Pediatric infectious disease expert to speak
By Melissa Marino
November 12, 2010
Jean-Laurent Casanova, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases at The Rockefeller University, will deliver the next Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 8.
His lecture, "Life-Threatening Infectious Diseases of Childhood: Single-Gene Inborn Errors of Immunity?" will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.
Casanova's work attempts to address what makes some children develop a severe clinical illness in the course of infection while others exposed to the same microbe remain unharmed.
His research has revealed that single genetic lesions in children confer severe and selective vulnerability to certain illnesses, whereas similar infections in adults tend to involve multiple genes.
His team has also identified impaired signaling pathways associated with increased susceptibility to mycobacterial diseases (like tuberculosis), invasive pneumococcal disease and herpes simplex encephalitis.
The discovery of such "Mendelian holes" in the immune defenses has broad implications for molecular diagnosis and genetic counseling, as well as treatments to improve immune response.
His lecture is sponsored by the Department of Pediatrics.
For a complete schedule of the Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/discoveryseries/.