci- eties in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia began. Although we were at the time content with such developments, we were of course not in our dreams able to assume that Yugoslavia was finally to break apart and that we were to break the otherwise fragile cooperation with Belgrade immunologists, protesting against their silence during aggression on Croatia.





Past presidents personal recollections




1971–1976      Milivoj Boranić

Croatian Immunological Society had been a section of the federal Yugoslav Immunological Society until April 11, 1974 when it registered as a republic society under the Federation of Yugoslav Immunological Societies. Actually, political de- velopments after dramatic year 1971 ended in 1974 with the enactment of a confederate constitution of the former joint state, so that professional societies were also subjected to confederate transformation. Thus, it happened that I began my term of of- fice in 1971 as a president of the Section and ended it in 1974 as a president of the Society. Thus, I was discharging this duty for five years, i.e. two years in Section and two in the Society, including also a one-year interregnum period of administrative re-registration.

To refresh the memories of older Society members and evoke to some extent the spirit of the time to younger members, I will indicate basic determinants of the sociopolitical and economic environment in which we lived and worked. After the breakdown of the Croatian national movement (during which, fortunately, none of the prominent immunologists fell victim, although some exposed themselves), radical social changes took place. They ushered a period of self-management in the mid- dle of the 1970s. The then social structures (enterprises, institutions, associations) were split into basic organizations of asso- ciated labor which were, as elementary cells, entrusted with management of social assets. All business and professional prob- lems were discussed on Worker’s Councils and Workers’ Meetings. Self-management was also present in science, culture and art. All employees, that is, not only researchers but also technical and ancillary staff discussed personally and through their delegates in Workers’ Councils and decided on all activities of the collective, including work plans, equipment provision, em- ployment policy, participation in scientific meetings… Scientific activities were in a such social framework financed and di- rected through Self-management Interest Communities which were composed of delegates from research basic organizations of associated labor and organizations involved in material production or service sector. From today’s perspective, this period appears to be unusual (some politicians call it unnatural), but this was the environment where we lived, worked and created. It was also the golden period of the Croatian immunology – but we’ll talk about it later. We may add at this point that the overall economic power of the country increased in the 1970s, which was also evident in science. The country’s non-align- ment policy and improvement of relations with Western developed countries allowed easier and freer than before travel abroad to scientific meetings and professional education. The gap between developed countries in personal and professional stand- ards decreased. In short, life was somewhat better and laboratories were better equipped in the 1970s than in the 1960s.

With regard to political events after stormy year 1971, it is interesting to note that there was much discussion during reg- istration of the society about whether it should be called Croatian Immunological Society or Society of Immunologists of Croatia. In fact, after the breakdown of the Croatian national movement, general political climate was such that names with national adjective bore negative connotation and were not benevolently regarded by official and administrative institutions. Therefore, the latter name would be more appropriate to the time and circumstances. In addition, colleagues from Slovenia (who were not numerous enough to found their own society) were also active within the then Croatian Section of the Federal Society of Immunology, so it wasn’t quite clear how they would stand if the title of the society emphasized that it was Croatian. Never- theless, we decided for the former, inopportune variant of the name. We explained our attitude (for official, i.e. administrative use) by the statement that foundation of national immunological societies – Croatian, Serbian and predictably of others, provides the basis for federal society which was to be a supernational association of legally equal subjects. As it is currently desirable to empha- size national awareness at the time when it was extirpated, we could have a reason for complacency in this regard.

At the beginning of the 1970s, i.e. at the time when I was conferred the honorable duty of the first president of the Society, sci- entific and professional activities of its members were at an enviable level. Among us, there were still the founders of the Croatian immunology Borislav Nakić and Nikša Allegretti, and their peer Veljko Stanković. Prominent names of Croatian immunology: academicians Dragan Dekaris, Andrija Kaštelan and Vlatko Silobrčić, and the late [ime Vlahović, were agile 35- or 40-year-old scientists creative at their best and acquiring scientific and teaching degrees, and building their reputation in national and inter- national circles. The similar was also true of other members of that generation of immunologists (I. Hršak, M. Jurin, L. Milas, Slijepčević). Republic awards for scientific achievements were at that period granted to [ime Vlahović (1972), Dragan Deka- ris (1973), Vlatko Silobrčić (1974), Ivo Hršak (1975) and Andrija Kaštelan (1976). There were other awards as well, for example the Zagreb Municipal Award was in 1973 conferred to Milivoj Boranić and Andrija Kaštelan and collaborators.

Many Society members received invitations and support to participate in eminent international scientific meetings like the 1st International Congress of Immunology in Washington (1971), 4th International Congress of Transplantation Society in Washington (1972), and 4th Congress of the International Society for Experimental Hematology in Paris (1974). They were also on short or prolonged study stays abroad.

The second generation of Croatian immunologists at that period was completing their postgraduate studies and acquiring master’s and PhD degrees. I will name only those where I was a member of Thesis Evaluation- or Defense Committees: I. An- dreis, F. Čulo, J. Gabrilovac, M. Poljak-Blaži, M. Radačić, D. Volf. I apologize but I don’t have exact information on others.

The journal Periodicum biologorum was accepted as the official paper of the Society. Valuable manuscripts in immunology and related fields were published in this journal, which certainly contributed to its inclusion in the Current Contents data- base. At the beginning of the 1970s the Society regularly (once or twice a month) held scientific meetings where members pre- sented most recent results, often using only a blackboard and a chalk. Discussions were lively and argumented. Immunolog- ical terminology was being harmonized, and many terms adopted that are presently used as common good in the language. Joint meetings with Allergological Section, Croatian Medical Association, were organized, and occasionally also with other sections of this Association. In this manner, professional collaboration was fostered with colleagues who dealt with practical aspects of immunology.

To illustrate this, I will outline, based on my notes, a discussion at the annual assembly of the Society in July 1971. The discussion was about collaboration with clinicians, teaching activity, organization of professional meetings and criteria for ad- mission of new Society members. It was proposed that the Society recommended establishment of a unique hemodialysis- transplantation center for entire Croatia, and the need was emphasized for the development of laboratory diagnostics of al- lergic and autoimmune diseases. A necessity for a modern textbook of immunology was observed. It was agreed that joint meetings of Zagreb and Rijeka immunologists were to be held from time to time.

The Society organized three meetings of Yugoslav immunologists: the 4th Symposium on Immunology and Transplanta- tion as part of the 8th Congress of the Yugoslav Physiological Society in 1973 in Opatija ([. Vlahović), immunology section during the 9th Congress of Yugoslav Physiological Society in Portorož in 1975 (M. Jurin, V. Silobrčić, S. Banič), and the 5th Symposium of Immunologists from the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia in Stubičke Toplice in 1976. (M. Jurin). In 1975, the 5th Congress of the International Society of Experimental Hematology was held in Trogir (M. Boranić). This in- ternational meeting remained in memory of many participants.

It is evident that I was fortunate to be the president of the Croatian Section of Immunological Society of the former Yugo- slavia and the first president of the Croatian Immunological Society during a very dynamic and vital period of Croatian im- munology. It was at the same time a rich period in my life. At the age of thirty-four, I was appointed in 1970 the head of the then Division of Biology, Ru|er Bošković Institute, and soon elected a president of the Institute’s Managing Board. Thus, I found myself in the middle of turbulent developments related to self-management transformation of the Institute. Biology Division changed its name into Division, and then into Basic organization of associated labor for experimental biology and medicine, and I was elected the first director. I exercised this function until 1977. I may say without hesitation that biomedi- cal studies acquired their status at the Institute, which was (also) expressed in the changed official name of the Division, and one of the major directions of scientific research was immunology. Although immunologic studies at the Institute later lost its momentum, some others were initiated and replaced them as, for instance, molecular biology, so that biomedicine is one of the cornerstones of scientific research at this largest Croatian scientific institution. Apart from administrative duties, I was a coordinator of scientific projects, promoter of collaboration with foreign scientific institutions – US National Cancer Institute and European Organization for Cancer Research, leader of collaboration with clinical institutions in Zagreb, a supervisor of several young collaborators, a member of the editorial board of three international and one national journal, organizer of the 25th anniversary of the Institute and occasional exhibition » A Meeting of Science and Arts«, organizer of the congress of In- ternational Society for Experimental Hematology, sub-editor and translator of a major textbook in physiology… In addition, I published a large number of scientific and professional papers and reviews, including also texts in the media on social role and position of scientific research. In brief, my scientific and professional activities were not confined (only) to the field of im- munology. Actually, many other members of the Society were also not engaged exclusively in immunology but also in related fields of biomedicine.

