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2015-2016 IMS Seminars Season Schedule

Immunology and Microbial Sciences Affinity Group ImageSeminars are held Thursdays @ 4:00 - 5:00 pm in The Committee Lecture Hall of the Molecular Biology Building at The Scripps Research Institute in California, unless otherwise noted.

Students and post-docs at Scripps can reserve a space for lunch with the speaker by emailing Ivy Chester.



2015 Schedule

2015 La Jolla Immunology Conference

Sep 29 – Oct 1 at the Salk Institute, La Jolla

Keynote Speakers:

Kris Hogquist University of Minnesota   

Art Weiss University of California, San Francisco

See the exciting program an register for the event 


Richard Lerner, MD                                         

Institute Professor
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, TSRI

More info

“An agonist antibody that induces human malignant cells to kill one another” 


An attractive, but as yet generally unrealized, approach to cancer therapy concerns discovering agents that change the state of differentiation of the cancer cells. Recently, we have discovered a phenomenon that we call “receptor pleiotropism” where agonist antibodies against known receptors induce cell fates that are very different from those induced by the natural agonist to the same receptor. Here, we will report on an antibody that converts acute myeloblastic leukemic (AML) cells into natural killer cells.  The antibody-induced killer cells make large amounts of perforin, interferon γ, and granzyme B and attack and kill other members of the leukemic cell population.


Lora Hooper, PhD

Immunology, Microbiology
University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center

More info

“Microbiota-Immune System Interactions in the Intestine”  

Our intestines are home to trillions of bacteria that help us to digest our food and fend off potential pathogenic invaders. These bacteria are in close contact with the epithelial lining of the intestine, which produces proteins that limit bacterial invasion into our deeper tissues. Our biochemical and structural studies of these proteins are enhancing our understanding of how we maintain a symbiotic relationship with our intestinal bacteria.


Herbert “Skip” Virgin, MD, PhD    - canceled     

Professor and Chair,

Pathology and Immunology

Washington University, St. Louis

More info

“Role of Autophagy and Autophagy Genes in Inflammation and Immunity ”

Dr. Virgin will present new research indicating that autophagy and autophagy genes play an essential role in limiting inflammation. Studies on infection and auto-inflammatory diseases will be presented along with studies indicating that autophagy genes function in cell- and tissue-specific manners through both canonical autophagy and topologically distinct cell biology processes related to autophagy.  These studies together indicate that autophagy genes orchestrate key aspects of cell intrinsic immunity to benefit the host. 



IMS Faculty Retreat 2015

Nov 9 at Rancho Valencia, Rancho Santa Fe

A one-day Department Retreat for IMS Faculty. Special presentation by Professor Emeritus, Frank Chisari, will begin the seminars. By invitation only.  

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Luca Guidotti, PhD                                          

Head, Immunopathology Unit

San Raffaele Institute, Milano

More info

“Determinants of hepatic CD8+ T cell trafficking, antigen recognition and effector function”

Luca Guidotti will present data recently published in Cell that describe in vivo how circulating virus-specific effector CD8+ T cells reach and attack liver cells (hepatocytes) that replicate the hepatitis B virus (HBV). To witness these immune cells in action in real time, Guidotti and coworkers coupled advanced dynamic imaging techniques and dedicated animal models of HBV infection.


Juan Carlos de la Torre, PhD                              

Department of Immunology and Microbial Science

The Scripps Research Institute

More info

“Novel Approaches To Antiviral Drug And Vaccine Development Against Hemorrhagic Fever Arenaviruses”

Several arenaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever disease in humans and pose serious public health problems in their endemic regions. Moreover, evidence indicates that the worldwide-distributed prototypic arenavirus LCMV is a neglected human pathogen of clinical significance. Concerns posed by human pathogenic are exacerbated because of a lack of FDA-licensed vaccines and current anti-arenaviral therapy being limited to an off-label use of ribavirin that is only partially effective. We will discuss advances in arenavirus molecular and cell biology that have opened new approaches to antiviral drug and vaccine development to combat human pathogenic arenaviruses.


Robert Stahelin, PhD                                         

Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

University of Notre Dame

More info

“Ebola virus and Marburg virus use different modes of lipid gymnastics to assemble and form new viral particles”

Filoviruses, which include Ebola and Marburg viruses, bud from the plasma membrane of the host cell.  These studies have investigated the molecular basis of the plasma membrane assembly, budding and egress of these viruses, which is regulated by their matrix protein, VP40. VP40 plasma membrane binding displays sensitivity to the lipid composition in the plasma membrane, which can be altered to inhibit Filovirus assembly and egress.



