Estes To Deliver NIAID Chanock Lecture
Virologist Dr. Mary K. Estes will deliver the 2016 NIAID Robert M. Chanock Memorial Lecture. Her talk, “Understanding Human Noroviruses: A Bench to Bedside Story,” will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 9 a.m. in the Bldg. 50 1st floor conference room. The lecture honors Chanock, who served as chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Infectious Diseases for more than three decades.
Estes is the Cullen endowed chair of human and molecular virology and a professor in the department of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. In her lecture, she will address her research to better understand human noroviruses (HuNoVs), the leading causes of gastroenteritis worldwide.
First discovered at NIH by Dr. Al Kapikian using immune electron microscopy in 1972, these significant human pathogens were not well understood for many years for two major reasons: Little was known about the virus’s genes and the virus cannot be grown in cell culture. In 1990, Estes’s laboratory cloned the viral genome, sequenced it and developed molecular diagnostics, leading to a new understanding of the virus’s genes and the significance of these viruses as human pathogens worldwide.
Still, however, HuNoVs do not grow well in cell cultures. Recently, Estes’s lab has evaluated whether HuNoVs replicate in new cell culture models called human intestinal enteroids, which would help to understand host physiology as well as host-microbe interactions and pathogenesis. In her presentation, she will discuss the results of these studies and how they have led to a new understanding of HuNoV biology and pathogenesis.
Estes has served on local, state, national and global committees devoted to research and vaccine development. She was co-chair of the board of scientific counselors for NIAID and a scientific advisor for several digestive diseases centers and regional centers of excellence of emerging infections and biodefense. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), the National Academy of Science and the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas.