DaNGeRous Indigestion and Immunity to Cancer
Reis e Sousa is a senior group leader and assistant research director at the Francis Crick Institute, UK, and head of its Immunobiology Laboratory. He also is Professor of Immunology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London and holds honorary professorships at both University College London (UCL) and King's College London. In addition, he was a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the 1990s. The Reis e Sousa lab studies mechanisms involved in sensing infection, cancer, and tissue injury. Work from the lab has helped to define the cells and pathways involved in innate immune detection of RNA viruses, fungi and dead cells.
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. These innate cells are spread around the body and include dendritic cells (DCs), the chief immune sensors of pathogen invasion and tumor growth. At the molecular level, DCs possess receptors that sense the presence of pathogens and tissue damage. The DCs also signal to control antigen presentation or to regulate a plethora of genes encoding effector proteins that regulate immunity. The lecture will focus on understanding how DCs integrate environmental signals to drive immunity to infection and cancer, with applications in vaccination and immunotherapy.
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