The roles of clathrin, an intracellular protein, in cellular communication
and the immune response are the focus of this year's Margaret Pittman
Lecture. It will be presented by Dr. Frances M. Brodsky, professor
of biopharmaceutical sciences, immunology, microbiology and pharmaceutical
chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. The lecture
will be given Wednesday, Mar. 1 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium,
During her talk, "Evolution of Membrane Traffic: Intelligent Design
or Not?" Brodsky will examine the evolution of the clathrin protein
from a structural point of view and the evolution of its cellular
including its role in the uptake and regulation of antigen
receptors on both B cells and T cells, as well as new research
examining the protein's role in muscle.
|Dr. Frances M. Brodsky
An immunologist, Brodsky has helped bridge the gap between immunology
and cell biology by using monoclonal antibodies to understand and
characterize clathrin. The protein's name stems from the Greek
word "clathrate," meaning "basket-like," reflecting the protein's
As a doctoral student at England's Oxford University, Brodsky
applied the new technology of monoclonal antibodies to study human
histocompatibility molecules. During postdoctoral research at both
Harvard University and Stanford University, she and her colleagues
produced the first clathrin monoclonal antibodies, which led to
the creation of reagents that are still widely used today. Further,
she and her colleagues discovered the important role clathrin plays
in transporting histocompatibility molecules and their stimulation
of an immune response.
Brodsky received a B.A. with honors in biochemical sciences from
Harvard in 1976. In 1979, she was awarded a D.Phil. degree for
her doctoral research at Oxford's genetics laboratory. After 3
years of postdoctoral research, she joined Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry
Systems in California in 1982 and established her own laboratory.
In 1987, she returned to academic life as an assistant professor
at UCSF. She became a full professor at the university in 1994.
Brodsky has written three science-related murder mysteries under
the pen name B.B. Jordan. In 2000, she and three colleagues cofounded Traffic,
the international journal of intracellular transport. No stranger
to NIH, Brodsky served as a member of the board of scientific counselors
for NIAID from 1998 to 2004 and has participated in several ad
hoc committees designed to evaluate NIH programs. She is a member
of the American Association of Immunologists, the American Society
for Cell Biology and the Biochemical Society of the United Kingdom
and is the author of hundreds of journal and textbook articles.
The lecture honors Dr. Margaret Pittman, NIH's first female lab
chief, who made significant contributions to microbiology and vaccine
development, particularly in the areas of pertussis and tetanus,
during her long career at NIAID.
The lecture is part of the NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon
Lecture Series. For more information, contact Sandeep Nair at (301)