2016 Schedule

Michael Diamond, MD, PhD                          


Washington University, St. Louis

More info 


 “A whole genome CRISPR-Cas9 screen identifies host genes required for flavivirus infection”

West Nile virus and related flaviviruses (e.g., Dengue, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis viruses) are mosquito-transmitted pathogens that infect hundreds of millions of people annually, with no antiviral therapy available. We performed a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9-based screen to identify host genes that when edited resulted in reduced flavivirus infection. In this talk, I will describe the screen and how it led us to define a novel host pathway involved in protein processing that is required for flavivirus infection.




Jan 14 at 4:30 PM
Auditorium at TSRI - 10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive, San Diego

"T Cell Memory and Exhaustion"

presented by:

Emory Vaccine Center, Atlanta

Reception to follow in the Faculty Club.

For directions and inquiries, please contact


2016 Pathogenesis Affinity Group Annual Retreat 

Jan 26 at Rancho Valencia, Rancho Santa Fe

Annual one-day Retreat for PAG affiliates.
We have assembled a superb group of speakers covering many different areas of research
. By invitation only.


TSRI Faculty Lecture Series

Feb 10 @ 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Valerie Timken Amphitheater, Scripps Green Hospital

"An Alternative Approach to an HIV Vaccine"

Presented by: Michael Farzan, Ph.D

Vice Chair & Professor, Dept. of Immunology & Microbial Science, TSRI


James Allison, PhD                                            

Chair, Immunology

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


More info

“Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy:  New insights, opportunities and prospects for a cure”

Immune checkpoint blockade has revolutionized cancer treatment and offers the possibility of cures in several types of the disease. Dr. Allison will discuss the history of this novel immunotherapy, the mechanisms involved, and where the field may be headed.


Jason McLellan, PhD                                          

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

More info

“Inhibition of RSV Fusion by Antibodies and Small Molecules”

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children and the elderly. My presentation will describe our recent investigation of small-molecule fusion inhibitors and our characterization of the antibody response to RSV infection in infants and adults.


Prof. Carola Vinuesa, PhD            @ 12 PM                      

Head of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease

The Australian National University, Canberra 

More info

“Identification of rare variants in human B cell genes that cause systemic autoimmunity”

Autoimmune diseases are incurable and thought to be mainly polygenic. Decades of studies in mice have failed to translate into effective therapies. We have taken a human-to-mouse-to human approach to understand pathogenesis. By introducing rare variants found in humans into mice we can prove disease causation, illuminate pathogenic pathways, and stratify patients for targeted therapies.


Bali Pulendran, PhD                                        

Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine

More info

Systems Vaccinology: Probing the human immune system with vaccines


Shane Crotty, PhD            


Professor, Division of Vaccine Discovery

La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology

More info

"Regulation of Tfh differentiation and B cell responses in the context of vaccines and infections"



Robert Seder, PhD                                             

Chief, Cellular Immunology Section

Vaccine Research Center

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)        

More info


Terence Dermody, MD                                        

Director, Division of Infectious Diseases

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

More info


Carl June, MD                                          

Professor in Immunotherapy

Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

University of Pennsylvania


More info


Ron Germain, MD, PhD                                           


Chief, Laboratory of Systems Biology
Chief, Lymphocyte Biology Section

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


More info


"Imaging Immunity: Creating a Spatiotemporal Understanding of Host Defense"



Leo Stamatatos, PhD            @ 1 PM                                                  


Affiliate Professor, Global Health

School of Public Health

University of Washington


More info


"Improving the odds of germline BCR-binding immunogens to succeed"



Sean Whelan, PhD                                             


Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology

Harvard Medical School


More info


"Structure and function of the replication machinery of negative-sense RNA viruses"


Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, PhD                       

Professor of Virology

University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine

More info


Robert Siliciano, MD, PhD                               

Professor, The Johns Hopkins University

HHMI Investigator

Discipline: Medicine and Translational Research, Virology

More info

“Update on HIV Cure Research”

Curing HIV infection will require elimination of a stable reservoir of latently infected cells.



James Binley, PhD             


Professor, HIV Vaccine Research

San Diego Biomedical Research Institute

More info



Nick Gascoigne, PhD                               

Professor, Head of Dept. of Microbiology

Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
HHMI Investigator

More info

“TCR signal strength regulation by Themis and the Shp1 (Ptpn6) and Shp2 (Ptpn11) phosphatases"


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