Speakers

The Local Organising Committee is proud to announce some of our Invited Plenary Speakers for the Antigen Processing and Presentation Workshop (APPW) 2024. This list will be updated as we confirm the attendance of more speakers! Stay tuned for future update. 

APPW 2024 NILAB SHASTRI Memorial Lecture

Presented by Dr. Jonathan Yewdell 

Nilab Shastri shaped our discipline. He was a mentor and advisor to many of our leaders. He co-organised the first APPW and was an active participant in every subsequent meeting, driven by his open-mindedness to share unpublished work and by his curiosity about the work of others. Nilab passed in 2021 and APPW2024 is our first opportunity to honour his memory at the event he did so much to promote.

 

Dr. Jonathan Yewdell

National Institutes of Health

APPW 2024 Invited Speakers 

Dr. Catarina

Almeida

The University of Melbourne and the Doherty Institute

Australia

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Catarina Almeida is leading CD1-research at the Doherty Institute / University of Melbourne with 13 years of experience in Unconventional T cell-research, including a MSc-University of Lisbon/IMM in Portugal 2009 (with Prof Luis Graça), and a PhD-University of Melbourne, Australia 2015 (with Prof Dale Godfrey). Almeida has been instrumental in revealing greater diversity than previously assumed amongst type 2 NKT cells, which recognise lipids bound by CD1d but not a-GalCer, and do not express the type 1 NKT invariant TRAV10-TRAJ18 rearrangements. She has pioneered the development and use of tools that are revealing novel NKT populations, the TCRs they use and the antigens they see, which is providing valuable insight into the function and therapeutic potential of these cells.

Dr. Najla

Arshad

Yale University, School of Medicine

United States of America

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As a molecular immunologist, my broad interest lies in understanding how protein biochemistry is altered in disease and how this can be applied to develop therapeutics.

Prof. Brian

Baker

University of Notre Dame

United States of America

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Brian is the Coleman Professor of Life Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. His laboratory studies the intersection of protein biophysics, structural biology, and molecular immunology, with an emphasis on antigen presentation and T cell receptors.

Prof. Louise

Boyle

Cambridge University

United Kingdom 

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Louise Boyle is Professor of Molecular Immunology and a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the molecular pathways controlling antigen presentation on Major Histocompatibility Complex class I (MHC-I) molecules – vital research given the critical role that these molecules play in infection control and the recognition of cancer. Louise made the initial discovery that TAPBPR plays a role in the MHC-I antigen processing and presentation pathway and her laboratory subsequently characterised the function of TAPBPR.

Louise has a PhD in immunology from the University of Cambridge. Her postdoctoral training was undertaken at the Cambridge Institute of Medical Research under the supervision of Professor John Trowsdale. In 2009, she was awarded a Wellcome Career Development Fellowship, followed by Wellcome Senior Research Fellowships. Louise was appointed to University Lecturer in 2017, promoted to a University Reader in Molecular Immunology in 2019 and subsequently Professor in 2021.

Dr. Demetra  Chatzileontiadou

La Trobe University

Australia

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Demetra is a postdoctoral researcher at La Trobe University. She graduated with a Bachelor of molecular biology and genetics, did her Master of Science on molecular biology and genetics applications and completed her doctoral studies on performing biochemical and structural studies on human Angiogenin, in Greece. She was then awarded a fellowship that supported her post-doctoral research for one year in Greece and then moved to Australia at Monash University. In January 2021, Demetra relocated to La Trobe University as a member of Prof Stephanie Gras’s team.

A/Prof. Alexandra Corbett

University of Melbourne

Australia

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A/Prof Alexandra Corbett completed a B.Sc (Hons) at the University of Melbourne, a PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and post-doctoral research at the Lions Eye Institute/University of Western Australia and the Bio21 Institute. She is currently a laboratory head, NHMRC Investigator Fellow and Dame Kate Campbell Fellow in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Melbourne, based at the Doherty Institute. Her research team seeks to understand what drives the protective or pathogenic functions of a specialised immune cell subset – mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells – and ultimately to target these cells to combat disease. Alex has published over 75 research articles and 2 patents describing MAIT cell antigens and MR1 tetramer reagents. She serves on the Society for Mucosal Immunology Board of Councilors and is an associate editor for Molecular Immunology.

