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Metabolic regulation of immunity: Exploring programs that drive immune development and function

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Metabolic regulation of immunity: Exploring programs that drive immune development and function

Recorded 27 April 2016



According to conventional thinking, metabolic changes related to disease are thought to be triggered predominantly by signals from the immune cell-signaling network. However, recent evidence supports a role for metabolism as a “first responder” that can be decisive in actually forming immune responses and determining outcomes based on the metabolic potential and fitness of the responding cells. This new insight has led to the potential for reprogramming cellular metabolism to direct immune cell fate and function and thus to ultimately improve disease outcomes. In this webinar we will explain how metabolic pathways and substrates have been found to impact particular immune cell subsets and their functional roles. The application of this knowledge to better understand disease and to reveal novel therapeutic approaches will also be discussed.

During the webinar, our expert speakers will:

  • Describe the metabolic pathways and substrates that control immune cell activation, amplification, effector function, and memory
  • Demonstrate how the metabolic programs of immune cells are connected with their ability to respond to infection and disease
  • Outline new therapeutic strategies that exploit the regulatory role of metabolism in immunity
  • Answer your questions live during the broadcast!

The webinar will last approximately 60 minutes.

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Speaker bios

Christoph Hess, M.D., Ph.D.

University Hospital Basel
Basel, Switzerland

After completing medical school in Zürich and Lausanne, Dr. Hess trained for his M.D. and Ph.D. at Basel University in Switzerland before starting his clinical education in internal medicine and clinical immunology in Basel and at Imperial College London. Subsequently, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts where he worked on T-cell migration in Dr. Andrew Luster’s laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital and at Harvard Medical School. Returning to Switzerland in 2004, Dr. Hess started his own research group in the Department of Biomedicine at Basel University. In 2009, he was appointed Professor of Medicine and Head of the Medical Outpatient Division and the Clinical Immunology Service at the University Hospital in Basel. Dr. Hess’s research is focused on the translational aspects of lymphocyte function and its metabolic basis. The goal of his work is to understand the driving mechanisms in patients suffering from disorders of immunometabolic regulation.

Jeffrey Rathmell, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Nashville, TN

Dr. Rathmell studies mechanisms influencing lymphocyte death and differentiation in inflammatory diseases and cancer. Following undergraduate studies at the University of Northern Iowa, he earned his Ph.D. in immunology at Stanford University. In postdoctoral studies at the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania, he showed that lymphocyte metabolism was dynamically regulated to control cell function and survival in inflammatory diseases and cancer. He began his independent research at Duke University in 2003 in the departments of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Immunology, and in 2015 moved to Vanderbilt University as Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology and of Cancer Biology. At Vanderbilt, Dr. Rathmell directs the Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology and coleads the Host Tumor Interactions Research Program of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The ongoing focus of his work is to understand how metabolic pathways regulate CD4+ T-cell subsets in inflammatory diseases and anticancer responses.

Russell Jones, Ph.D.

McGill University
Montreal, Canada

Dr. Jones is an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and member of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University. He received his Ph.D. in medical biophysics in 2003 from the University of Toronto and completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Craig Thompson at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on investigating how energy metabolism is regulated in cells and on the genetic and biochemical pathways that control metabolic adaptation in cancer and the immune system. His research aims to improve our understanding of the role of the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in cellular function based on his finding that AMPK is a key factor regulating the survival of tumor cells and directly impacts tumor development and progression. Dr. Jones hopes to apply our understanding of cellular metabolism to target cancer cells based on their metabolic vulnerabilities. He is also investigating how we can use metabolic interventions to enhance immune responses to cancer. Dr. Jones is the recipient of a New Investigator Salary Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Bernard and Francine Dorval Prize from the Canadian Cancer Society, and was named a William Dawson Scholar by McGill University in 2014.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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