The 2009 Lectures in Biology: IMMUNOBIOLOGY

The immune system is among the most fundamental requirements for survival. Thus, it not surprising that many pathogen-sensing systems and immune pathways are evolutionary conserved throughout the species. To this end, a basic problem confronting all living organisms is how to defend against foreign invasion while maintaining control of the defending forces (homeostatic regulation). Accordingly many of the human diseases are now thought to be the result of dysfunctional innate and/or adaptive immune responses to external pathogens or endogenous molecules so called danger signals derived from a "stressed host". These are collectively called stress associated molecular patterns (SAMPs) and include among others products of apoptotic or necrotic cells, metabolic products, and more recently even nutrients.

Inflammation-an adaptive response triggered by a variety noxious stimuli and conditions including pathogens, triggers the recruitment of leukocytes and plasma proteins to the affected tissue site and underlies many of the human diseases associated with the immune system. In contrast to infectious diseases, in autoimmune diseases the production of inflammatory cytokines and the resultant systemic inflammation are thought to be induced by endogenous molecule. The realization that there is a cross-talk between the innate and the specific immune response has motivated investigators to take a closer look at the contribution of innate immunity in these diseases.

Immunobiology has received increased attention in recent years thanks to a combination of major advances in the field -made possible through interdisciplinary approaches- together with the potential for their application in medicine. Some of the best known applications of immunology in medicine include clinical immunology, diagnostic immunology, immunotherapy, and vaccines. The dynamism in the field is also reflected by the emphasis placed by leading schools of Biology and Medicine around the world, in supporting multidisciplinary departments or institutes of Immunology.

The "Onassis Series of Lectures in Immunobiology", seeks to provide an overview of major advances and evolving concepts in the field while at the same highlighting their relevance to health and disease. Some of the questions to be addressed in the meeting include: What are the antimicrobial and immune responses in Drosophila and Mosquitoes? How could they be exploited to advance our understating of the immune system in mammals and the protection against major health problems such as malaria? What determines the delicate balance between immunoprotection vs immunopathology in viral infections, a common cause of disease whose spectrum ranges from isolated disease to pandemics? How are B and T lymphocytic responses regulated and how could they be used for the development of vaccines or for specific immunotherapy? What controls the development of lymphoid organs in the gut- an important site for the first encounter of the host with exogenous pathogens and molecules? How environmental stimuli impact on innate and adaptive immune responses in the body and how are these regulated? What are the most important mechanisms accounting for the autoimmune diseases? Which genes and how are they placed in the mosaic of autoimmunity? What have we learned from studying autoimmunity and inflammation in humans and how could this be translated into better diagnostic and therapeutic tools?

Rolf Zinkernagel
Professor, Experimental Immunology, University of Zurich,
Nobel Prize (1996) in Medicine

Dimitrios Boumpas
Professor, Head of Division of Internal Medicine,
University of Crete, Greece

Jules Hoffmann
Professor, Research Director,
Member of the Board of Administrators of CNRS, Paris, France

Fotis Kafatos
Professor, Immunogenomics Chair,
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, UK

Dimitrios Kioussis
Head of Division of Molecular Immunology, MRC,
National Institute of Medical Research, London, UK

Antonio Lanzavecchia
Professor, Director of the Institute of Research in Biomedicine,

Gitta Stockinger
Molecular Immunology Group Leader, MRC,
National Institute of Medical Research, London, UK

Argyrios Theofilopoulos
Professor, Chairman of the Department of Immunology and Microbial Science,
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), USA

Monday 27 July 09:00 - 09:45 R e g i s t r a t i o n
  09:45 - 10:00 Welcome
  10:00 - 11:15 "The Antimicrobial Defense of Drosophila:A Paradigm for Innate Immunity"
by Jules Hoffmann References:1,2
  11:15 - 11:45 B r e a k
  11:45 - 13:00 "Malaria and Immune Responses in Mosquitoes"
 by Fotis Kafatos
  13:00 - 14:30L u n c h    B r e a k
Tuesday 28 July 09:30 - 10:45 "Immunoprotections vs. Immunopathology"
by Rolf Zinkernagel
  10:45 - 11:15 B r e a k
  11:15 - 12:30 "Anti-Viral Antibody and Immunological Memory Responses"
by Rolf Zinkernagel
  12:30 - 14:00 L u n c h    B r e a k
Wednesday 29 July 09:30 - 10:45 "T lymphocyte differentiation, migration and immune regulation"
by Antonio Lanzavecchia
  10:45 - 11:15 B r e a k
  11:15 - 12:30 "Dissecting the human antibody response to pathogens"
by Antonio Lanzavecchia
  12:30 - 14:00L u n c h    B r e a k
  20:00 "Strengths and Limitations of Vaccines"
by Rolf Zinkernagel - PUBLIC LECTURE
Thursday 30 July 09:30 - 10:45 "The impact of environmental stimuli on innate and adaptive immune responses"
by Gitta Stockinger
  10:45 - 11:15 B r e a k
  11:15 - 12:30 "Common Regulatory Mechanisms in enteric lymphoid and neuronal organogenesis"
by Dimitrios Kioussis
  12:30 - 14:00L u n c h    B r e a k
Friday 31 July 09:30 - 10:45 "The Autoimmune Diseases: Diversity and Mechanisms"
by Argyrios Theofilopoulos
  10:45 - 11:15 B r e a k
  11:15 - 12:30 "The Genetics of Systemic Autoimmunity"
by Argyrios Theofilopoulos
  12:30 - 14:00 L u n c h    B r e a k
  14:00 - 15:15 "Autoimmunity and inflammation: From bench to bedside"
by Dimitrios Boumpas
  15:15 - 15:30 Closing Remarks
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