Prof. Peter
Cresswell

Yale University

United States of America

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I have been involved in the study of MHC-I, MHC-II and CD1 molecules, their assembly, peptide or lipid association, and subsequent T cell stimulation for many years. We essentially defined the peptide loading complex (PLC), which consists of the peptide transporter TAP and two associated tapasin-ERp57 disulfide-linked heterodimers, which associate with MHC-I molecules via a direct tapasin interaction. MHC-I association with the PLC is further stabilized by interactions between ERp57 and calreticulin and between calreticulin and an MHC-I N-linked glycan. We discovered and named tapasin and showed that it functions as a peptide editor to maximize the affinity of MHC-I-associated peptides.

We have investigated the mechanisms of cross-presentation, a phenomenon in which peptides derived from antigens internalized by dendritic cells are presented to CD8+ T cells by MHC-I molecules. I am also interested in the functions of interferon-inducible genes (ISGs) in innate immunity. This began with our identification of gamma-interferon-inducible lysosomal thiolreductase (GILT), a critical enzyme in the endocytic pathway that reduces the disulfide bonds in internalized proteins to facilitate the generation of peptides that bind MHC-II molecules and to MHC-I-restricted during cross-presentation. We and others recently showed that SARS-CoV2 encodes immunoevasins that affect the surface expression of HLA class I molecules in human cells. Recognition that SARS-CoV2 primarily infects bat cells led us to investigate the effects of the SARS-CoV2 immunoevasins on bat MHC-I function. These data in turn have led us to examine the MHC-I antigen processing pathway in bats.

Prof. Laurence Eisenlohr

University of Pennsylvania

United States of America

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Ike Eisenlohr is Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The Eisenlohr lab has longstanding interests in the MHC class I and class II processing and presentation of viral antigens. Specific interests include the genesis of MHC class I-restricted “cryptic” epitopes, MHC class II-restricted endogenous antigen processing and presentation, and orthopoxvirus-mediated inhibition of innate and adaptive immune responses.

http://pathology.med.upenn.edu/department/people/725/laurence-eisenlohr

Prof. Peter
van Endert

Université de Paris

France

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Peter van Endert is professor of immunology at the Medical faculty of the Université de Paris and head of the department of immunology of the Institut Necker Enfants Malades, an interdisciplinary research institute on the Necker campus in Paris, France. As a medical doctor, he also directs the laboratory of immunogenetics at the Necker hospital. He is a German national and obtained postdoctoral training at the German Cancer Research Institute in Heidelberg, Germany and at Stanford University in California, U.S.A.

He has a long-standing research interest in processing and presentation of antigens by MHC molecules and made seminal discoveries on the Transporters associated with Antigen Processing (TAP) and on aminopeptidases in the endoplasmic reticulum and in endosomes (ERAP and IRAP). He also contributed to understanding the cell biology underlying cross-presentation by dendritic cells, and more recently macrophages. His second research interest concerns autoimmune type 1 diabetes. In this context he has studied autoreactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in patients and in the model of the non-obese diabetic mouse and he also works on the cross-talk between beta cells and the immune system and the stress signaling in beta cells. He has published 179 PubMed-listed publications with > 20,000 citations.

Prof. Christian
Freund

FREIE UNIVERSITÄT BERLIN

Germany 

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Christian Freund has completed his doctorate in the group of Tad Holak at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried/Germany. After two post-doc appointments in the labs of Andreas Plückthun (University of Zürich) and Gerhard Wagner/Ellis Reinherz (Harvard Medical School) he became a BMBF-Biofuture award funded independent group leader at the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie in Berlin. Since 2011 he is a full professor of Biochemistry at Freie Universität Berlin, heading the Laboratory of Protein Biochemistry. His main research interests are in the fields of antigen presentation by MHCII molecules and of scaffolding proteins and enzymes that coordinate intracellular signaling pathways in T cells. Protein biochemistry, NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical or structural biology methods are instrumental for the biochemical and molecular immunology approaches used in his group to delineate the mechanisms underlying the complex cellular and organismic functions of adaptive immunity.

