Keck School of Medicine Events

Keck School of Medicine of USC Research Seminar Series

"The NLR Family: Broad Impact on Infection, Inflammation, and Beyond"
September 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Aresty Auditorium, Norris Research Tower.

Jenny PY Ting, PhD, William Rand Kenan Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Co-Director of Inflammatory Disease Institute, and Director of Center for Translational Immunology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be presenting. Dr. Jae Jung is hosting this event.
It is now recognized that the innate immune system is governed by a wide variety of receptors or sensors which detect microbial pathogens and activates specific signaling pathways. More important, these receptors/sensors also have great impact on basic biologic processes that affect diseases of global importance such as cancer, metabolic disorders, inflammation and neurologic disorders. Our group first reported on the large human NLR (NBD-LRR for nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat containing, or nucleotide-oligomerization domain-like receptor, for NOD-like receptors) gene family which is comprised of regulators of innate immunity. Consistent with this evolutionary conservation which implies major functional importance, this broad gene family exhibits important regulatory roles in immunity and beyond. In addition to roles in anti-microbial responses against bacteria, viruses and fungi, they also affect a broad number of processes involved in sterile inflammation and adaptive immunity. Many of the NLR proteins control immunity by regulating cytokine production (such as the inflammasome products IL-1b/IL-18 and interferons) while some directly control gene expression (such as the expression of class I and II MHC genes). Members also regulate diverse cell death responses such as apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy, and diverse signaling pathways including NFkB and MAPKs. We will present evidence for the broad biologic and clinical impact of the NLR family. Dr. Jenny Ting is currently the William Rand Kenan Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She received her B.S. from Illinois State University, Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and postdoctoral training at the University of Southern California and Duke University. Dr. Ting's work spans immunity, cancer, metabolism and gene regulation. She has made seminal discoveries and important contributions in discovering new innate and adaptive immune sensors/receptors, and describing their global importance in biology and health. She first described the human NLR (nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat containing, or nucleotide-oligomerization domain-like receptor) family. She reported on the roles of NLR family members in inflammation, adaptive immunity, infection, cancer, neurologic diseases and metabolism. She defined the first prototype MHCII promoter and elucidated many of its regulatory mechanisms. She was also the first to identify plexins in the immune system, and unveiled their roles in immune cell interaction, toll-like receptor signaling, B cell differentiation and macrophage movement. Finally, she first described the hematopoietic origin of a brain subpopulation while a postdoctoral fellow at USC with Drs. Leslie Weiner and Jeffrey Frelinger, and elucidated the roles of cytokines and immune receptors in neurodegeneration. She is currently the director of the UNC-CH Inflammatory Disease Institute, Center for Translational Immunology and Collaborative Multiple Sclerosis Center, and the Immunology Program Leader of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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