Through the written word, social engagement and professional activity, I attempted to assert the attitude that scientific and research work should not be solely fundamental, but that it should be rather desirable to see the possible application of results in closer or more distant perspective. I also worked hard for recognition of the dignity of scientific and professional papers that were published in Croatian language in national professional journals. Such views were (and it seems that they still are) rather at variance with the attitudes of the then scientific establishment, including also immunological circles. In my opinion, the developments in science which we have witnessed still support the principles which I advocated. Thus, for example, our work on experimental problems and model systems in immunology has paved the way for acceptance of new findings and employ- ment of new methods and skills in clinical and laboratory practice regardless of the principles and motives that were pro- claimed and promoted.





1976–1978      Andrija Kaštelan

I took over the term of office of the Croatian Immunological Society president from Dr M. Boranić on June 16, 1976 and was succeeded by Dr I. Bašić since November 15, November 1978. Due to the then general confederalist spirit (Croatian na- tional movement in 1971 and Constitution from 1974) and to some extent related to the mandate, Federation of Yugoslav Im- munological Societies was founded only a short time before in Stubičke Toplice (February 1976); at that time the Federation consisted of two republic societies, i.e. the Croatian and the Serbian (they were subsequently joined by the Slovenian Immu- nological Society). On insistance of the Croatian delegation, which I headed, the principle »one society, one vote« was intro- duced in the Federation Statute with the intention of ensuring acceptable autonomy of the Croatian Society. The Federation was founded on the occasion of the 5th Symposium of the then Yugoslav Immunological Society where Croatian representa- tives presented 75 of the total of 106 abstracts. It may be interesting to mention the areas of research that were topical at that period and which have not essentially change in the following terms of offices. These were as follows: mechanisms of immu- nological reaction, autoimmunity, allergic reactions, histocompatibility and organ transplantation, immunologic functions of T-lymphocytes, lymphocyte membrane markers, immunology and immunotherapy of tumor, immunostimulation and im- munosuppression, HLA and diseases, immunology of reproduction, etc. One of the characteristics of that period was a strong surge of experimental immunology into clinical professions and lively collaboration with fellow clinicians. This is, among other things, evident also from congress and symposium abstracts from that time. I will mention some meetings that will de- pict the clinical professions with which we collaborated at the time: Meeting of Yugoslav Allergologists and Immunologists, Ohrid, 1978 (allergology); Symposium on Kidney Dialysis and Transplantation, Bled, 1978 (dialysis and transplantation); 3rd Congress of Yugoslav Hematologists and Transfusiologists, Sarajevo, 1978 (hematology and transfusiology); 1st Yugostrans- plant Congress, Opatija, 1978 (transplantation organization issues); Symposium on Ankyloses and Kyphoses, Zagreb, 1977 (orthopedics); 1st Scientific Meeting of Yugoslav Nephrologists, Struga, 1977 (nephrology); 9th Meeting of Croatian Pediatri- cians, Stubičke Toplice, 1978 (pediatrics), etc. Two international meetings were also held at that time: 4th European Immu- nology Meeting, Budapest, 1978, where Croatian immunologists presented 20 abstracts, and International Intertransplant Workshop, Berlin, 1977.

Some events from that period seem to be of particular relevance, at least from my point of view, so I am going to sketch them briefly below.

In 1977, Rebro Tissue Typing Center (founded in 1970) met all stringent criteria and for the first time participated, to- gether with 150 laboratories worldwide, in a highly controlled experiment which eventually resulted in detection of HLA- DR locus. It may be interesting to mention that these 150 laboratories were classified into 22 groups. The Zagreb laboratory was active in group France 1 (rather than in group Eastern Europe). During two years (1976/1977), all laboratories worked together and used the same techniques and the same typing sera. A total of 13,000 subjects were typed with over 400 anti HLA sera, while cellular techniques were used on 2,000 subjects. In addition to 7 new antigens at DR locus (DRW1-DRW7), another twenty new HLA specificities were detected at previously known loci, i.e. HLA – A, B and C. Also, 28 different dis- eases were investigated in terms of defining the role of HLA antigen in their etiopathogenesis. Comprehensive results of the 7th International Workshop (Oxford, 1977) were impressive and provided the basis for further studies in the field. Since then, the Zagreb Tissue Typing Center took part in all histocompatibility workshops (there were five more of them), which pro- vided it with international and national reference in the fields of histocompatibility and clinical transplantation of organs and bone marrow. Regarding the Registry, we have had a continuous support of many laboratories and institutions world- wide, particularly of Francetransplant and J. Dausset, and Eurotransplant and J.J. van Rood. We made requital, to some ex- tent, to J. Dausset by proclaiming him a member (1978) of the then Yugoslav, and presently Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and by awarding him a honorary PhD degree of the University of Zagreb (in year 1986). We are still bound to make recompense to J. J. van Rood.

In October 1977, a Symposium on the need and possibilities of bone marrow transplantation was held in Stubičke Toplice. Among 19 participants, there were four immunologists: M. Boranić, A, Kaštelan, V. Silobrčić and B. Vitale. The meeting was supposed to provide an answer to the following questions: a) Is there a need in Croatia for clinical transplantation of bone marrow? and b) Are there experts and technical possibilities necessary to carry out such a complex task? Nineteen presenta- tions were held. (see: Liječ Vjesn 1978;100:376–96). After two-day discussion that encompassed all aspects of the problem area – from epidemiological, tissue typing (donor selection), immunological, clinical-diagnostic-therapeutical, economic-material,    to ethical and legal aspects, a conclusion was reached stating that all preconditions have been met in Croatia to organize such a program, but also that additional funding is necessary, particularly to establish and equip a transplantation center and some other laboratories. A commission for implementation of the bone marrow transplantation program was established during 1978 in the Zagreb Clinical Hospital Center where Tissue Typing Center had already been established and furnished up-to- date (the selection of a histocompatible donor is the basic requirement for successful bone marrow transplantation), with al- ready several years of successful kidney transplantation program (experience in immunosuppression). Expert support (edu- cation of hematologists) was provided by Paris Transplantation Center (J. Dausset), and financial support was ensured by Croatian electric power industry as part of the project on prevention of lethal irradiation at Krško nuclear power plant. Prep- arations lasted until 1983 when the first bone marrow transplantation was performed in Croatia; so far 350 transplantations have been performed, 338 from related donors and 12 from unrelated donors from international registries.

In 1977, five or six years had already passed from the first kidney transplantation (from a live relative) (Rijeka, 1971, Za- greb, 1973). Yugotransplant had been founded before this event (in year 1974) for the purpose of organ exchange and trans- plantation from deceased persons according to the principles of histocompatibility. Zagreb Tissue Typing Center became the Referral Center for Yugotransplant. With support from the Croatian Immunological Society, this Center organized the 1st Workshop on Histocompatibility (February-March 1975) with the aim to establish a battery of typing sera for Yugotransplant. Based on this battery, the first Yugotransplant Waiting List for cadaveric kidney transplantation was announced. The List in- cluded 218 patients from 13 dialytic centers in the former state (7 centers were from Croatia). The List was set up in the same manner as the battery of tissue typing sera, i.e. it was based on our own applications on the then electronic computer of the University Computing Center (UCC), and the terminal in the Referral Center which was at that time the only terminal dis- located from the principal UCC computer. I remember that two patients from that List obtained their kidneys from abroad, one from Chicago (delivered on perfusion instrument) and another from Manchester (also on perfusion instrument). The List was, more or less regularly, being announced until 1985 when it was reduced to the Patient Waiting List only for patients from Croatian dialytic centers (there were 18 such centers at that time with a total of 847 patients on dialysis, and with 309 of them on the Waiting List for transplantation). Currently the List includes approximately 1,000 patients, and the number of transplanted kidneys has, on average, been 50 per year. However, let us return to year 1977. Despite comprehensive organi- zational and other enterprises (Yugotransplant, Waiting List, etc.), the program of cadaveric kidney transplantation was at the time making poor progress, that is, the number of transplanted organs was much lower than required. In professional circles, attempts were made to account for such state by unresolved ethical and legal questions, or by absence of a national transplan- tation law which should define cerebral death and regulate the collection and transplantation of an organ from a deceased in- dividual. Therefore, the then Republic Health Secretariat set up (in 1977) a Commission that was to prepare a proposal of an act on transplantation of human body parts for therapy purposes (an immunologist was also a member of this Commission). After almost two year activity of the Commission, the Croatian parliament was finally, in year 1980, to enact a Law on collec- tion and transplantation of human body parts for therapeutic purposes (Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia, No. 31/1980, and No. 40/1988) which is currently still valid and follows the most exact laws on organ transplantation.