Dr. Malgorzata
Garstka

Xi’an Jiaotong University

China

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Malgorzata A. Garstka (Gosia) is a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China. The main focus of the Garstka lab is to define how MHC class I antigen presentation contributes to autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes (T1D) and develop diagnostic and therapeutic methods for treating T1D. Her work is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Xi’an Jiaotong University grants. She has published 32 papers with an H-factor of 18. She was awarded the Shaanxi Province “Hundred Talents Program”, Shaanxi Provincial International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, Xi’an City Class C Talent, and Xi’an Jiaotong University Class A Youth Talent.

Prof. Kim
Good-Jacobson

Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Australia

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Professor Kim Good-Jacobson Heads the B cells, Antibody, Memory laboratory and is Co-Head of the Immunity Program within the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Her research studies the ability of the immune system to clear pathogens and form immunity through production of B cell memory and antibody. Her laboratory uses state-of-the-art epigenomic & single-cell capabilities, pre-clinical models and new tools to track rare memory cells to understand how immunity is formed, and to identify how this process goes awry in chronic viral disease or in autoimmunity.

Prof Good-Jacobson completed her PhD at the Centenary and Garvan Institutes in 2007. She was awarded an Arthritis Australia Fellowship and a CJ Martin Fellowship from the NHMRC to undertake postdoctoral training at Yale University followed by WEHI. She established her lab at Monash and has since made key insights into the unique epigenetic regulators that drive effective antibody production and formation of immunity. Prof Good-Jacobson’s contribution to research has been recognised by a Bellberry-Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship, a GSK Fast Track Challenge win and a Victorian Young Tall Poppy Science Award. She previously served as Treasurer for the Australian and New Zealand Society of Immunology and has written for The Conversation.

Prof. Jim
Kaufman

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom 

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Jim Kaufman has been working on various aspects of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) for almost 50 years, much of that time trying to understand the evolution of the MHC by studying animals other than humans and mice, particularly chickens. He has worked at Harvard University as a PhD student, the Basel Institute for Immunology as his first independent position, the Institute for Animal Health as the head of the Division of Immunology, the University of Cambridge as the Professor of Comparative Immunogenetics, and now the University of Edinburgh as Chair of Immunology. He and his group continue to work from genes, genetics and genomics to biochemistry and cell biology, cellular immunology, infection studies and now to population genetics, all to understand the structure, function and evolution of immunity. Recently, people in the group have been studying not only chickens but also passerine birds, Tasmanian devils, rabbits and bats, along with work on T cell receptors, on natural killer receptors and ligands, and on a low-tech high-throughput experimental approach to determining T cell epitopes.

Dr. Patrycja
Kozik

Cambridge University

United Kingdom

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Patrycja is a group leader in the Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry Division at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. The main goal of Patrycja’s group is to understand how dendritic cells initiate cytotoxic T cell responses against antigens derived from tumours or infected cells. Patrycja is a cell biologist by training with a PhD from Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, UK. She completed her postdoctoral research at the Curie Institute in Paris, France and at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, USA. She joined in the LMB to start her first research group in 2016 and was promoted to tenure-track in 2019.

Dr. David
Margulies

National Institutes of Health

United States of America

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 A.B. Columbia University, 1971
M.D, Ph.D, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1978
Investigator, NIAID, NIH 1983-1985
Sr. Investigator, NIAID, NIH 1985-Date

Dr. Hamish
McWilliam

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Australia

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Hamish McWilliam is a group leader in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection & Immunity. Hamish’s work has revealed how a protein called MR1 mediates this molecular communication by detecting microbial metabolite by-products. He uses cell biology, biochemistry, and immunology techniques to understand this process that activates one of the most abundant T cell populations in humans (MAIT cells). Hamish has been the recipient of prominent awards and funding including the Fabienne Mackay Award (2023), an NHMRC Ideas Grant (2021-24), an AMP Tomorrow Maker (2018), a DECRA (ARC; 2017-19), and a VESKI Victoria Fellowship (2016). Hamish’s group aims to provide novel cellular and molecular targets to manipulate MR1-MAIT cell system. This will ultimately improve human health by offering new ways to (i) modulate microbiota composition, and (ii) improve immunity against bacterial pathogens.

