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Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) - The microbiota as instructor and arbiter of immune responses in health and disease

The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Lectures occur on most Wednesdays from September through June from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Bethesda campus.

Each season includes some of the biggest names in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the WALS is to keep NIH researchers abreast of the latest and most important research in the United States and beyond. An added treat is the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, which features top authors and other cultural icons. All speakers are nominated by the NIH community.

Speaker: Dan R. Littman, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Littman’s laboratory applies molecular and genetics tools to study how T lymphocytes develop and participate in inflammation and how HIV interacts with the host innate immune system. Dr. Littman isolated the genes for the CD4 and CD8 co-receptors and determined how their expression is regulated and their signaling influences selection of helper and cytotoxic cells. His group discovered that the nuclear receptor RORt regulates differentiation of Th17 cells and lymphoid tissue inducer cells and that it can be targeted for autoimmune disease therapy. He and his colleagues identified a commensal gut bacterium that selectively induces Th17 cells and promotes autoimmunity in mice, which may be relevant for human diseases, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, thought to be influenced by imbalanced microbiota. Dr. Littman’s group also characterized CD4 and CCR5 as receptors for HIV and showed how HIV evades host innate responses by failing to replicate in dendritic cells. His laboratory’s current focus is on elucidating the mechanisms that promote immune system homeostasis at mucosal surfaces and on characterizing the role of the microbiota in these processes.

Building 10, Clinical Center, Masur Auditorium

For further information go to:

NIH Building 10, Masur Auditorium

February 22, 2017 3:00pm