Finally, to sum up all that was said above but also much of what was not said but refers to my term of office during that time, I think that the 1980s were enthusiastic years of the Croatian Immunological Society.




1978–1981      Ivan Bašić

Two fundamental activities of the Croatian Immunological Society marked the terms of office of this Management Board:

  1. Celebration of the 60th anniversary of academician Nikša Allegretti
  2. Symposium on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Transplantation Immunology in Croatia, dedicated to the mem- ory of the pioneer of transplantation immunology in Croatia Professor Borislav Nakić,

Both of these activities were registered in publications in Periodicum biologorum (1980;82(2):51–217) and in Liječnički vjesnik (1982;104(3–4):133–161), and I enclose excerpts from these journals:


An excerpt from the preface to scientific papers published in Periodicum biologorum, 82, No.2, which was written by the editor-in-chief, academician Vlatko Silobrčić:


Nikša Allegretti – on the occasion of his 60th birthday

This issue of Poeriodicum biologorum is devoted to NIK[A ALLEGRETTI, on the occasion of his 60th birthday. In prep- aration of the issue, we have collaborated with the Croatian Immunological Society and the Croatian Physiological Society. Together we invited several friends, colleagues and students of N. Allegretti, from Zagreb and from S.R. Croatia, to contrib- ute to this issue a paper on the subject of their choice. In answer to our letters, we received 34 papers. The papers have been reviewed by N. Allegretti and myself. They all have one thing in common: they are sincere attempts on the part of their au- thors to show appreciation for Academician Allegretti and his activities.

  1. Silobrčić Comment: Twenty manuscripts were in this issue of Periodicum biologorum (CC indexed journal) submitted by the Society members. Other papers were contributions by members of the Croatian Physiological Society. With regard to this celebration, a formal session of Croatian Immunological Society was held where a plaque of the Society was awarded to Academician N. Allegretti.
  2. An excerpt from Liječnički vjesnik (1982;104(3–4):133–147) on the occasion of organizing a symposium dedicated to Professor Borislav Nakić.

Symposium on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Transplantation Immunology in Croatia – Beginnings of Trans- plantation Immunology in Yugoslavia dedicated to Borislav Nakić, held in Zagreb on December 18, 1980. Organizer: CROATIAN IMMUNOLOGICAL SOCIETY

This supplement of Liječnički vjesnik contains presentations from the Symposium held on the occasion of the 25th Anni- versary of the development of transplantation immunology in Croatia which was organized by the Croatian Immunological Society and dedicated to the pioneer of this scientific discipline in Croatia, the late Borislav Nakić. In terms of contents, the Symposium consisted of two parts: the first was dedicated to the development and significance of transplantation immunol- ogy worldwide and in Croatia, including the participation of Boris Nakić and his contribution to foundation of transplanta- tion immunology in Croatia. The second part was about clinical bone marrow transplantation and the possibilities for its im- plementation in Croatia. Presentations at the Symposium aroused considerable interest, and ensuing discussions and conclusions elucidated many of the difficulties occurring in investigations in basic immunological science and its clinical ap- plication.

The Symposium introduction was given by Ivo Bašić who began with the following citation:

»The (immune) system must always be on a 24 hour alert to combat foreign instructions as well as disloyalty from within… One of the chief functions of the system is to maintain a series of checks and counterchecks against inappropriate action by its own agents.« (F.M. Burnett).

The Croatian Immunological Society dedicates this silver anniversary of transplantation immunology to the memory of Pro- fessor Borislav Nakić who made a step 25 years ago in a new path whose route began to loom in the 1950s. Today, this route is a modern way of transplantation immunology with lanes full of vehicles loaded with knowledge and information on tasks and functions of immunological system. It does not only help in better understanding of epidemiology and pathogenesis of diseases caused by bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms, but also in understanding of certain relations between cells, tissues and the system, reactions to what is our own and that which is foreign, and genetic aspects of control within an individual.

The basis of investigation in transplantation immunology, or better of modern immunology, is the immune system; a sys- tem which is anatomically very simple, and one of the most complicated according to its function and ways of action. Besides duties shared by other systems in an individual’s body and occasional or continued carrying out of tasks with which they are entrusted, this system, to quote the introductory motto »must always be on alert to combat foreign intrusions and disloyalties from within…«.




1981–1988      Branko Vitale

Experimental immunology was one of the scientific disciplines that were marked by particularly fast progress in Croatia after the Second World War. It was, actually, a continuation of the long tradition of classical immunological studies in Croatia at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. In the period from the late 1950s and the middle of the 1970s, nu- merous research groups were established at the School of Medicine in Zagreb and in Rijeka, at the Faculty of Science and Mathematics in Zagreb, and at the Institute of Immunology and Ru|er Bošković Institute in Zagreb. In relation to the size of Croatia and the level of development of other natural sciences, the contribution of Croatian experimental immunologists in that period and later to the world science can be rated as very significant.

Such a rapid development of experimental immunology also imposed the need for a professional organization supposed to ensure continuous communication and exchange of experience between our scientists and provide them with the possibil- ity of organized international cooperation. This communication was first realized in the Croatian Immunological Section of the Yugoslav Immunological Society and, since 1968, in the independent Croatian Immunological Society and the Federa- tion of Yugoslav Immunological Societies. In these organizations, symposia of immunologists were regularly held every three years at the level of the former state, with monthly professional meetings of the Society. Thus, the first symposium of immu- nologists was held in 1966 in Zagreb (organizer: N. Allegretti; 23 presentations), the 2nd symposium took place in Ohrid in 1969 (organizer: B. Nakić; 58 presentations), the 3rd in Belgrade (organizer: B.D. Janković; 74 presentations), the 4th sympo- sium was held in 1974 in Opatija (organizer: [. Vlahović; 83 presentations), the 5th in Stubičke Toplice in 1976 (organizer: M. Jurin; 104 presentations); the 6th in Kalu|erske bare in 1979 (organizer: M. Simić; 178 presentations), while the last sympo- sium took place in 1982 in Radenci (organizer: S. Banić; 194 presentations).

In addition to organization of professional meetings, Croatian Immunological Society was actively involved in activities related to introduction of an autonomous immunology course at the Faculty of Science and Mathematics in Zagreb (1964), at the School of Medicine in Zagreb (1972) and in Rijeka (1975), and postgraduate studies in Zagreb (1980) and in Rijeka (1985), and played an important role in the development of clinical immunology.

1981 At the 3rd regular electoral meeting of the Society held on March 12, 1981, I was elected president and took the leader- ship of the Society together with the Management Board that consisted of M. Dorić, R. Mažuran and S. Rabatić. As the above-mentioned forms of professional activities of the Society had already been defined, they had to be maintained and possibly followed by the development of new ones that were imposed by rapid development of immunology.

During 1981, we consolidated professional activities of the Society and, together with the Allergological Section of the Croatian Medical Association, we organized 13 professional meetings with five foreign and eight national lecturers. Also, we renewed and tightened our professional and friendly relations with the Society members from Rijeka.

During a joint meeting of the members of the Board and the Society members from Rijeka held on April 22 in Rijeka, we discussed possible organization of a section within Croatian Immunological Society, organization of a European im- munology congress, holding of joint meetings, and the development and organization of clinical immunology in Croatia. As a result of this initiative, a very successful joint professional meeting of Zagreb and Rijeka Society members was held on June 19 in Rijeka, which resulted in numerous professional and friendly contacts.

At international level, we began with activities related to the candidacy of our Society for organization of a European immunology congress in Zagreb; we started with a letter of intention addressed on May 28, 1981 to the then EFIS pres- ident Professor J. Gergely, PhD, Budapest, Hungary.

In the fall of the same year, we started to publish our Bulletin thanks to great efforts exerted by R. Mažuran and S. Rabatić.

