April 11, 2012
Lectures, Readings and Discussions
Boyd Distinguished Lecture
Zell B. Miller Learning Center
“Forward Genetic Analysis of Innate Immunity,” Bruce Beutler, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine and Director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
As a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University, Beutler isolated mouse tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and was the first to recognize TNF as the molecule responsible for initiating inflammation in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. Working as an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1986-2000, Beutler designed recombinant inhibitors of TNF that found wide use in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
Moving to the Scripps Research Institute in 2000, he deciphered how a class of proteins called Toll-like receptors (TLRs) activate critical signaling pathways related to innate immunity, the first step in the body’s immune response. He won the Nobel Prize for his work related to TLRs.
Beutler has authored or co-authored more than 400 publications, which have been cited more than 46,000 times. Before he received the Nobel Prize, his work was recognized by the Shaw Prize (2011), the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research (2009), election to the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine (2008), the Frederik B. Bang Award (2008), the Balzan Prize (2007), the Gran Prix Charles-Leopold-Mayer (2006), the William B. Coley Award (2005), the Robert-Koch-Prize (2004), and other honors.