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Max D. Cooper, MD
Evolution of an Adaptive Immune System of Defense
Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA 24016
A public reception will precede this event in the VTC Cafe at 4:30 p.m.
All living organisms have innate immune systems that can be used for self-defense. An adaptive immune system that is capable of recognizing specific pathogens and providing protective memory against a second encounter is found only in vertebrate species, however, including humans. Alternative adaptive immune systems have recently been defined in jawed and jawless vertebrates. Both employ lymphocytes with a wide variety of anticipatory receptors, but they differ in that lymphocytes in jawless vertebrates (lampreys and hagfish) use leucine-rich-repeat-based variable lymphocyte receptors (VLR) for antigen recognition, whereas lymphocytes in vertebrates with jaws use immunoglobulin-based receptors for the same purpose. The VLR antigen receptors are expressed in a clonally diverse fashion by separate populations of lymphocytes that resemble our thymus-derived T lymphocytes and bone marrow-derived B lymphocytes. Using parallels and differences between our adaptive immune system and that of lampreys and hagfish, Dr. Cooper will explore interesting questions about how adaptive immunity may have evolved. He will also address the potential for biomedical uses of antibodies found in the primitive lamprey.
About the Speaker:
Max D. Cooper, MD, is the Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from Tulane University Medical School in 1957. While at the University of Minnesota from 1963 to 1967, he worked with Robert A. Good to establish the dual nature of the immune system. With Paul Kincade, he discovered isotype switching by IgM-producing B cells. While on sabbatical at University College London in 1974, he worked with Martin Raff and John Owen to identify the bone marrow and fetal liver precursors of B cells. Dr. Cooper was previously a professor of medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Dr. Cooper is an editor of several immunological journals, past president of the Clinical Immunology Society, and past president of the American Association of Immunologists. Dr. Cooper is an editor of several immunological journals, past president of the Clinical Immunology Society, and past president of the American Association of Immunologists.