1982 Regular monthly professional lectures were continued during 1982. Of the total number of the 17 lectures held, seven were by foreign lecturers, seven from other Yugoslav republics, and five by Croatian lecturers.

A discussion on diagnostic procedure in clinical immunology was organized in collaboration with the Croatian Medi- cal Association already in April. Besides, the Society had the pleasure to propose its member Professor Matko Marušić, PhD, for the Zagreb Municipal Award for his book »Immunologic Recognition«.

In May, Dr Čulo started an initiative to set up a joint bank and register of experimental animal tumors in Croatia.

In year 1982, the Croatian Immunology Society was stricken by two sudden and irrecoverable losses: the death of Pro- fessor Veljko Stanković (16th April) and of Professor Nikša Allegretti (29th October). Thus we lost with them our Society founders, our teachers, collaborators, friends and, above all, great humanists.

1983 Croatian Immunological Society activities related to its candidacy for organization of the Euroepan immunology con- gress were continued during 1983, as well as its regular professional meetings. Throughout the year, six such meetings were held with five foreign and six Croatian lecturers.

In April (April 5th), we organized a memorial symposium on experimental allergic encephalomyelitis dedicated to Acad- emician N. Allegretti with presenters from Belgrade, Rijeka and Zagreb.

In June, we had an interrepublic meeting with Serbian immunologists in Vinkovci where introduction of immunology in university schools of veterinary medicine was discussed.

Finally, the 7th Immunology Symposium was held in Radenci in November, with a high number of participants from Croatia. One of the sessions was dedicated to the memory of the Academician Allegretti where B. Vitale spoke of this deceased member of our Society.

At the end of November (November21st), the 4th regular Croatian Immunological Society Electoral Meeting was held where a new Management Board was elected consisting of Vitale, Jonjić, Jurin, Benković.

1984 Only three professional meetings were organized during 1984, with one foreign and two Croatian lecturers. The Soci- ety seconded a motion by Prof Rukavina that the 8th Immunology Symposium take place in Opatija on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Rijeka School of Medicine. Also, a proposal by Professor M. Simić from Belgrade that im- munology symposia grow into congresses was accepted. Therefore the meeting in 1985 was renamed into the 1st Yugo- slav Congress of Immunologists.

In May, Professor V. Frančisković, the founder of clinical transplantation in Croatia, passed away in Rijeka. Professor Frančisković had successfully led a kidney transplantation team in Rijeka during a ten-year period.

The members of the Society Management Board located in Zagreb took up the organization of the scientific segment of the 1st Congress of Immunologists, and Board members from Rijeka took over the local organization of the Congress in Opatija together with other colleagues from the Rijeka School of Medicine.

After unsuccessful candidacy of the Society for the organization of the 6th European Immunology Congress in 1984, the new Management Board renewed our candidacy in EFIS at the assembly held in Interlaken during the European Im- munology Congress. Our candidacy received general support at this Assembly and it was decided that the 8th European Congress of Immunology was to be held in 1987 in Zagreb. In the preparatory period of the Congress, we announced and communicated information on the course of preparations at EFIS immunological congresses and assemblies in Je- rusalem 1985 and Toronto 1986.

1985 During 1985, the main activities of the Society were focused on the organization of the 1st Congress of Immunologists in Opatija which was held on October 21–25. A total of 330 papers were presented at the Congress which had about 450 participants. Exhibition of scientific equipment and biological reagents was organized during the Congress. Further- more, establishment of a Committee for Veterinary Immunology was proposed at the Congress, and initiative was launched to introduce immunology teaching at university schools of veterinary medicine according to IUIS suggestions. The general feeling was that the Congress was well organized and provided proper insight into the section of immuno- logical research in the country. In the same year, a group of Croatian Immunological Society members (Vitale as a co- ordinator, B. Čvorišćec, D. Dekaris, A. Kaštelan, V. Silobrčić) presented a proposal of organization of clinical immunol- ogy for Zagreb city districts. Despite having prepared a regional program for a part of Croatia, the authors presented an integral proposal of the scope of activity for a new clinical discipline, its gradual organization within the framework of health care service for entire Croatia, and the proposal of specialist training in clinical immunology. The aim of the pro- posal was an attempt at organized development of this important clinical discipline in Croatia through a synthesis of knowledge and experience worldwide. At the end of the year (December 18, 1985), Scientific and Organizing Commit- tees of the 8th European Congress of Immunology in Zagreb were elected. President of Croatian Immunological Soci- ety, Professor B. Vitale, was elected the chairman of both Committees.

1986 Besides professional meetings during 1986 where one foreign and four Croatian lecturers participated, the major event at the professional level was the conference entitled: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia as a Model for Studying Lympho- proliferative Diseases which took place in Dubrovnik on May 21–23, 1986.

The organizers were the members of the Society, B. Vitale and B. Jakšić. A special issue of the journal Blood Cells was dedicated to this Conference, and B. Jakšić and B. Vitale were guest editors. About a hundred eminent scientists, both national and from around the world, participated in the Conference.

During preparations for the 8th European Congress of Immunology to be held in March 1986, a meeting of the EFIS Man- agement Board was held in Zagreb which on that occasion coordinated the Congress framework together with the Croatian Immunological Society Management Board. The EFIS Management Board completely accepted the Congress’s concep- tion we had proposed. On that occasion, EFIS allocated a financial support to the organizers in the amount of 10.000 dol- lars. Scientific Committee met once more on October 31, 1986 to determine the final program of the Congress.

1987 During 1987, all Croatian Immunological Society activities were focused on the organization of the 8th European Con- gress of Immunology in Zagreb which took place on August 30 – September 5, 1987.

The Congress was held under the auspices of the Presidency of the then Socialist Republic of Croatia (A. Marković, BSc) and the then Zagreb City Council (Dr M. Mikić), then of IUIS (Professor G. Nossal), and of EFIS (Professor M. Hess). It lasted five days: four active days, and one rest day which participants spent at the Plitvice Lakes. Overall, ap- proximately 1,200 participants were present from all continents, and 850 congress papers were presented. On the occa- sion of the Congress, an article written by B. Vitale and entitled »Immunology in Yugoslavia« was published in the jour- nal Immunology Today (Volume 8, No. 6, 163–190, 1987). After the Congress, a special double issue of Immunology Letters, the official EFIS paper, was published that was dedicated to the Congress and contained 28 plenary and sym- posium lectures. The preface to this issue was written by B. Vitale and B. Jurin as guest editors who outlined, among other information, the conception of the Congress in Zagreb. A portion of text from the preface is singled out here which refers to the Congress’s conception:

…Immunology has become one of the most important life sciences; its achievements have had a profound beneficial effect on the quality of human life in the past and promise to have it in the future. The horizons of contemporary immunology are con- tinously widening, both conceptually and technologically. Nowadays a profound impact is being made by molecular biology and neuroimmunology, which contribute to better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying im- munological events and mutual influences operant between neural, endocrine and immune systems in enabling an organism to be a functional unity. In addition, research in experimental and clinical immunology, closely connected and complement- ing each other, is further broadening our understanding. The greatly enlarged scope of immunology today requires, for such a meeting as this, the definition and selection of a common core of topics in order to facilitate and promote understanding and collaboration between immunologists working in different fields of this science. With this in mind, an attempt was made to give participants of this meeting an overview of research and progress both in mainstream and specialist areas of experimental and clinical immunology…

According to general ratings of the participants, that congress was, until then, one of the best organized international immunological congresses. In addition to extensive participation of our scientists and establishment of numerous con- tacts with scientists from around the world, it should be particularly pointed out that the city of Zagreb, with all its cul- tural potentials, presented itself to participants and guests in indeed a grandiose light.

An understandable relaxation ensued after the Congress, with flagging Croatian Immunological Society activities and fatigue of the the then Management Board. What the Society needed was a new Management Board. Our term of of- fice ended at the Electoral Meeting held on May 26, 1988, and we wished success to the newly elected Management Board in leading and further advancement of activities of the Society.






