As a specialty, endocrinology has focused on biological contributors to disparities in diabetes, obesity and other endocrine disorders. Less attention has been paid, however, to the institutional racism inherent in our healthcare systems and social policies that lead to those biological risk factors.
This lecture addresses the opportunities of our extended life span for individuals and society if health span is extended to approximate life span. It considers the range of health outcomes that would need to be prevented or delayed, and considers the possibilities to accomplish this. Dr. Fried will offer a perspective that increased health span combined with enabling the potential social capital of older adults could set the stage for a previously unimagined “Third Demographic Dividend” for societies.
Kay Tye’s lab seeks to understand the neural-circuit basis of emotion that leads to motivated behaviors such as social interaction, reward-seeking and avoidance. This talk will describe how her lab employs a multidisciplinary approach including cellular-resolution recordings, behavioral assays and optogenetics, a technique that activates certain cells with light, to find mechanistic explanations for how these emotional and motivational states influence behavior in health and disease.
Genomic epidemiology has enabled critical insights during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the forefront of these insights has been SARS-CoV-2’s remarkable potential for adaptive evolution. Dr. Bedford will discuss the evolutionary dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 with a focus on the emergence of variant of concern and variant of interest viruses. He will characterize mutational patterns in these variant viruses and chart their spread across geographies.
Susan Parkhurst, Ph.D. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Whenever an organism sustains an injury, either to single cells or to a tissue, it must act quickly to repair the wound to prevent cell death, loss of tissue integrity, and invasion by microorganisms. The Parkhurst Lab uses Drosophila as a genetic model to dissect the molecular and cellular mechanisms underpinning the cell wound repair process.
Substance use disorders are a global public health concern with less-than-optimal treatment outcomes. This is most evident with the national emergency declared against the opioid crisis. Our ability to prevent the spread of drug abuse and aid individuals with a substance use disorder is handicapped by the lack of sufficient treatment modalities. For example, many patients receiving treatment relapse; therefore, there is an urgent need to discover effective medications to treat opioid abuse.
Dr. Zon will discuss two critical avenues of his current research: identifying the genes that direct stem cells to become cancers or to develop into more specialized blood or organ cells; and developing chemical or genetic suppressors to cure cancers and many other devastating diseases. In the past five years, his lab has collected more than 30 mutants affecting the hematopoietic system. Several represent excellent animal models of human disease.
Dr. Brigitte Widemann is a pediatric oncologist with the primary interest of developing effective therapies for children and adults with genetic tumor predisposition syndromes, such as neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), and rare solid tumors through innovative clinical trial design. Dr. Widemann currently serves as the head of the Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics Section and as Chief of NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch. Anticancer drug discovery and development are moving towards a more rational and targeted approach.
Investigation of the basic mechanisms by which cytokines and interferons exert their effect led to the discovery of a new paradigm in cell signaling, namely the JAK-STAT pathway. These discoveries revealed a remarkably direct mode of regulating gene expressing but also provided insights into mechanisms of human disease and impetus to generate a new class of therapeutic agents. With new tools, it has also become clearer that cytokines and interferons have a profound epigenomic impact, and they themselves have complex genomic organization.
Science is a beautiful rational process of highly structured inquiry that allows us to learn more about our world. By it, we see past old theories, and build new ones. We realize a phenomenon occurs because of this, and not that. Perennially the skeptic, we spar with our own internal models of how things might happen: always questioning, ever critical, rarely certain. What if we were to turn this audacious questioning towards—not science—but how we do science? Not broadly a natural phenomenon but more specifically a human phenomenon?
This page was last updated on Thursday, November 18, 2021