Bruce Beutler will deliver the 2013 SOT Annual Meeting Opening Plenary Lecture, “Genetic Analysis of Innate Immune Sensing” on Monday, March 11, 2013, from 8:00 am to 9:00 am in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Beutler is a Regental Professor and Director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center. In 2011, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for “discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity.”
The abstract of his lecture states that: “Microbes were known to be the causative agents of infectious diseases since the mid-nineteenth century, and infections were known since antiquity for their inflammatory character. However, the molecular interactions through which microbes were recognized, and through which they triggered an inflammatory response on the part of the host, remained unknown until much more recently. A genetic approach was required to elucidate them. Applying a positional cloning approach to mice that were refractory to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), we identified the LPS receptor, and with it, a family of receptors responsible for sensing diverse molecules of microbial origin. These, the Toll-like receptors, signal by way of a system of adaptors, protein kinases, and transcription factors to induce the biosynthesis of hundreds of cytokines that orchestrate inflammation. Subsequently RIG-I-like helicases, NOD-like receptors, and C-type lectin receptors also were found to respond to infection. A number of common inflammatory diseases appear to depend upon these molecular pathways, which evolved to check the spread of micro-organisms prior to the advent of adaptive immunity.”
Dr. Beutler received his MD from the University of Chicago in 1981. As a postdoctoral associate at Rockefeller University (1983–1986), he isolated mouse tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and discovered its importance as a mediator of inflammation. Subsequently at UT Southwestern he analyzed mammalian responses to bacterial lipopolysaccharide. This work culminated in the discovery of Toll-like receptors as key sensors of the innate immune system, capable of detecting infection within minutes of the time the host is inoculated with microbes. In further studies, Dr. Beutler has used a forward genetic strategy to elucidate many aspects of mammalian immunity. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he received numerous awards for his work, among them the Balzan Prize (2007), the Albany Medical Center Prize (2009), the Shaw Prize (2011), and election to the US National Academy of Sciences (2008), the Institute of Medicine (2008), and EMBO.
Dr. Beutler also will be holding a discussion with postdoctoral and graduate student SOT members following his lecture. This will be a ticketed event, limited to 40 participants.