1988 – 1993    Filip Čulo

Professor Filip Čulo, Zagreb University School of Medicine, took the helm of the Croatian Immunological Society in 1988 from Professor Branko Vitale. At that time, there were Immunological Society of Croatia, Immunological Society of Serbia, and Slovenian Immunological Society (Croatian Immunological Society is the name to be adopted not before 1993!), all united in the Yugoslav Federation of Immunological Societies (YFIS). In May 1989, we participated in the last (2nd) Congress of Yu- goslav Immunologists in Vrnjačka Banja where an initiative was started to establish new republic societies. As a consequence of this initiative, Professor Momir Macanović announced in June 1990 the founding assembly of the Immunological Society of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, we were together in Federation for not longer than a year! The last meeting of the members of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Immunological Societies was held during Alps- Adria Immunology Meeting in Opatija in October 1990. The 3rd Congress of Yugoslav Immunologists was agreed on at that meeting for 1992 in the organization of the Slovenian Immunological Society. At the time of anticipated meeting of the Sci- entific Council of the Congress, i.e. March 1991, the event at Plitvice happened and we separated forever. This was officially confirmed by letters with the same content addressed on October 7, 1991, by Professor Filip Čulo, the president of the Croatian Immunological Society, to the following addresses:

  • Asst Professor Kotnik (president of the Slovenian Immunological Society)
  • Professor Macanović (president of the Society of Immunologists of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Professor D. Miletić (president of the Serbian Immunological Society)
  • Professor Simić (president of the Federation of Yugoslav Immunological Societies), with the following content:

»We hereby inform you that the Croatian Immunological Society has resigned from the Federation of Yugoslav Immuno- logical Societies. The reasons for our withdrawal are explained in a letter to the Federation of Yugoslav Immunological Soci- eties, the copy of which is attached.«


On the same day, the president of EFIS (European Federation of Immunological Societies), Professor Max Hess, was in- formed on the withdrawal of the members (69 of us) of the Croatian Immunological Society from the Federation of Yugoslav Immunological Societies. The intention that the Croatian Immunological Society become an EFIS member was expressed in that same letter. The path of realizing this intention was to show to be very toilsome and the stuggle to achieve prolonged to the following term of office when Dr. Renata Mažuran and her enterprising female team (Dr. Sabina Rabatić and Dr. Alenka Gagro) were heartily fighting for it and succeeded.

In the meantime, EFIS president changed and we again informed in March 1992, but this time Professor A. Capron, on the separation of our Society from YFIS and we again expressed our wish to become an EFIS member. In May of the same year we forwarded a letter to the president of International Union of Immunological Societies Professor J. B. Natvig with a request for membership in this umbrella organization. Later, the presidents of both societies changed and we kept on writing. Thus in Oc- tober, we again forwarded a request for membership in both societies to a new EFIS president Professor K. Eichman and a new IUIS president Professor H. Metzger. As a vice-president of the Croatian Immunological Society, Professor Stipan Jonjić attended the EFIS Meeting in Budapest in 1992 and learned that EFIS was to reach its decision after a decision on our membership was made by IUIS, which was also confirmed in a letter by Professor Eichman from November 1992: »The EFIS board has resolved that the Croatian Immunological Society will become a full member of EFIS as soon as it has become a full member of IUIS«. EFIS showed its good will by inviting us as observers to its meetings and providing us with all EFIS information. The answer from Prof Metzger did not arrive so we reminded him again in March 1993 (How time flies!) of our wish to become an IUIS member. We also addressed again the EFIS president Prof Eichman expressing our hope that our membership would be confirmed before the meeting in Leipzig in the fall of 1993. In May of that year, our team left the »battlefield« and left over the struggle to a coura- geous and combative team of Dr. Renata Mažuran. What else can be said today of the period when all of us, aside from our ob- ligations at university schools, clinics or institutes, worried for our family and interrupted experiments due to wartime alerts? So- ciety meetings were not as regular as today, although we tried. We received several new members to the Society at that time but it seems to me that perhaps the best indicator of our invincible spirit was the fact that we published as many papers in that period as during the pre-war time. After that, the Society was led by two excellent teams whose, I hope, contagious enthusiam and op- timism will be transmitted to new and young Society members.





1993 – 1995    Renata Mažuran

HID has the heart1 Why I accepted the honour, but also the duty of the president of the Croatian Immunological Society (thesis argumentation)

I encountered immunology as a biology student in 1969 in the laboratory of Borislav Nakić 2 where I was learning the ba- sics of experimental work on chimerism and tissue transplantation. At that time, graduate students encountered immunology only at the Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics, University of Zagreb, where immunology course was introduced in 1968 as part of the study of experimental biology. Suggestiveness of Borislav Nakić, his way of conveying knowledge and of handling scientific facts sealed up forever my professional choice. I decided to become an immunologist. His too early, tragic decease redirected me to another location3, to the laboratory of his student and colleague Vlatko Silobrčić. I began my scientific life in 1971 – the year when our first lymphokine was characterized (macrophage migration inhibitory factor). A year later (1972), a course in immunology was introduced in graduate medical studies at the Zagreb University School of Medicine. Looking back, I am amazed at the ease with which a small team of enthusiasts in one of a few top quality institutions in which immu- nology in Croatia was developed, reached subtle solutions that led to original scientific results, always at the level or just a small step behind major immunological developments worldwide. I can define my personal scientific interest with three key concepts: immunoreaction mechanisms, innate immunity and immunomodulation. All my friends from that time are still here4, still productive and still enjoying (although not infinitely any more) their work: Vlatko Silobrčić, Dragan Dekaris, Ante Sabioncello, Rabatić i Ivna Svoboda-Beusan. For a shorter or longer period, about 50 researchers were part of this team, and many of them left an indelible imprint on Croatian biomedical sciences. The result of lively activity is ten international projects of various duration and virtually continuous projects financed by the Ministry of Science or other government institutions.

At the beginning of our collaboration, our objectives were correlates of specific cellular immunoreaction in vitro. Leuko- cyte migration inhibition test and monocyte spreading inhibition test were introduced in 1973 and their application started in basic (animal model for immunosuppression efficacy) and applied immunology (pollen allergy). We began to investigate plei- otropicity of cytokines during the same year by studying lymphokine activities in human leukocyte interferon.

Translation of the first textbook in immunology5 was done in 1974. The discussions occurring during translation have per- manently established our loyalty to terminology and standards in immunology.

During this same year we began to differentiate and count immunocompetent cells (it was announced and confirmed at the World Congress of Immunology in Brighton that lymphocytes were not unique). Rosettes (spontaneous and induced) blossomed under our microscopes as visualization of one to two receptor molecules at the surface of T- and B-lymphocytes. Due to the development of monoclonal antibodies during not more than 25 years, we may presently recognize as many as 104 different surface molecules on T-, B-, and NK lymphocytes.

The first working meeting for standardization of tests in clinical immunology was held in the Croatian Medical Associa- tion in 1975 (moderator: Dragan Dekaris).

Polyclonal and clonal lymphocyte expansion was even at that time considered to be the external property of immunoreac- tion to tumors, infections and autoimmune diseases.

We tackled immunoreaction stimulation in malignant diseases in 1976; as others, we underestimated the capability for prostaglandin induction of nonspecific bacterial stimulators (BCG, Corynebacterium parvum, Propionibacterium acnes, Pici- banil®, a peptidoglycan from Brevibacterium divarticatum). Some successful animal experiments were abandoned after we could not, after many years of exerted efforts, confirm them on human model, while we are still persistent with some others as our focus has shifted to synthetic immunomodulators, cytokines, specific receptor ligands.

From »general to individual« occurred in 1978 when we shifted our interest from systemic immunoreaction to the local one (local nasopharynx immunity). At approximately that time (the early 1980s) we ceased to be, almost imperceptibly, the fans of specific immunoreaction. A door of nonspecific immunity gradually begun to open in front of us, with all the attractive com- ponents of acute inflammatory reaction: phagocytosis, ADCC and NK-cells and cytokines became our everyday life in 1980.

Despite interdisciplinary character, team members were systematically pushing issues of broad social significance like (un- successful) introduction of specialist training in clinical immunology for medical doctors (Academy of Medical Sciences of Croatia, 1978). Due to gradual increase in interest in clinical immunology, we organized in 1982 the first course in clinical immunology. Postgraduate course in Allergology and Clinical Immunology at the School of Medicine, University of Zagreb was introduced in 1986. In the same year, one of the activities of our team was officially recognized: a Referral Center for Clin- ical Cellular Immunodiagnostics of the Croatian Ministry of Health was founded at the Institute of Immunology.

The second6 textbook in immunology in Croatia was Basic Allergology (published by Školska knjiga) which was written by Dragan Dekaris and published in 1983. Vlatko Silobrčić was the author of the book How to publish a scientific paper (published by Jumena). A proposal of standardization of immunological terminology was also published.

