State-of-the-Art Speakers

The Tortuous Path to Allograft-specific Therapies

Marc Jenkins, PhD

Sunday, April 30, 2017
10:45 am - 11:15 am 

Marc Jenkins was born and raised in Minnesota. His fascination with science began with an experiment in high school biology class to find out if Listerine really “kills germs.” He began to pursue a scientific career at the University of Minnesota where he received a BS degree in Microbiology in 1980. He performed Frisbee demonstrations to help finance his college education. Northwestern University was his next career stop. He completed a PhD there 1985 in Microbiology and Immunology working with Stephen Miller on helper T cells and delayed type hypersensitivity. He and his wife Karen had a son born in Chicago. A desire to understand helper T cell biology at a more molecular level brought him to the Laboratory of Immunology (LI) at the National Institutes of Health for postdoctoral training with Ronald Schwartz. Jenkins was immersed there from 1985 to 1988 in the golden age of the LI when many discoveries about T cell antigen receptor specificity, antigen processing, peptide-MHC binding, and T cell activation were made. His family grew there with the addition of identical twin daughters. He then went home in 1988 to join the Microbiology Department at the University of Minnesota (U of M) as an Assistant Professor. He is now a Distinguished McKnight Professor and heads the U of M Center for Immunology. His research group tries to understand how antigen-specific helper T cells participate in the adaptive immune response. Jenkins is an Institute for Scientific Information Highly Cited Researcher, Pew Scholar, American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Meritorious Career Awardee, NIH MERIT Awardee, and two of his papers have been recognized by the AAI as “Pillars of Immunology.” Jenkins has served his professional community as President of the AAI, and his residential community as an elected member of the public school board. In his spare time, Jenkins enjoys bicycling and fishing, both the winter and summer kinds, and is enthralled with art of public speaking. 

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: Emerging Targets for Induction of Anti-Tumor Immunity and Transplantation Tolerance

Vassiliki Boussiotis, MD, PhD

Monday, May 1, 2017
10:45 am - 11:15 am

Vassiliki Boussiotis, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Attending Physician in the Department of Hematology-Oncology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston. She received her MD and PhD from the University of Athens, Greece. Dr. Boussiotis joined the Division of Tumor Immunology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School in 1991, where she completed her postdoctoral training in Dr. Lee Nadler’s laboratory, which at that time was generating ground breaking knowledge that changed the route of Immunology: the discovery of the B7 family of costimulatory molecules. Her first postdoctoral project revealed that additional B7 molecules exist and led to the cloning of the second member of the B7 family (B7-2; CD86). Subsequently, her research group has been investigating mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in the regulation of activating and inhibitory T cell responses. Her laboratory was among the first to determine that induction of T cell tolerance results from active signaling processes, and also had an active role in the identification of PD- L1 and PD-L2 as ligands for PD-1. Her ongoing work involves the understanding of PD-1 effects on TCR-mediated activation at the molecular and biochemical and the effects of checkpoint inhibitors on immunometabolism. She has published more than 120 research articles, book chapters and reviews. Dr. Boussiotis is a board-certified oncologist and works on hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplantation. Her group is part of the hematopoietic stem cell transplantation research team at the Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center (DFHCC) and has conducted several translational studies on the mechanisms of immune reconstitution after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. The ultimate goal of her laboratory is to translate research findings into novel approaches for induction of anti-tumor immunity, prevention of graft versus host disease and improvement of immune reconstitution after allogeneic transplantation.