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Current Lecture Season

Biophysics and biology of k+ channels

September 27, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Roderick MacKinnon, M.D., Rockefeller University

Ion channels catalyze the diffusion of inorganic ions down their electrochemical gradients across cell membranes. Because the ionic movements are passive, ion channels would seem to be extraordinarily simple physical systems, yet they are responsible for electrical signaling in living cells. Among their many functions, ion channels control the pace of the heart, regulate the secretion of hormones into the bloodstream, and generate the electrical impulses underlying information transfer in the nervous system.

Systemic immunity protects the mind: Can immune checkpoint blockade combat Alzheimer’s disease?

October 11, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Michal Schwartz, Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science

It is now widely accepted that immune surveillance is required for supporting brain functional plasticity and repair. Participating cells include the microglia, the resident myeloid immune cells of the brain, circulating monocytes, and CD4+ T cells. Over the years, we demonstrated that leukocytes supporting the brain can gain access to the brain through a unique compartment within the brain territory, the chroid plexus epithelium (CP) at the blood-cerebrospinal fluid-barrier (B-CSF-B), remote from the brain parenchyma.

Deconstructing lifecourse mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease disparities

October 18, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Jennifer J. Manly, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Manly aims to improve the diagnostic accuracy of neuropsychological tests when used to detect cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease among African American and Hispanic elders. This work clarifies the independent influences of language, acculturation, educational experiences, racial socialization, and socioeconomic status on cognitive test performance, with the ultimate goal of understanding more about the relationship between culture and cognition.

Computing cures: discovery through the lens of a computational microscope

October 25, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Rommie E. Amaro, Ph.D., UC San Diego

Dr. Amaro’s scientific interests lie at the intersection of computer-aided drug discovery and biophysical simulation methods. She has a long-standing interest in incorporating structural and dynamical information derived from all-atom molecular dynamics simulations in drug discovery programs, and has worked in a variety of disease areas, including infectious diseases and cancer. Her lab’s work on p53 revealed a novel druggable pocket that clarified the mechanism of action for a compound in clinical trials.

The two faces of the IL-15- Janus Kinase-Stat system: implications for the immunotherapy of autoimmune diseases and cancer

November 1, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Thomas A. Waldmann, M.D., National Cancer Institute

Dr. Walmann will present the annual William Paul lecture. Dr. Waldmann defined the IL-2 receptor alpha and beta subunits using the daclizumab antibody he discovered, an antibody that is approved by the FDA. He co-discovered IL-15 and performed the first in-human clinical trial with this agent in patients with malignancy. Furthermore, Waldmann defined molecular abnormalities of the common gamma cytokine, Jak/Stat signaling pathway in HTLV-1 associated adult T-cell lymphoma and translated this discovery with a trial of a Jak inhibitor in patients with this disorder.

From human genetics to therapeutic hypothesis for nervous system disorders: pain and Alzheimer’s disease

November 8, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Morgan Sheng, MBBS, Ph.D., Genetech, Inc.

Dr. Sheng is Vice-President, Neuroscience, and responsible for directing neuroscience research and drug discovery efforts at Genentech. An expert on synapse biology, Dr. Sheng is now focused on the genetic underpinnings and pathogenic mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, fronto-temporal dementia. In this translational context, recent research activities of the Sheng lab have centered on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of synapse loss, regulation of mitophagy, microglial involvement in neurodegeneration, and functions of TREM2.

Establishing causality in microbiome studies

November 14, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Rob Knight, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

The Knight Lab uses and develops state-of-the-art computational and experimental techniques to ask fundamental questions about the evolution of the composition of biomolecules, genomes, and communities in different ecosystems, including the complex microbial ecosystems of the human body. We subscribe to an open-access scientific model, providing free, open-source software tools and making all protocols and data publicly available in order to increase general interest in and understanding of microbial ecology, and to further public involvement in scientific endeavors more generally.

Cellular communication: how cells control who they’re talking to and what they’re saying

December 6, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Michael B. Elowitz, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

In multicellular organisms, a handful of intercellular communication pathways, such as Notch and BMP, play an outside role in controlling cell fate decisions. While we have much information about the specific molecules and interactions that comprise these pathways, we often understand little about the particular signal processing behaviors each pathway provides. We have been developing a ‘build-to-understand’ approach to this problem, reconstructing or re-wiring these pathways using synthetic biology approaches, and analyzing their dynamic behaviors at the level of individual cells.

Translational fidelity and neurodegeneration

December 13, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Susan L. Ackerman, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

The goal of the Ackerman laboratory is to define the molecular pathways necessary to maintain homeostasis in both developing and aging mammalian neurons. To do this they utilize forward genetics to identify mutations that are associated with loss of neurons in the aging mouse brain. To further dissect pathways underlying homeostatic disruption and disease, they also use forward genetics to identify genetic variants that enhance or suppress neural phenotypes.

Microbiota-mediated defense against antibiotic-resistant infections

January 10, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Eric Pamer, M.D., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria generally begin with colonization of mucosal surfaces, in particular the intestinal epithelium. The intestinal microbiota provides resistance to infection with highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), Klebsiella pneumoniae and Clostridium difficile, the major cause of hospitalization-associated diarrhea.

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The page was last updated on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 4:07pm