Possibly because we ourselves reached a certain age, we started in 1985 to work on immunoreaction in elderly persons. The Croatian Homeland War suddenly shifted us toward the immunology of stress (1992); the stress still represents our mode of living and it seems that it won’t ever leave us any more.

Looking back, in addition to great pleasure in work, most of the past time was marked by productive companionship with other Croatian immunologists. I have always considered these people to be members of the Croatian Immunological Society: dealing with immunology and membership in this Society are two inseparable entities. Our weekly (sic!) meetings were al- ways well-attended and far from boring. There were no limits in discussions: we were a small group (we live in a small coun- try), and immunology was advancing so fast that each one of us encountered innumerable challenges in their field which were shared with others. Financial situation could be described as moderate, and a scientist’s status involved no particular pay but rather esteem. Our professional society was for most of that time functioning well and when the time came I accepted an of- fer by Branko Vitale to be a secretary of the Society during his term of office as a president. I enjoyed performing this duty with Branko Vitale – he always had brilliant ideas that were to be realized. I considered the time spent in the Society man- agement under the leadership of Branko Vitale as a traineeship period.


The term of office as the Society president (Materials and methods, Results)

In May 1993, Filip Čulo resigned from the head position in the Croatian Immunological Society; for the first time in the So- ciety history, the helm was taken by a female team (Mažuran, Rabatić, Gagro). Inital president’s report sums up, in the man- ner of a typical legalist7 and a traditionalist, all activities of the Society from its foundation to that moment.

During the first six months, most activities of the Small Council were directed toward contacts with umbrella organizations (EFIS8), IUIS9. In October 1993, I attended the EFIS Annual Assembly in Leipzig where the Croatian Immunological Society membership in EFIS was discussed. I was given moral support but, as it turned out later, we were still far from full membership (Eur J Immunol 1993;23:3054). Only after ICSU10 included Croatian Immunological Society in its regular membership, IUIS and EFIS automatically did the same (EFIS Meeting, Freiburg, February 1994; announcement at the IUIS Barcelona meeting, April 1994). Nevertheless, even before formal recognition, the benefit of our activities directed toward gaining membership in in- ternational associations could already be discerned: EFIS was the sponsor and endorsed financial support for the meeting Mech- anisms of Local Immunity that was prepared by Dane Rukavina and due in 1994 in Opatija. After exhausting war years, there was a light in the tunnel ahead of us: the first meeting with international participation after 1990.

Generosity was also evident in the domain of scientific publications: Croatian Immunological Society members obtained priv- ileged subscription to the journals Immunology Letters, Current Opinion in Immunology, and European Journal of Immunology.

The IUIS paper The Immunologist was sent to the address of the Society without charge.

Yet another important international favour was extended due to the sympathy of the confirmed friend of Croatia, Georg Wick (Innsbruck): an invitation to the Society members to participate at equal footing at the Annual Meeting of the Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology (ÖGAI, Graz, November 1993; host: Konrad Schauenstein). Thanks to Wick, four scholarships were also offered for young researchers in Austrian laboratories yet, regrettably, we took advantage of only one (Lidija [mejkal-Jagar). This activity was regularly attended successively for several years but the Society members presently seem to have lost their interest in the closest neighbors.

Of the persons who exerted great efforts in internationalization of Croatian immunology, a mention should certainly be made also of Ivica Valpotić who represented Croatian veterinary immunology through his membership in the IUIS Veteri- nary Immunology Committee.

At the emergency Society meeting in December 1993, we voted for amendments to the Society Statute. I must say with re- gret that today, five years later, I am particularly sorry that some of the provisions have never been realized; e.g., according to the section of this Statute related to the Society activity, it involves the right of issuing the title of an immunologist, which is the first step to a potential Chamber.

I left the wind beneath my wings: the beginning was promising.

Although the entire year of 1993 was packed with fast turn of events, and 1994 was even better and financially more suc- cessful, our frustrations caused by war and isolation were suppressed after first official visits to Croatian Immunological So- ciety (or Croatia, actually). After Stefan Tierfelder whose intellectual and emotional connections with scientists from the Ru|er Bošković Institute remained unbroken, the top official of the umbrella organization, Klaus Eichman, also paid a visit. The EFIS president arrived in an official visit at the beginning of March 1995 and held an excellent lecture at the Croatian Acad- emy of Sciences and Arts. By this action, he demonstrated without any doubt that Croatia is a safe country with expectations from its scientific potential. A step forward in this direction was also a publication of the Croatian Ministry of Science and Technology: Scientific Research in Croatia (1995; editor: Greta Pifat-Mrzljak) where activities of Croatian immunologists got adequate position due to the efforts made by Croatian Immunological Society Small Council and all members.

The year 1994 was, in brief, successful also regarding scientific activity. Members of the Society increasingly presented their investigations and started to meet and associate as before.

Mechanisms in Local Immunity (September 1994), the second immunological meeting under the auspices of the Alps- Adria Working Community and the first immunological meeting with international participation in independent Croatia gathered about 150 participants. A hundred and thirty-nine reports were registered (one plenary lecture, 42 symposium lec- tures, 17 selected oral presentations and 79 communications in workshops). Croatian immunologists held three symposium lectures, 12 selected oral presentations, and 49 communications in workgroups (in total, 64 contributions, i.e. 46%). All large immunological centers were represented: Zagreb with 43 active participants, Rijeka with 16, Split with 4, and Osijek with one presentation).

We get together with Austrian immunologists for the second time in Vienna (November 1994). We actively participated in this meeting with 15 presentations. Georg Wick handed over the presidential sash to Marta Eibl whose partiality toward Croatian immunologists had been unquestioned for decades.


There was a change at the helm of the journal Periodicum Biologorum: Vlatko Silobrčić handed over the burden, after 22 years of dedicated work, to Branko Vitale who took up a very serious commitment to return Periodicum biologorum among CC-indexed journals11. I have heard these days that he has fulfilled this obligation and I cordially congratulate him.

Everything was going on better – an enthusiasm was felt that had been absent for years, and we decided to make another step forward: after a very long pause, we ventured to put forward in 1995 to our members that the Croatian Immunological Society restored the institution of regular annual meetings. Thanks to Sabina Rabatić, the financial situation was favourable and, encouraged by international support, we thought that it would be advisable if the meetings involved international par- ticipation. Thus, in the first issue of the Society information in 1995, we suggested an at a glance program of regular annual Society meeting at the end of November. In April, we forwarded letters to invited lecturers, and the following of them replied: Sinigaglia (Milan), A. Mitchinson (Berlin), G.Wick (Innsbruck), M.L.Kapsenberg (Amsterdam), K.Havemann (Mar- burg), U.Kozinowsky (Ulm) i C.R. Stokes (Bristol).

The war broke out in May in Zagreb unexpectedly loud and clear. The words by Francesco Sinigaglia in his letter where he accepted our invitation will remain in memory for all time: »Thank you for your very kind letter inviting me to the next annual meeting on November 23rd in Zagreb. The day your letter arrived the Italian television announced the dropping of bombs in Zagreb. I was shocked and saddened once again. I have good friends living in Croatia and in the past I have visited your contry several times… I am delighted and honoured by your invitation and if the situation permits I will definitely accept your invitation«.

The situation permitted it to happen. We had an excellent meeting12.


Activity of the Croatian Immunological Society goes deep into the scientific life in Croatia. It has been productive, rich, in- ternationally recognized, and it affected the quality (and quantity) of basic and applied (clinical immunology) science and higher education (graduate and postgraduate). The Society Board must encourage Society members to become recognizable by their intellectual contribution and presence in scientific population. In return, the Society offers much. In the first place, it is identity, professional association and friendly support, while excellent newsletter, quality lectures, meetings, and even a (small) financial assistance also cannot be disregarded.

To be a president of such a society is great responsibility which should be assumed with humility in regard to those who performed this duty before. Supervision of an organization in which a president is elected among members who are ready and capable of coping with possible problems in society’s activity rather than wait with folded arms is a unique life experience. It was a great pleasure for me to serve the Society during two and a half years, and I want to express my gratitude to Sabina Ra- batić and Alenka Gagro who were my close collaborators in that period. However, I also thank many members who unself- ishly came to my assistance whenever necessary. The rule according to which a vice-president takes up the duty of a president allows continuity and good level of information about Society’s activities. Thus, it was my pleasure to hand over the office to my vice-president and current president of the Society Sabina Rabatić. I knew that the Society would remain in the same course and that it would serve its members well. And it has happened that way.






