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Viral Noncoding RNAs: Approaching Answers

September 23, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Joan A. Steitz, Ph.D., Yale University

Noncoding (nc)RNAs play pivotal roles in the regulation of gene expression, but exhibit a diversity of functions whether encoded by cellular or viral genomes. One such ncRNA expressed in cells infected by the oncogenic gamma herpesvirus KSHV is the highly abundant polyadenylated nuclear (PAN) RNA, which is required for production and release of new virus particles.

DaNGeRous Indigestion and Immunity to Cancer

September 30, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Caetano Reis e Sousa, D.Phil., The Francis Crick Institute

Innate and adaptive immunity work concertedly in vertebrates to restore homeostasis following pathogen invasion or other insults. Like all homeostatic circuits, immunity relies on an integrated system of sensors, transducers and effectors that can be analyzed in cellular or molecular terms. At the cellular level, T and B lymphocytes act together as an effector arm of immunity that is mobilized in response to signals transduced by innate immune cells that detect a given insult.

Human Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2

October 7, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Michel C. Nussenzweig, M.D., Ph.D. , The Rockefeller University

Dr. Nussenzweig will speak about the development of antibody responses focusing on neutralizing antibody responses to SARS-CoViD-2. Over a decade ago, the Nussenzweig laboratory developed methods for rapid antibody cloning from humans in order to understand humoral immune responses to pathogens beginning with HIV-1. These methods have been widely adapted by others facilitating antibody cloning for multiple human pathogens and their clinical development.

Translating Thought into Blood Flow in the Brain: Capillaries as Sensors of Neural Activity

October 14, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Mark T. Nelson, Ph.D., University of Vermont

Healthy brain function depends on the finely tuned spatial and temporal delivery of blood-borne nutrients to active neurons via the vast, dense capillary network. Cerebral small vessel diseases (SVDs) are a central link between stroke and dementia—two co-morbidities that rank among the most pressing human health issues. Despite the emerging consensus that SVDs are initiated in the endothelium, the early molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown and no specific treatments are yet available.

Therapeutic Opportunities in Glycoscience

October 21, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Ph.D., Stanford University

Cell–surface glycans constitute a rich biomolecular dataset that drives both normal and pathological processes. Their “readers” are glycan–binding receptors that can engage in cell–cell interactions and cell signaling. Dr. Bertozzi's research focuses on mechanistic studies of glycan–receptor biology and applications of this knowledge to new therapeutic strategies. Her recent efforts center on pathogenic glycans in the tumor microenvironment and new therapeutic modalities based on the concept of targeted degradation.

Deep and Wide: The Voyage to Discover Local and Global Health Equity

October 28, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Lisa A. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Cooper's research at Johns Hopkins University has focused on the crisis of inequity in medical care. Dr. Cooper was one of the first scientists to document disparities in the quality of relationships between physicians and patients from socially at-risk groups. A recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Award, she has designed innovative interventions targeting physicians' communication skills, patients' self-management skills, and healthcare organizations' ability to address needs of populations experiencing health disparities.

Gaucher Disease: How a Rare Disease Provides a Window into Common Neurodegenerative Disorders

November 4, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Ellen Sidransky, M.D., National Human Genome Research Institute

Gaucher disease is a rare disorder caused by a hereditary deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase and is characterized by easy bruising, fatigue, anemia, low platelet count, and enlargement of the liver and spleen. Dr. Sidransky played a lead role in establishing the association between glucocerebrosidase and parkinsonism. She also has spearheaded two large international collaborative studies regarding the genetics of Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Rethinking General Anesthesia

November 18, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

We have established a systems neuroscience (conceptual, experimental, data analysis and modeling) paradigm for studying the mechanisms of general anesthesia-induced loss of consciousness.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Capturing Snapshots of Ribonucleotide Reductase in Action

December 2, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Cathy Drennan, Ph.D. , Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The use of radical-based chemistry allows for amazing transformations in living organisms. To carry out their functions, radical enzymes often need to be flexible and assume different conformational states. In this talk, the conformational gymnastics involved in ribonucleotide reduction will be considered. Ribonucleotide reductases (RNRs) are radical enzymes that convert ribonucleotides (the building blocks of RNA) to deoxyribonucleotides (the building blocks of DNA). RNRs are targets for cancer chemotherapies and have been proposed as candidates for antimicrobial therapies.

The Contagion Next Time: Underlying Socioeconomic and Racial Divides and Our Risk from COVID and Future Pandemics

December 16, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Sandro Galea, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.PH., Boston University School of Public Health

Health is a product of a broad range of social and economic conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic showed how longstanding underinvestment in these conditions affected our overall health during a time of crisis and widened health gaps between racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups. COVID-19 illustrates how our extraordinary achievement in biomedical science—evidenced by remarkable advances to a COVID-19 vaccine in record time—is not matched by commensurate achievement in creating the conditions that can generate health in populations.


The page was last updated on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - 10:59am