Schedule for Spring 2013

Microbiology & Immunology - Speaker Seminar Series
Monday - March 18th   12:00 Noon   Upper Aud (3-7619)
Melville A. Hare Memorial Lecture - Hosted by the Virology Students

Vincent R. Racaniello, Ph.D.    VincentRacanielloPhD

Higgins Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine of CUNY

Title:  "Antagonism of innate immunity by picornaviruses"

Student Contacts:  Ryan Connor & Joe Jackson

Research Interest:  Picornaviruses are RNA-containing viruses that cause a variety of human diseases including paralysis (e.g. poliomyelitis), myocarditis, conjunctivitis, and the common cold. Our research focuses on the interaction of viruses with the innate immune system, viral pathogenesis, and viral discovery in wild animals.


Monday - March 18th   4:00 PM   K-207 (Room 2-6408)
Immunology & Infectious Disease IDP Faculty Candidate

Felix Yarovinsky, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Immunology
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Title: "Cell type-specific regulation of host defense to microbial infection"

Chalk Talk:  Tuesday - March 19th**(9:00 AM)**3-9654 KMRB


Friday - March 22nd   8:30 A M   Adolph Aud (Room 1-7619
Microbiology & Immunology Faculty Candidate Seminar and Chalk Talk

Olha Ilnytska, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Host-Pathogen Dynamics Group
Department of Biological Sciences
Rutgers State University of New Jersey
Title: "Co-opted PI4P and Cholesterol Regulate Enteroviral RNA Synthesis"

Chalk Talk:  Friday - March 22nd**3:00-4:00 PM**Room G-9624 KMRB

Monday - March 25th   4:00 PM   K-207 (Room 2-6408)
Co-Sponsored by the Allergy/Immunology & Rheumatology Division
Mariana J. Kaplan MD

Mariana J. Kaplan, M.D.
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
University of Michigan
Title:  The role of neutrophil extracellular traps in the pathogenesis of systemic autoimmune diseases
Host: Jennifer Anolik
Research Abstract:  Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are released via a novel form of cell death called NETosis. NETs, consisting of a chromatin meshwork decorated with antimicrobial peptides, play an important role in the innate response to microbial infections. Recent evidence suggests that NETs may also promote deleterious autoimmune responses and directly damage tissues.  Experimental evidence suggests that NETs participate in pathogenesis of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Indeed, exaggerated NETosis or diminished NET clearance likely increases risk of autoreactivity to NET components. This seminar will review and discuss the mechanisms of NET formation and putative role of NETosis in autoimmunity and organ damage, with a focus on systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis

Monday - April 1st   4:00 PM   K-207 (2-6408)
Co-Sponsored by the Development Center for AIDS Research
Sabine Ehrt PhD

Sabine Ehrt, Ph.D.

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Weill Cornell Medical College
Title:  "Intracellular Survival Strategies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis"
Host:  Martin Pavelka
Research Interests: Dr. Ehrt’s research interests are centered on the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and address the role of the macrophage in the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the molecular mechanisms used by the pathogen to establish persistent infections. She is a recipient of an Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award and an Excellence in Mentoring Award from the WMC Postdoctoral Association. Her research program has maintained continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.


Monday - April 8th   4:00 PM   K-207 (2-6408)
Microbiology Graduate Student Hosted Seminar
Esther Angert PhD

Esther Angert, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Microbiology
Cornell University
Title:  To be announced
Student Contact :  Catlyn Blanchard
Research Interests: Epulopiscium spp. are the largest known heterotrophic bacteria.  Individual, cigar-shaped cells can reach lengths in excess of 600 µm; large enough tobe seen with the naked eye.  In terms of cell volume, Epulopisciumcan be asmuch as a million times larger than a bacterium the size of Escherichia coli.  Another unusual feature of these big bacteria is the manner in which they reproduce.  While most bacteria undergo binary fission - growing to about twice their starting size and dividing into two equivalent daughter cells -- an Epulopiscium cell can produce multiple offspring intracellularly.  These internal offspring grow inside the mother cell until they completely fill the mother cell cytoplasm.  The offspring cells eventually burst through the mother cell envelope and are released.  Morphological and phylogenetic evidence suggests that this novel form of reproduction evolved from endospore formation.  The image below shows a particularly large Epulopiscium cell that contains two large offspring.

Monday - April 15th   4:00 PM   K-207 (2-6408)
Charles O Rock PhD

Charles O Rock, Ph.D.

Member - St. Jude Faculty
Director - Protein Production Facility
Department of Infectious Diseases
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Title: "Bacterial Lipid Synthesis : Unique Biochemistry and Antibacterial Drug Discovery"
Host:  Robert Quivey
Seminar Abstract:  The talk will present our new discoveries in the enzymology of bacterial lipid synthesis with particular emphasis on how these discoveries are being exploited to develop new antibacterial therapeutics to combat S. aureus.