1995 – 2000    Sabina Rabatić

In an attempt to leave a written trace to generations that follow on the occasion of such a great anniversary that we cele- brate today, I have a wonderful duty and honor to describe what we were dealing with the period mentioned above. It has not been easy for me, as a markedly emotional person, to sum up the thoughts only about the those activities in the Society where I participated and worked during my entire active life. I can still clearly remember the atmosphere during the first regular So- ciety meeting (in December 1976) in the lecture hall of the 3rd wing of the Ru|er Bošković Institute when I was elected first for an associate member of the Society. As known, Croatian Immunological Society has had strict criteria for acceptance of regular members from the very beginning of its activity. One could become a regular member only after defending a MSc the- sis in immunology. Well, from that moment right until today, I believe that the reasons why I was absent from any of numer- ous Society’s activities were very rare and always justified. One of my first duties in the Society was to organize famous Wednes- day meetings in the then trendily equipped classroom in the basement of the Institute of Immunology. Elderly members may remember those hanging TV monitors which Professor Ikić had had installed in that classroom so that students could, as part of practical classes in immunology, observe, e.g., dissections of laboratory animals. Famous and excellent discussions were tak- ing place in that room that have in a way determined my scientific interest and developed the necessary scientific criticality.

Also, my propensity to collect money was very soon noticed and during Professor Branko Vitale’s term of office as a presi- dent, I was entrusted with the honorable duty of the Society’s treasurer. I was performing the duty of a treasurer and vice-pres- ident of the Society also in the 1992–1995 period, and in November 1995 I took up the responsible function of its president. At that moment the Society was actually on an upturn after a heavy struggle for its regained international recognition. The criteria and tasks that we defined for ourselves were demanding. We started many actions and we were expected to try to con- tinue and develop them. On this occasion, I am going to remind you in a chronological order of some significant activities that we implemented in the period stated above.

1996 In 1996, we organized the second annual meeting of the Society with international participation: »1996 Annual Meeting of the Croatian Immunological Society«, this time in Opatija in September. Three invited lecturers from abroad and 14 se- lected lecturers from Croatia had their presentations in front of 150 participants. The abstracts from this, as well as all other annual meetings organized by the Society, were published in our paper, the journal Periodicum Biologorum.

It was a good introduction to our second international meeting: Third International Meeting »Mechanisms in Local Im- munity«, Opatija, September 25–28, 1996, that takes place every two years in Opatija and has, so to speak, become tradi- otional. The Third Meeting of the Alps-Adria Society for Immunology of Reproduction was held at the same time.

Among other international activities, I would like to single out the participation of our members in the annual meeting of the Austrian Society for Allergology and Immunology (ÖGAI) in Vienna, for which the organizers offered three bur- saries to members of our Society. It was at the same time the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Austrian Society, and collaboration with the Croatian Immunological Society was emphasized in many occasional speeches.

The Society organized election and nomination of members for the bursaries offered by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) in collaboration with Fondazione Callerio Trieste for the 18th UICC Tumour Biology Training Course in Trieste and Rijeka on June 20–26, 1996. Seven of our members obtained bursaries for that course. In that year, the Great Council of Croatian Immunological Society reached a decision on election and announcement of the first hon- orary member of the Society. It was Prof C.A. Janeway Jr., Yale University, New Haven, USA, who arrived in Zagreb on our invitation and a plaque was awarded to him on that occasion.

We were also honored by lectures of Professor Luka Milas, Houston, Professor J. Stein Streilein, Miami, Professor W. Streilein, Boston, and Professor A.M. Shamsuddin, Baltimore.

Regarding international activity of the Society, it should be mentioned that Croatian Immunological Society forwarded a re- quest to the European Federation of Immunological Societies (EFIS) to organize John Humphrey School in Croatia. The request was granted at the session of the EFIS Board held in Paris on November 12, 1996. The organization was approved of an international immunology school entitled »Effector Functions of Immune Cells« to be held in 1998 in Dubrovnik.

Activities in the country were oriented toward organization of regular monthly lectures (there were 12), admission of potential new Society members (six new members), publication of information (three issues), and the like.

1997 In ever more difficult material circumstances in science, we succeeded in our intention and maintained continuity in organizing annual Society meetings. I believe that all of you remember the meeting in the old City Hall in the Zagreb upper town, entitled: »1997 Annual Meeting of the Croatian Immunological Society«, held on November 6–7, 1997. On that occasion, we had with us very dear guests among whom there was also EFIS president Professor Israel Pecht. We really had eminent lecturers with excellent topics, including also considerable activity of our members.

In 1997, the largest European meeting of immunologists was held, i.e. the 13th European Immunological Congress in Amsterdam. We organized a trip to this congress yet we must state with regret that only 10 of our members were able to participate in it.

EFIS Commission for European Clinical Immunology was set up in that year and I was elected as a Croatian delegate. The Commission convened in Düsseldorf with the aim to prepare a text on the status of profession: immunology in Eu- rope and preparation of a proposal for education and specialist training in immunology. The text has been finished and will soon be printed in the journal Immunology Today. This issue indeed deserves to be broadly discussed by all mem- bers of the Society and imposes the need to organize a specific meeting on this topic.

Besides in EFIS, the Society is an active member in one other international professional organization – ECLM (Euro- pean Confederation for Laboratory Medicine). During 1997, we attended the meeting that was organized in Düsseldorf and the electoral meeting of this Confederation.

Among activities in the country in 1997, we should point out the celebration of the anniversary of the Croatian Society of Natural Sciences (CSNS), dedicated to a great Croatian natural scientist and founder of CSNS Spiridion Brusina. Upon initiative from our Society, honorary lecture was held on that occasion by Prof. Thomas J. Gill. Prof. Gill was awarded the plaque of a honorary member of our Society and a medal with the image of Spiridion Brusina.

We launched a drive to grant the Society’s annual award to young members for the best scientific paper in immunology. In 1997, this award was granted to Mirjana Kljajić-Turkalj, MSc. The Society was the proponent for the state science award. After selection procedure, we proposed Prof. P. Lučin. We are glad to be able to point that State awards for sci- ence were granted to as many as three of our members (Pero Lučin, Krešimir Pavelić and Alemka Markotić). We are also pleased by the fact that we have been continually rejuvenating. In 1997, we had six new members.

1998 Our 30th anniversary year abounded in activities. First we had – and it was the greatest until then, Fourth International Meeting »Mechanisms in Local Immunity« in Opatija. Over 200 active participants with 130 presentations bear evidence that the team led by Prof. Rukavina exerted great efforts in organization of that meeting which is today still one of the hallmarks of our Society’s activities.

What is to make our 30th anniversary memorable is certainly the first international school John Humphrey Course that was organized in Croatia. As you probably know, it was held on October 11–14, 1998 in Dubrovnik. It was organized by CIS and supported by EFIS; the School in Dubrovnik gathered 80 participants from Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Great Britain and the USA. Significant contribution to its success was given by excellent lecturers, 13 of them who cre- ated during the full four working days such a scientific atmosphere and level that could make many an international meeting envious. Personally, I consider the organization of that meeting the greatest success of this Society’s Board and therefore I am particularly sorry that a relatively small number of people used this opportunity to see it for themselves.

We organized the fourth annual Croatian Immunological Society meeting dedicated to our anniversary. On that occa- sion we began to arrange the data on activities of our Society. and published a sort of an anthology dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Croatian Immunological Society in croatian. We were aware that this was a result only of our first attempts at setting information in order. We listed possible sections, started to set up the list of all members, tried to find their ac- tual addresses. We collected photos and brief curricula vitae of our members who deceased too early. For the first time we brought together the bibliography of all our members related to the field of immunology. An inventory was made of all books and book chapters that were written by our members. We made a list of awards and acknowledgments granted to our members in that period, as well as of the meetings organized by the Society.

The summary of this activity was published in Immunology Letters in an article entitled: Croatian Immunological So- ciety – 30 years of organized activities. As stated there, analysis of the collected data shows that immunology has a prom- inent place among the scientific disciplines that have most intensely developed in Croatia after World War II.

