Fishing for complement - CANCELLED

Posted by pt91 at Nov 30, 2010 11:15 AM |
The annual Frank May Prize Lecture, to be given by Dr Russell Wallis on 1 December

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 November 2010

The Frank May Prize Lecture 2010 will be given by Dr Russell Wallis, speaking on microbial pathogens, and will be on Wednesday 1st December 2010, 5.30pm, in the Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building (Lancaster Road), University of Leicester.

Dr Wallis, Reader and RCUK Academic Fellow in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, and Department of Biochemistry, will speak on: "Fishing for Complement: Innate targeting of microbial pathogens".

The immune system uses two main weapons to counter invading pathogens: adaptive immunity, including the production of antibodies, which develop over time to target pathogens; and innate immunity, which is ever present and recognizes conserved parts of pathogens, such as their cell walls.

The complement cascade provides a vital bridge between innate and adaptive immunity by destroying invading cells and helping to stimulate an effective adaptive immune response.

Because of its pivotal role, complement dysfunction is associated with a range of human diseases, including severe bacterial infections and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Russell Wallis

Dr Russell Wallis is a biochemist interested in understanding the molecular changes that occur during initiation of the classical and lectin pathways of complement activation. 

These reaction cascades are directly responsible for neutralising of pathogens and clearing apoptotic cells. They also play key roles in stimulating and directing fundamental immunological processes, including phagocytosis, cell adhesion, modulation of immune cell function, and maintenance of immune tolerance, as well as providing important bridges between innate and adaptive immunity. 

Dr Wallis’s specific interests include characterising the interactions between components that trigger complement activation, establishing the molecular basis of immunodeficiencies caused by mutations in key complement proteins and understanding the complex regulatory mechanisms that prevent complement from destroying host cells.  Russell’s work is supported by grants from the Research Councils UK, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

The Frank May Prize Lecture

The Frank May Prize Lecture was established in 1991, endowed by the generosity of Dr Frank May and is delivered annually by a member of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology. 

The annual Prize Lecture alternates between clinical and non-clinical members of the College but the area of research must be medically related. There is a selection process for nominated candidates and the successful applicant is chosen based on evidence of research excellence during the previous two years and evidence of outstanding promise for the future.

A prize of £200 plus a commemorative silver medal is awarded to the selected candidate.

This year’s Frank May Prize lecture, which is free of charge and open to the public, will be followed by a buffet reception. Please confirm attendance to

Notes to Editors: Further details are available from Jeremy Wiltshire,

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