Monday - April 22nd   4:00 PM   K-207 (2-6408)
Co-Sponsored by the Developmental Center for AIDS Research

Thomas C. Zahrt, Ph.D. Thomas C Zahrt PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology and
Molecular Genetics
Medical College of Wisconsin
Title:  "Regulation of the Cell Envelope Stress Response Network in Mycobacterium tuberculosis by the MprAB Two-Component System"
Host:  Martin Pavelka
Seminar Abstract : Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a pathogen of global significance, and is the causative agent of the human respiratory disease tuberculosis. In the vast majority of individuals infected, the bacterium establishes a persistent but asymptomatic infection that can last the lifetime of the host. A key aspect of M. tuberculosis survival during latency is the ability of the bacterium to recognize and resist cell envelope stressors that are encountered during long-term persistence with granulomatous lesions of the lung. I will discuss a key regulatory system, the MprAB two-component system, for its role in cell envelope stress resistance in M. tuberculosis. I will also describe how MprAB integrates with two other regulatory factors to collectively regulate the cell envelope stress response network in M. tuberculosis.

Monday - April 29th   4:00 PM   K-207 (2-6408)
Co-Sponsored by the Developmental Center for AIDS Research
Darrell J Irvine PhD

Darrell J. Irvine, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Engineering & Materials Science
The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

Title:  To be announced

Host:  Stephen Dewhurst

Research Interest:  Our laboratory works at the interface of materials science and immunology. We use synthetic model systems to study immune cell biology and synthesize new materials for vaccines and immunotherapy. Building on our work on the mechanisms of T and B cell migration, we have developed chemokine-releasing microparticles that are informing our research and may represent a new tool for immunotherapy. We are also studying nanoparticles to overcome some of the key challenges in immunotherapy.

Monday - May 6th   4:00 PM   K-207 (2-6408)
Immunology Student Hosted Seminar
Shannon J. Turley, Ph.D. ShannonTurleyPhD

Associate Program Head - Graduate Program in Immunology
Harvard Medical School

Title:  "Regulation of leukocyte function by the lymphoid stromal niche"

Student Contacts:  Lisbeth Boule & Katie Lannan

Research Interests:  The Turley Lab is interested in deciphering how the interactions between antigen presenting cells and CD4 and CD8 T cells can lead to tolerance or immunity. We study molecular and cellular aspects of antigen presentation in diseases such as type-1 diabetes, enteritis, and pancreatic cancer. Combining animal models of disease, multiparameter cytofluorimetry, and high resolution imaging technologies, we explore endocytosis, transport, and/or processing of antigen by multiple lineages of antigen presenting cells including dendritic cells, macrophages, and lymph node stromal cells. The broad goal of our work is to understand how the microenvironments of healthy, inflamed, and malignant tissues influence the biology of these key antigen presenting cells and their interactions with CD4 and CD8 T cells. Ultimately, elucidating the steps leading to primary immune responses against self-antigens should provide the necessary framework for enhancing this process in cancer and dampening it in autoimmune diseases.


Monday - May 13th   4:00 PM   K-207 (2-6408)

Sharon S. Evans, Ph.D.SharonEvansPhD
Department of Immunology
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
 " Flipping the Switch on IL-6 for Anti-Tumor Immunity:

Host:  Michael (Rusty) Elliott


Monday - October 7, 2013   4:00 PM
Bruce Beutler MD

Hosted by the Immunology Students in the
Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Bruce A. Beutler, M.D.

Dr. Beutler was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize
in Physiology or Medicine

Regental Professor & Director
of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense
Raymond & Ellen Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
To be announced
Student Contacts: Lizbeth Boule & Katie Grimshaw
Researh Overview: How do we "know" when we have an infection? What are the receptors that alert us? How do we discriminate self from non-self, and why does the immune system sometimes attack our own cells and tissues? Why does it sometimes fail to eradicate infectious microbes? The tools of genetics have been used to address these questions, and answers have begun to emerge.

For more than a century, and in fact, since microbes were recognized as the cause of infections, it has been clear that mammals are genetically programmed to recognize them. Moreover, it has long been an obvious corollary that certain molecules of microbial origin must trigger a host response, and that specialized receptors of the host must mediate recognition of these molecules. This, after all, is how biological systems operate. But what were these receptors? A genetic approach was required to answer the question.
The Beutler laboratory systematically employs a forward genetic approach to identify
genes that are essential for the mammalian innate immune response, and to determine
their functions relative to one another. The forward genetic approach entails: (i) the induction of thousands of random germline point mutations on a defined genetic background (C57BL/6J) using N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU), (ii) the phenotypic screening of many thousands of mice for specific defects of immunity, and (iii) the positional cloning of those transmissible mutations that are detected. This classical genetic method does not depend upon hypotheses, nor upon assumptions about how innate immunity "should" work. Hence, it is unbiased, and errors of interpretation are extremely rare.

This listing includes selected seminars sponsored by other Departments/Centers which may be of interest to Microbiology students and faculty. Seminars hosted by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology are supported in part by a generous donation from Lederle-Praxis Biologicals, as well as by the indicated additional sources. 

Events Calendar

To view upcoming events on the URMC Scientific Events Calendar, please click here.