1999 The Society organized the fifth annual meeting in Zagreb, November 25, 1999. Our outstanding guest this year was S. Romagnani, (Italy), U. Koszinwsky (Germany) and A. Rot (Austria). At this occasion Professsor U. Koszinowski was awarded as honorary member of Croatian Immunological Society.

In cooperation with Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Croatian Immunological Society organized an interna- tional meeting »New insights in posttraumatic stress disorders« in Zagreb. March 1999.

One of the activities done this year in collaboration with Croatian Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunnology was a preparation of the List of diagnostic test in clinical immunology, that are performing in Croatia.

This year we were also honored by lecture of Professor P. Ogra, Galveston, Texas USA.

Again, three of our members were awarded by State awards for science (V. Silobrčić, S. Rabatić, I. Sabolić).

What should I say at the end of this account? I have been active in this Society with much joy and always considered my commitments in it inseparable from my obligations in everyday work. This has been my profession, my vocation, my choice. I have often said that it has been an honor and a privilege to know some of the people that I have worked with. All of them are eminent members of our Society. I am therefore proud and happy that I have myself made a small contribution to the action of the Society for the benefit of all of us.





2000 – 2002    Tanja Marotti

It was my honor and pleasure to be the first president of the Society in 21th century when the new era in immunology starts; it involves proteomics, genomics and metabolomics in immunological investigations as well. The pioneer immunological in- vestigations which involve genomics point up complexibility of immune biology and break many dogmas as »one gene – one protein – one antibody«.

Both proteomics and genomics help us to realize better mechanisms involved in T-cell receptor responses and cytokine network interactions. The human genome project, of which draft version was presented to scientific community in 2000, brought to scientists involved in immunological investigations numerous informations. The collateral damage of this great progress were high expenses of investigations, which is accessible only for laboratories with significant fundings.

2000 On Annual Assembly of the Society held on 8th of March 2000 in Zagreb, Croatian Immunological Society presidency pro- posed new members of working group for specialists in fileld of immunology. The conclusion of the Society Assembly was that criteria for specialization in the field of immunology should be coordinated in accordance to EFIS-a and IUIS criteria.

In December 2000, Annual Meeting of the Society was held at Rudjer Boskovic Institute, in Zagreb.The members pre- sented their work on 18 poster presentations and 15 short oral presentations. All presentations from Annual Meeting were printed in Book of abstracts. More than 100 registrated participitians attended the Meeting.

During 2000, Croatian Immunological Society held 7 monthly seminars. The lectures were: prof. dr. H. Banfić, dr. Ra- jko Kušec, academician V. Silobrčić, ing. M. Hasan, prof. John Gordon (The Medical School, The University of Bir- mingham, UK), dr. Nasim Mavaddat (Wolfson College, Cambridge, UK), Prof G. Poli (Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, Universiti of Torino, Italy).

Also, during 2000 we had three joint seminars together with Croatian Medical Association, Croatian –Austrian Society, and Croatian Physiological Society.

2001 In December 2001, the Society organized 2001 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE CROATIAN IMMUNOLOGICAL SO- CIETY. The Meeting was held at Institute »Rudjer Boskovic« in Zagreb.We had 4 plenar lectures, 9 selected oral presenta- tions and 21 poster presentations. All presentations from 2001 CIS Annual Meeting were printed in Book of Abstracts.

During 2001, we have organized 4 monthly seminars and three joint seminars with other societies.

Croatian Immunological Society parcitipates in organization of several international scientific meetings and trainings: VIII INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY – academician D. Rukavina. Opatija, Croatia 2.7.– 6.7. 2001.








2002-2006       Stipan Jonjić

In 2002 the Annual Meeting was held in Trakošćan (November 22 – 24). Invited speakers were Gottfried Dohr (Graz), Dirk Busch (Munich), John Gordon (Birmingham), Manolis Pasparakis (Rome), Astrid Krmpotić (Rijeka) and Mario Pol- jak (Ljubljana). From 46 posters, 16 were elected for oral presentation.

Participants of the Annual Meeting visited castle Trakošćan, and after that the gala dinner was held with poster awards and election of new members. John Gordon was elected an Honorary Member of the Society.

In 2003 the Annual Meeting was held in Brijuni (October 17 – 19). Invited speakers were Marko Radić (Memphis), Cris- tina Cerboni (Rome), Mathias Müller (Wien), Nataša [trbo (Rijeka), Alenka Gagro (Zagreb), Hugo Oscar Besedowsky (Mar- burg Hessen), Robert Dantzer (Bordeaux) and Firdaus Dhabhar (Columbus). From 50 posters, 17 were elected for oral pres- entation.

In 2004 the plan was to organize the Annual Meeting in Vinkovci but in the end, due to some technical problems, it was held in Opatija (October 8 – 10). Invited speakers were Margarita Del Val (Madrid), David Hafler (Boston), Milena Hasan (Ri- jeka), Francesco Colucci (Cambridge), Siniša Volarević (Rijeka), Alemka Markotić (Zagreb), Pero Lučin (Rijeka), Roberto Bi- assoni (Genova), Stephen St. Jeor (Reno), Vlatko Silobrčić (Zagreb). From 48 posters, 13 were elected for oral presentation.

In 2005 the Annual Meeting was held in Božava (Dugi otok) from September 29 till October 2. That year the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka celebrated its 50 th anniversary. Invited speakers were Peter Ghazal (Edinburgh), William Britt (Birmingham), Joanne Trgovcich (Ohio), Mariastefania Antica (Zagreb), Boris Labar (Zagreb), Tihana Lenac (Rijeka), Ana Marušić (Zagreb), Alojz Ihan (Ljubljana), Martin Stacey (Oxford) and Nazzareno Dimasi (Genova). From 54 posters, 19 were elected for oral presentation.

Every Annual Meeting of the Croatian Immunological Society in that period was a great opportunity for members to meet, exchange ideas and information and learn more about work in different labs. Although the activity of the Society was mostly connected with organization of Annual Meetings it is important to emphasize that Croatian Immunological society was also involved in EFIS activities; mostly in activities regarding the Day of Immunology, traditionally held in April. Members of the Society organized a lot of interesting lectures with speakers – respected scientists – from all over the world.







2006 – Sabina Rabatić

I was honored and became again the president of the Society in June 2006. As this was in the middle of the year it was espe- cially convenient for us to implement the new EFIS (The European Federation of Immunological Societies) idea and we organ- ized the »1st Joint Meeting of European National Societies of Immunology« as a part of 16th European Immunology Congress in Paris September 06–09, 2006. Unfortunately, only 30 of our members with 28 presentations were present in Paris. Still, we were very satisfied that 13 scholarships had been awarded to young students to enable their participation at that Congress.

Under the coordination of EFIS all member states were encouraged to organize activities in connection with the Interna- tional Day of Immunology. In order to promote the immunology as a discipline our Society organized an open public lecture

»Influenza: prevention and dilemma«, delivered by dr. Maja [antak. In 2006, eight new members of the Society were elected (A. Tešija Kuna, D. Polančec, I. Slavuljica, I. Gašparović, L. Rnjak, M. Ilić, M. @irović, S. Mandarić). Dr. Milena Hasan was awarded the prestigious EMBO scholarship for postdoctoral improvement in Paris at Institute Pasteur, Department of Im- munology, Cytokines and Lymphocyte Development Unit. The newly created web site of the Society (www.hid-zg.hr) ena- bled us a very good and professional communication and exchange of all relevant information.

1999 A special effort was made to activate more members of the Society to meet on regular monthly bases. We succeeded with this idea and in 2007 our Society organized 9 monthly meetings with very interesting lecturers and topics.


Events within the International Day of Immunology, April 29, 2007

In all member states, under the coordination of EFIS, lectures, TV shows and different manifestations were performed with the goal to improve the knowledge and recognition of immunology as science and profession. The Society joined the action for the immunology popularization on the occasion of the International Day of Immunology this year in the following way:

In collaboration with the editor of the journal GEO the richly illustrated and written in a popular manner the article »Our friend, our enemy – The immunological system« was published in its Croatian edition (April, 2007). The copies of the respec- tive journal were distributed in schools with the idea that the teachers within biology or related courses dedicate a lecture to im- munology and the International Day of Immunology. On the same occasion our members delivered lectures within immunol- ogy and related courses in the biomedical field at the Universities. On the web pages of Zagreb Medical faculty and the Society, the article »The importance of Immunology« by dr. Danka Grčević, the vice president of the Society was published.