Dr. Harry Greenberg, senior associate dean for research and Joseph D. Grant professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, will present the annual NIAID Robert M. Chanock Memorial Lecture. His talk, “Innate and Acquired Immunity to Rotavirus: New Mechanisms and Old Tricks,” will take place on Tuesday, Apr. 28 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.
Greenberg will discuss rotaviruses, a genus of viruses that cause severe and often fatal diarrhea in children, especially in poor countries. Rotaviruses are regulated by a variety of innate and acquired host immune responses. While they are generally good at evading the host’s innate immune response, rotaviruses have been less successful in circumventing the host’s acquired immune system. A variety of studies have shown that a single natural rotavirus infection or vaccination with a single type of rotavirus will protect against many types of subsequent rotavirus-associated diarrheal disease, especially severe disease. To track where this immunity develops, Greenberg’s group isolated rotavirus-specific B cells and used gene sequencing to map the possible evolution of rotavirus-specific antibodies. Their results identified specific targets that—with further characterization—will provide the basis for designing more effective future vaccines.
Greenberg was a co-inventor of the first effective rotavirus vaccine; his studies have helped define the nature of rotavirus immunity and pathogenesis. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College and his M.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed residency training in internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital in New York and a fellowship in gastroenterology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He served as a medical officer in NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases for 9 years before joining the Stanford faculty as an associate professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology. He also works as director of Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education.