Director’s Lectures Feature Ancient DNA, Immunotherapy
The 2016-2017 Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series returns with 35 planned talks, scheduled for Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m., in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.
The new WALS season gets off to a rousing start with geneticist Dr. David Reich, who will discuss how ancient DNA holds clues to the health of humans today. He will be followed by T-cell pioneer Dr. Carl June, who will talk about the evolution of immunotherapy treatments.
On Sept. 21, Reich, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will deliver the NIH Director’s Lecture (first of four) on “Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.” His research focuses on the impact of human evolutionary history on biology and disease and how complex genetic patterns may cause susceptibility to common diseases among different populations. Beginning in 2010, it became practical to sequence whole genomes from DNA extracted from ancient human bones and to analyze the data to understand changes in biology over time. Reich’s talk will describe the avalanche of new discoveries that have resulted from the technology. The historical perspective that he brings to genetic data has led to a number of new insights about human biology and disease.
On Sept. 28, June, a professor in immunotherapy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, will deliver the NIH Director’s Lecture (second of four) on “Engineering T Cells: Moving Beyond Leukemia.” He is credited with developing the first successful immunotherapy treatment for leukemia using gene-transfer therapy. His laboratory is investigating mechanisms of lymphocyte activation, developing and testing novel forms of immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infections and studying the potential use of adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and HIV infection. Several clinical trials involving adoptive immunotherapy of autologous T cells, allogeneic T cells and genetically engineered T cells are in progress.
For a complete WALS schedule, go to https://oir.nih.gov/wals. For more information and reasonable accommodation, contact Jacqueline Roberts, (301) 594-6747.