Prof. Justine
Mintern

University of Melbourne

Australia

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Professor Justine Mintern heads the Vaccine Biology laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Melbourne and the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, Melbourne Australia. Justine’s research dissects the molecular pathways involved in promoting effective immune responses. Ongoing research includes understanding how to initiate immunity to tumours and infection and the use of cutting-edge nanotechnology to design effective vaccines. She has made fundamental discoveries that have advanced our understanding of antigen presentation pathways and dendritic cell biology.

A/Prof. Chihiro
Motozono

Kumamoto University

Japan

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I have a background in biochemistry. I undertook a Ph.D. at the Centre for AIDS Research, Kumamoto, Japan under the supervision of Professor Takamasa Ueno and Professor Masafumi Takiguchi (2010). I have a special interest in T-cell recognition against viral infection or cancer. I had post-doctoral training under the supervision of Professor Andrew Sewell at Cardiff University, UK (2010-2012). After the training, I went back to Japan and characterized vaccine-induced protective CD4+ T-cell responses in retroviral infection in vivo at Kindai University School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan as an assistant professor in Professor Masaaki Miyazawa’s laboratory (2012-2016). I have studied the interaction and function of innate immune receptors against exogenous/endogenous ligands as an assistant professor in Professor Sho Yamasaki’s Lab at Osaka University, Osaka, Japan (2016-2020). Since 2020, I have been working on innate-like T cells and conventional CD8+ cells in viral infections such as HIV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and HPV or cancer at Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan as an Associate Professor.

A/Prof. Meredith
O’Keeffe

Monash University

Australia

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Meredith is currently a labhead in the Dept of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Monash University. With 25 years’ experience in DC biology spanning academia and industry, Meredith has made seminal discoveries into the development and function of DC subtypes of mouse and man, with extensive work deciphering how DC subsets respond to danger via different pattern recognition receptors. Current research interests include investigating how activation of DCs is regulated in health and in different disease settings and the role that different interferons play in these processes.

Prof. Gavin
Painter

The Ferrier Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington

New Zealand

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Professor Painter obtained his PhD in chemistry from the University of Otago in 1995 (synthetic methodology) which was followed by postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge (the synthesis of inositol phospholipids for elucidation of PI3K pathways). Since joining the Ferrier Research Institute in New Zealand his research laboratory has focussed on the synthesis of lipid-based materials including phosphatidyl inositol mannosides, glycolipids, glycolipid-peptide conjugates and novel lipid nano-delivery vehicles for encapsulation of various vaccine components including RNA, peptides, glycolipids and various immune stimulates. His research group is currently focussed on the development of mRNA-LNP vaccines for Malaria and Hepatitis B.
Professor Painter has a strong interest in the immunological evaluation of vaccines and vaccine components. He holds a joint position with the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research Wellington New Zealand incorporating multiple national and international collaborations with immunologists.

Prof. Hidde
Ploegh

Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

United States of America

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Hidde Ploegh is a biochemist whose area of interest is the immune system. He is known for his analysis of the pathways involved in antigen presentation by products of the Major histocompatibility Complex (MHC). Ploegh was born in 1953 in the Netherlands, where he attended Groningen University. He performed the work for his PhD at Harvard University and obtained his degree from Leiden University in 1981. He took a position as a junior group leader in the Institute for Genetics at the University of Cologne, Germany and in 1984 moved back to the Netherlands where he worked at the Netherlands Cancer Institute to head the Division of Cellular Biochemistry. In 1992 he was recruited to the Center for Cancer Research as a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1997 he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School as the director of its graduate program in immunology. In 2005 he joined the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2016 Ploegh joined Boston Children’s Hospital. Ploegh is a member of EMBO, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and a correspondent of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Anthony
Purcell

