Latest Blog Entries

Maurice R. Hilleman Lecture on Virology

In celebration of the work of Maurice R. Hilleman, the Department of Microbiology and the Committee on Microbiology hosted the Maurice R. Hilleman Lecture on Virology on May 13, 2016.  Dr. Hilleman, who receive a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Chicago in 1944, is credited with saving millions of lives through the development of numerous vaccines, including those for mumps, measles, chicken pox, and meningitis.

This year, we were honored to have Herbert W. "Skip" Virgin IV, M.D., Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine as our guest speaker.  Dr. Virgin's presentation, "Role of Autophagy and Autophagy Genes in Immunity and Inflammation," was followed by a small reception and a faculty dinner.

May 6, 2016 Research Forum

Alyson Yee, a new member to Jack Gilbert's Lab, provided the following summary of her Research Forum presentation:

The gut microbiota plays an important role in human growth and development. In healthy term infants, community assembly is affected by mode of delivery, breastfeeding, and environmental exposures, but preterm infants are subject to many insults, including emergency Caesarean section delivery and an extended stay in the NICU. We are using next generation sequencing and metagenomics techniques to model the assembly of the microbiota in preterm infants and predict long term health outcomes.

April 29, 2016 Research Forum

Konstantin Sparrer, a post doc in Michaela Gack's Lab, was the presenter at this week's Research Forum.  Here is a summary of his presentation:

Tripartite motif (TRIM) proteins are known to be important modulators of signaling pathways involved in innate immunity. Structurally they consist of a RING domain with E3 ligase activity, followed by one or two BBoxes, a coiled-coil domain, and a unique C-terminal domain, which often mediates protein-protein interactions. The function of TRIM proteins is usually dependent on the ubiquitin E3 ligase activity of their RING domain, ranging from earmarking their respective targets for proteasomal degradation, or modulating the functional activity of the substrate protein through non-degradative polyubiquitination. While the role of TRIM proteins in the type-I interferon induction pathway is well characterized, their influence on other pathways of the immune system is less well established. Increasing evidence shows that type-I interferon induction and autophagy induction are tightly linked; however, the molecular mechanisms and host factors that dually regulate IFN responses and autophagy are largely unknown. Thus, we are currently studying the role of TRIM proteins in viral-induced autophagy.