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Peter Doherty lectures tomorrow on cell-mediated immunity in influenza

Sue Kim Hanson Lecture held in honor of victim of Sept. 11

Peter Doherty

Nobel Laureate Peter C. Doherty will deliver this year’s Sue Kim Hanson Lecture in Immunology on Wednesday, September 14, at Keefer Auditorium on the Medical Campus.

Presented through BUMC’s Immunology Training Program, Doherty’s 4 p.m. lecture is titled "Cell-Mediated Immunity in Influenza." Following the lecture, there will be a wine and cheese reception at 5 p.m. in the Wilkins Board Room.

Doherty, the first person with veterinary qualifications to win a Nobel Prize, focuses on research in the defense against viruses. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel for their discovery of how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells.

Doherty’s landmark studies revealed the critical role of MHC molecules in the presentation of antigen to virus specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. These T cells specifically recognize virus-infected cells and then induce them to self-destruct.

In the years since he received the Nobel, Doherty has continued to actively investigate T cell immune responses to viral infections. His analysis of the factors that influence T cell repertoire diversity, and T cell survival are likely to have important implications for the future design of viral vaccines.

Doherty earned a degree in veterinary science from the University of Australia, Melbourne, before moving to Scotland to earn his Ph.D. in pathology at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. He holds the title of Laureate Professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of Melbourne. He was named Australian of the Year in 1997.

The Sue Kim Hanson Lecture honors Hanson (GSM’94), who died with her husband Peter Hanson (GSM’94), and daughter, Christine Lee, on United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to strike the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. A Ph.D. candidate and staff member at the School of Medicine, Hanson was scheduled to defend her dissertation on interleukin-16 and immunity and targeted deletion of the interleukin-16 gene in mice in November 2001. Her degree was awarded posthumously.

The upcoming William J. Bicknell lecture series at the School of Public Health also focuses on influenza, specifically issues related to the influenza pandemic of 1918, and is scheduled for September 29 and 30.