Monash University

Australia

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Tony is currently a National Health and Medical Research Council Investigator Fellow and Deputy Head Department of Biochemistry at Monash University Melbourne, Australia. He is also Vice President of the Australasian Proteomics Society and a HuPO council member.
With a background in immunology and biochemistry, his laboratory focusses on how the peptide antigens presented to the immune system, coined the immunopeptidome, is influenced by infection, inflammation and the environment. He is a leader in the field of immunopeptidomics with over 300 related publications.

Dr. Malini
Raghavan

University of Michigan

United States of America

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Malini Raghavan is the Nancy William Walls Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, MI, USA. She did her early training in India, obtaining a BS in 1983 from the Women’s Christian College in Chennai, and a MS from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1985. She came to the United States for her graduate studies, obtaining a PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1991, following her thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Clarence Schutt. She did her postdoctoral training in Immunology at Caltech, in the laboratory of Dr. Pamela Bjorkman. She then joined the faculty of the University of Michigan, Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1996, where she has since been. Her laboratory studies various aspects of human MHC class I polymorphisms and their influences on the immune response. Other areas of interest include the biology of CD8 and studies of a group of blood cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Prof. Kenneth
Rock

UMass Chan Medical School

United States of America

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I have been a Chairman of a department with a basic science immunology division for 26 years and a principle investigator of an immunology research lab for 40 years. My research has focused in two areas. One focus area is the elucidation of how cell death and danger signals influence immune responses. These processes are thought to underlie the development of innate and adaptive immune responses to injured cells. They also cause sterile inflammation that is thought to underlie the pathogenesis of a number of diseases, such as gout and atherosclerosis. In this area, my lab has established the molecular identity of the first endogenous danger signal(MSU) and a key common pathway, involving IL-1 and inflammasomes, through which many structurally distinct stimuli cause sterile inflammation. The second focus area is on antigen presentation. My laboratory has established many of the key underlying mechanisms in antigen presentation including the role of the various proteasomes (constitutive, immuno and thymo forms), cytosolic aminopeptidases, and ERAP1 in MHC class I presentation, the cellular and cell biological basis of cross presentation, and the underlying mechanisms of antigen presentation in T-B cell interactions. I am an ISI highly cited researcher and with a high citation index(an overall H-index of 83; with my top primary paper in antigen presentation cited >3267 times; and top primary paper in sterile inflammation cited >3733 times.

Prof. Franca
Ronchese

Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

New Zealand

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Franca trained at the University of Padova, Italy, and then as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Ron Germain at NIH, USA. Franca then joined the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland, where she became interested in antigen presentation by dendritic cells in vivo. Since 1994 Franca has been leading the Immune Cell Biology group at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington, NZ. Her current work examines dendritic cell diversity during the initiation of CD4+ helper T cell responses with a particular focus on allergic immunity.

Prof. Jamie
Rossjohn

Monash University

Australia

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Prof. Jamie Rossjohn’s research is centred on an understanding immunity. He is currently a NHMRC Investigator L3 Fellow (2022-26) and previously an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow (2017-21), NHMRC Australia Fellow (2011-16) and ARC Federation Fellow (2007-11). He was the former Head of the Infection and Immunity Program (2016-19) of the Biomedicine Discovery Institute. In 2022, Prof. Rossjohn was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and Associate Member of EMBO. Prof.

Rossjohn is known for his contributions to the understanding the molecular basis underpinning immunity. He has used structural biology to explain pre-T- cell receptor (TCR) self-association in T-cell development, and how the TCR specifically recognises polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecules in the context of viral immunity and aberrant T- cell reactivity.

