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Host-Pathogen Seminar Series 2009-2010



September 28, 2009 

Stuart Levitz, MD, Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 

"Bricks in the wall: Deciphering and exploiting innate recognition of fungi"

This seminar was co-sponsored by The Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute

Our laboratory studies the mechanisms by which fungal pathogens are innately recognized by the host, leading to an inflammatory response and the initiation of acquired immunity.  We are focused upon responses to the three major components of the fungal cell wall; mannans, β-glucans and chitin.
Novel vaccine platforms are being constructed which incorporate fungal cell wall components, enabling targeting of antigens to dendritic cells and subsequent biased T cell responses. 


October 12, 2009 

Sergio Grinstein, PhD, Professor, Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

"Signaling phagocytosis: receptors, phospholipids and surface charges"

Phagocytosis is key to innate immunity and is also central to the clearance of apoptotic cells.  The seminar will describe studies of the molecular mechanisms underlying particle binding, engulfment and degradation, using fluorescent probes to image receptors, lipid mediators and the surface charge of the membrane during the course of phagocytosis.


November 30, 2009 

Ralph Isberg, PhD, Professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Department of Microbiology, Tufts University, Boston, MA

"Multiple paths to host cell manipulation by a bacterial pathogen"

This seminar was co-sponsored by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) 

The work in my laboratory is directed toward investigating the molecular mechanisms of bacterial uptake and intravacuolar growth in host cells. The investigation of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis invasin protein has been the primary focus of our studies on uptake, and analyses of intravacuolar growth have been performed using Legionella pneumophila. Genetic analysis of these organisms is relatively facile, and each promotes cellular events that are observed with many other pathogens. The most exciting recent development is our identification of effector proteins that are translocated into target cells by L. pneumophila and the characterization of signaling pathway for uptake of Yersinia.




April 19, 2010 

Gregory Martin, PhD, Professor of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University and Boyce Schulze Downey Chair, Boyce Thompson Institute

"Bacterial elicitation and evasion of plant immunity"

This seminar was co-sponsored by: The Department of Plant Pathology

NOTE: This seminar will take place in room H1213 Ross Heart Hospital.

The Martin laboratory studies the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenesis, plant disease susceptibility, and plant immunity. Most of our research focuses on bacterial speck disease which is caused by the infection of tomato leaves with the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato.