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Glimcher To Give Kinyoun Lecture, Oct. 6

By Karen Leighty

On Friday, Oct. 6, Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher will speak on the topic "T Helper Cells: Genes and Development." She is the Irene Heinz Given professor of immunology, Harvard School of Public Health, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her presentation, part of NIAID's Kinyoun Lecture series, will be at 3:30 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10.

The major focus of Glimcher's laboratory is the study of T-helper-cell differentiation. There is now abundant evidence to show that the ratio of Th1 to Th2 cells is highly relevant to clinical diseases, including autoimmune, infectious and allergic diseases. Therefore, the ability to alter the ratios of Th1 and Th2 subsets provides exciting therapeutic possibilities.

Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher

Her laboratory has concentrated its efforts on ways in which this manipulation can be achieved. The researchers demonstrated that co-stimulatory molecules can differentially drive T-helper-cell development. Another approach to altering Th subset ratios, they found, is to increase or block the synthesis of or effects of selected cytokines.

Glimcher's laboratory studies both the function of interleukin-4 (IL-4) and the mechanisms that underlie tissue-specific cytokine gene transcription. Her laboratory has recently defined the genetic basis of IL-4 expression in T cells. Her group identified the proto-oncogene c-maf as the transcription factor responsible for Th2-specific IL-4 expression and subsequently isolated a second novel nuclear protein, NIP45, which together with c-maf and NF-AT allows reconstitution of IL-4 transcription in non-T cells.

Her laboratory has also produced and characterized mice deficient in cytokine-specific transcription factors. Such mice have provided insight into the differential control of cytokine gene expression and have provided powerful models of allergic and autoimmune disease. Her laboratory has isolated a novel transcription factor, T-bet, that singlehandedly controls the transcription of the interferon-g gene. Even more significant, T-bet appears to be the master switch for Th1 lineage commitment.

Glimcher earned her B.A. degree from Radcliffe College in 1972 and her M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1976. Among the numerous honors and awards she has received are the Distinguished Young Investigator Award from the American College of Rheumatology, the Arthritis Foundation's Lee S. Howley Award and the FASEB Excellence in Science Award.

All attendees are invited to join Glimcher at a reception to be held in the Lipsett lobby after her talk.

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