Prof. Scheherazade
Sadegh-Nasseri

John Hopkins University

United States of America

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Dr. Sadegh-Nasseri and her lab made the notable discovery that binding of peptides to MHC class II induces different conformations, a finding that has formed the basis for how peptide-MHC class II complexes are recognized and edited by the MHC class II accessory molecules. They have maintained a leading role in understanding mechanisms in peptide binding and the role of MHC class II accessory molecules, HLA-DM and HLA-DO in peptide exchange and editing. The team also reported the first cell free reductionist antigen processing system that identifies immunodominant epitopes from protein antigens for recognition by helper T cells. This system has led to the discovery that antigen presentation for pathogens and autoantigens follow divergent paths, a finding that has significant impact in our understanding of antigen presentation to helper T cells.

Dr. Sadegh-Nasseri received her undergraduate degree from Pahlavi University in Iran and her M.Sc. in a joint program with Harvard University and Teheran University in Iran. She earned her Ph.D. from University of California at Los Angeles. She was a Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Scholar in Chemistry Department at Stanford University, and a Sr. Staff Fellow in Laboratory of Immunology of NIAID at NIH prior to her current department at the JHU.

Prof. Laura Santambrogio

Weil Cornell Medical College

United States of America

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Dr. Laura Santambrogio received her PhD from Padua University in 1993 and trained as a post-doctoral fellow at NYU and Harvard Medical School. She was recruited at Albert Einstein College of Medicine with an Irene Diamond Professorship in Immunology and in 2019 moved to Weill Cornell where she held the position of Associate Director of Precision Immunology in the Englander Institute of Precision Medicine, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics and is a member of the Cancer Center. Current efforts in her laboratory are focused on the mechanisms of antigen processing and presentation and the overall analysis of the MHC class II immunopeptidome. Using an integrated approach that combines cell biology, biochemistry, and biophysics her laboratory defined adaptive immune cell responses in chronic inflammatory conditions and their role in promoting tissue damage. Additionally, her laboratory was the first to perform the “omic” characterization of the human lymph where they discovered novel immunomodulatory metabolites and immunoregulatory peptides capable of suppressing innate and adaptive immune responses. Several of these metabolites are currently being tested in pre-clinical trials. Dr Santambrogio serves as a reviewer for several peer- review journals as well as NIH and non-NIH study sections. She trained over 40 PhD and post-doctoral scientists, many of which now hold faculty positions.

A/Prof. Nikolaos Sgourakis

University of Pennsylvania

United States of America

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I earned my PhD in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2009, working with Angel Garcia on computational simulations of intrinsically disordered proteins, and a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics from the National University of Athens, Greece. As an undergraduate student, I developed machine learning algorithms for predicting properties of G-protein coupled receptors currently used in pharmacology and drug discovery.
In my first postdoctoral training with David Baker at the University of Washington, I developed methods for modeling the structures of protein complexes by integrating NMR with cryoelectron microscopy data. During follow-up postdoctoral work with Ad Bax at the National Institutes of Health, I carried out Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy studies of virus/host protein interactions involved in immune evasion, and the establishment of latency, in close collaboration with the group of David Margulies.
With these skills in hand, I have developed an independent research program at the interface of biophysics and structural biology, where experimental and computational tools are developed and applied to tackle contemporary problems in molecular immunology.

Prof. Efstratios Stratikos

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Greece

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Efstratios Stratikos is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and the Director of the Laboratory of Biochemistry of the Department of Chemistry at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. He is also an Adjunct Researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”. After obtaining a degree in Chemistry from the University of Athens in 1994, he continued his studies in the USA, at the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago, where he obtained a PhD in Biochemistry in 1999. From 1999 to 2004 he was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University in Boston, USA. From 2005 to 2020 he worked as a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos” where he was promoted to the rank of Research Director in 2014 as head of the Protein Chemistry Laboratory. Since 2020 he has been working at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His research interests focus on the study of proteins and their role in human disease and in particular on the molecular mechanisms of the human immune system.

