BUSM Lecture To Honor Victim Of 9/11 Tragedy

Contact: Allison Rubin, 617-638-8491 | afrubin@bu.edu

(Boston) -Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) will present The Eighth Annual Sue Kim Hanson Lecture in Immunology on Friday, September 11, 2009 at noon in the School’s Keefer Auditorium. The annual lecture honors Sue Kim Hanson, MA, PhD ’02, a former researcher in BUSM’s Pulmonary Center. Kim Hanson, along with her husband and daughter, were passengers on one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The lecture titled, “Toll-like Receptors and the Renaissance of Interest in Innate Immunity,” will focus on how an immune response is initiated following infection. It will be presented by Luke O’Neil, PhD, the Chair of Biochemistry and Director of the Biotechnology Institute at Trinity College in Dublin.

O’Neil’s research is in the area of molecular basis of inflammatory diseases, with a particular interest in pro-inflammatory cytokines and toll-like receptors. Toll-like receptors are a family of proteins that sense the presence of pathogens and trigger the activation of the immune system to fight off the infection. A better understanding of how these receptors regulate immune responses will provide should lead to new vaccine strategies and treatments for many diseases.

Kim Hanson moved to Boston and earned a master’s degree in medical sciences from BUSM in 1992. After graduation, she joined the School’s Pulmonary Center. She then entered the doctoral program in Immunology through the Department Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at BUSM.

Her thesis project was an investigation of the role of interleukin-16 in immunity and targeted deletion of the interleukin-16 gene in mice. Her degree was awarded posthumously by unanimous vote by the thesis committee.

“Sue was on her way to a promising career in molecular biology,” said David Center, MD, Gordon and Ruth Snider Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at BUSM. “While her life was taken at an early age, her legacy lives on through this annual lecture. We are proud to remember and honor her and her family each year.”

Established in 1873, Boston University School of Medicine is a leading academic and research institution, with an enrollment of nearly 630 students and more than 1,100 full and part-time faculty members. It is known for its programs in arthritis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, human genetics, pulmonary disease and dermatology, among others, and is one of the major biomedical research institutions in the United States. The School is affiliated with Boston Medical Center, its principal teaching hospital, and Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center. Along with Boston Medical Center and 15 community health centers, the School of Medicine is a partner in Boston HealthNet.