Friend or Foe, how parasites educate our immune system and relate to the global allergic diseases epidemic

The unravelling of the cellular and molecular complexity of the immune system is rapidly leading to exciting breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer and vaccines against some of the most intractable of infectious agents. In parallel with these developments is the realisation that the education and development of our immune system by the parasites and microbes that inhabit us are emerging as increasingly important players in this dynamic system. In particular the immune mechanisms that have evolved that allow us to protect and cope with metazoan parasites are increasingly seen as the mechanisms underpinning pathology of inflammatory diseases that are major burdens on the developed world including allergies, autoimmune conditions and poor gut health.

This talk will detail some of the scientific evidence that now underpins our modern view of the immune system and how it balances health and disease and describes research pointing to potential new therapies on the horizon for treating the many immune mediated diseases we face.

Speaker Bio

Professor Graham Le Gros was appointed Research Director of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in 1994, following a three year Fogarty Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Washington DC, and a five year scientist position with Ciba-Geigy in Basel, Switzerland. He has been a recipient of an International Senior Wellcome Trust Fellowship and James Cook Fellowship. In 2005 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in recognition of his research contributions to the fields of immunology and asthma. In 2010 Professor Le Gros was awarded the Wellington Medical Research Foundation Gold Medal, and in 2011 he won the Science and Technology category of the Wellingtonian of the Year Awards, for his contribution to medical research in Wellington and New Zealand. In 2014 Professor Le Gros was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA). In June 2014 he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Professor Le Gros has responsibility for the Science, Administration and Fundraising programmes of the Malaghan Institute and he directly leads an active biomedical research programme in the area of Allergic and Parasitic diseases.
Royal Society of New Zealand, 11 Turnbull Street Thorndon
Wednesday 29th July

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