Prof. Robert
Tampé

Goethe University Frankfurt

Germany

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Robert Tampé is a biochemist at the Biocenter of Goethe University Frankfurt, known for his contributions in the mechanistic understanding of antigen processing and viral immune evasion. He also discovered the molecular machinery of ribosome recycling and provided structural and mechanistic insights into ribosome splitting and mRNA surveillance. His major passions are macromolecular complexes, membrane biology, control of mRNA translation, as well as chemical and synthetic biology. Tampé is full professor at Goethe University Frankfurt and director of the Institute of Biochemistry and the Research Center SFB 1507. He co-initiated the Cluster of Excellence Macromolecular Complexes. Before assuming his position in Frankfurt, he was director of the Institute of Physiological Chemistry, Medical School at the University of Marburg, independent group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry Martinsried, and assistant professor at the Technical University Munich. As Max Kade Fellow, he worked with Harden M. McConnell at Stanford University. He was awarded with an honorary professorship from Kyoto University and was Visiting Research Fellow at Merton College and Department of Biochemistry, Oxford. He is an elected EMBO member and ERC investigator. He recently received the Schaefer Scholar Research Award at Columbia University.

A/Prof. Nicola
Ternette

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

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Nicola is leading the Antigen Discovery Group at the University of Oxford, UK and Utrecht, The Netherlands. Her team specializes in sequencing of HLA-associated peptidomes using nanoflow ultra-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS) in pathogen infection, solid tumours, haematological cancers and autoimmune diseases. Her team is interested in understanding disease and treatment outcome association with the HLA gene locus, and the mechanisms associated. The group further investigates the consequences of interference with the antigen presentation machinery on HLA presentation in cancer, and is developing novel bioinformatics approaches to MS spectral interpretation for HLA cancer antigen discovery and prediction.

Dr. Paul
Thomas

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital

United States of America

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Paul G. Thomas is a Member of the Department of Host-Microbe Interactions at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His work focuses on understanding the principles of T-cell receptor recognition and specificity during development, infections, and tumors. Dr. Thomas obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology and Philosophy at Wake Forest University. His doctoral training at Harvard University focused on the innate immune response to Schistosoma-associated carbohydrates and their role in promoting Th2 responses.

After graduate school, he relocated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Peter Doherty on T-cell responses in the influenza model. In 2009 he started his independent lab, from which he has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers on TCR biology, immunological mechanisms of disease severity in human viral infections, and cellular immunology.

Prof. Florian
Winau

Boston Children’s Hospital & Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

United States of America

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Florian Winau is an Investigator in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
He is an Immunologist, and the broader focus of his lab is the study of antigen presentation, T cells, and the role of lipids in the immune system. He has a background in medicine and was trained as an MD before he pursued a research career in basic science. He received his Immunology training at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology before he started his own lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His initial work explored lipid antigen presentation by CD1 molecules, describing novel pathways for lipid loading by saposins and cross-presentation to CD8 T cells. He also studied lipid-specific Natural Killer T (NKT) cells and elucidated new mechanisms for their activation by endogenous antigens. This is work he still pursues with the goal to identify the lipid entities and their enzymatic pathways that regulate NKT cell development and function. His NKT cell work also includes the epigenetic regulation of NKT cell generation in the thymus. The related studies of CD1a-expressing Langerhans cells revealed a critical function for CD1a in inflammatory skin disease and also introduced CD1a as novel target to treat skin inflammation. These efforts led to successful drug development that is currently tested in clinical trials.
Over the years, Florian Winau established a larger context for studying Lipid Immunology, which not only includes lipids as antigens, but also as immune regulators and adjuvants. Studies on the regulation of the lipid microenvironment in membranes revealed lipid scramblase as important factor in T cell exhaustion in chronic viral infection. And the aspect of lipids as adjuvants led to the development of the project on globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), which is abundantly expressed on germinal center B cells. Thus, this lipid guided him from T lymphocytes to B cells, to explore the function of Gb3 in antibody responses. Furthermore, these studies also identified Gb3 as potent novel adjuvant to boost vaccination and to generate broadly neutralizing antibodies against viral infection, such as influenza.