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2023 Schedule

The 18th Annual Symposium will be March 10, 2023

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The 2022 Symposium featured plenary lectures: 

Daniel DiMaio, MD, PhD (Virologist) - Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Genetics and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and of Therapeutic Radiology; Deputy Director, Yale Cancer Center

During human papillomaviruses entry, the cytoplasmic protein complex known as retromer sorts incoming virions into a series of vesicular compartments that comprise the retrograde transport pathway leading to the nucleus. To access the retromer and other cytoplasmic entry factors from the endosome lumen, a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) on the C-terminus the L2 minor capsid protein mediates protrusion of L2 through the endosome membrane into the cytoplasm. We isolated four artificial proteins named traptamers that inhibit different entry steps and used them to further dissect HPV entry and trafficking. One traptamer stimulates ubiquitination of L2 and diverts incoming virus to the lysosome, whereas the others act downstream by preventing sequential passage of the virus through retrograde compartments. Further studies revealed that exit of HPV from the endosome requires cycling of Rab7 between GTP- and GDP-bound forms and that the L2 CPP mediates transient insertion of L2 into the endosome membrane, which is stabilized by retromer-L2 binding. These results define the retrograde trafficking route taken by HPV during entry, reveal the role of Rab7 in this process, and show that retromer plays a role in CPP-mediated membrane insertion.

Breck Duerkop, PhD (Bacteriologist) - Assistant Professor Co-Director, Microbiology Graduate Program Department of Immunology & Microbiology University of Colorado School of Medicine

My laboratory studies bacterial viruses (bacteriophages or phages) and their interactions with their hosts. The long-term goal of my laboratory is to understand how phages and other forms of mobile DNA contribute to host-microbe interactions and their overall impact on human health. This seminar will highlight our work that explores the mechanisms of phage interactions with multidrug resistant enterococci and how phage resistance impacts enterococcal fitness, leading to diverse phenotypes that include antibiotic resistance, anti-phage restriction, intestinal colonization, and polymicrobial interactions.



Erika Pearce, PhD (Immunologist) - Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Pearce’s research group uses a variety of approaches to address key questions in immune cell metabolism, and how this impacts immunity to infection and cancer. Her work is focused on the role of metabolism in regulating the development and function of T cells, white blood cells that play a central role in the body’s immune response. Having found that structural changes to the mitochondria affect the mitochondrial metabolism, and that this metabolism fuels the differentiation, survival, and function of T cells, Pearce is now working to develop ways to make better, long-lived T cells that will improve immune therapies against tumors, pathogens, and other diseases.