Midsummer Nights' Science 2011

Wednesday, July 6th, 6-7pm
An Immune System Primer: Vaccines, allergies, and immune-related disease
[ video ]
Nir Hacohen, Ph.D.

What has your immune system done, or not done, for you lately? Why do some people get sick when a bug is going around, while others do not? How do vaccines, allergies, and autoimmune diseases relate to the immune system? Nir Hacohen will answer these questions and more in this Immune System Primer. He will reveal how the immune system can improve our lives, but also in which ways we still need to move forward in curing the countless immune-related disorders that are common throughout the world.

Wednesday, July 13th, 6-7pm
Engineering plastic chips for immunology research
[ video ]
Christopher Love, Ph.D.

Your immune system is critical for protecting you from disease, and yet it can also let you down in diseases like cancer and autoimmunity. Christopher Love will discuss recent advances in fabricating small devices to be used for isolating and interrogating individual immune system cells. These devices provide new knowledge on how the immune system works, and how we can improve the manufacturing of biological drugs that mimic the natural mechanisms of protection afforded by the immune system.

Wednesday, July 20th, 6-7pm
Cancer drug discovery in the post-genomic era
[ video ]
Jay Bradner, M.D.

Cancer researchers are seeking to discover all the genetic mutations that lead to all different types of cancers. This research has identified new opportunities for the development of therapies targeted to specific cancers. Jay Bradner will discuss the history of cancer therapies, and the promises and challenges of this new, targeted approach. He will highlight emerging creative approaches to cancer drug discovery, including a more open-source model as a proposed remedy for an ailing pharmaceutical industry.

Wednesday, July 27th, 6-7pm
Gut microbes: Frenemies and BFFs in inflammatory bowel disease
[ video ]
Wendy Garrett, M.D. Ph.D.

The digestive tract is home to a vast community of bacteria, many of which help to keep us healthy. In some people, the interactions between their own gut bacteria and their immune system are not always peaceful. Their immune systems' reactions to bacteria in the digestive tract result in chronic inflammation and lead to inflammatory bowel disease. Wendy Garrett will discuss inflammatory bowel disease, gut microbial communities, and current scientific efforts to understand the role of gut bacteria in this disease.