Pamela J. Bjorkman - A Molecular Arms Race: The Immune System Versus HIV
More than 30 years after the emergence of HIV, there is no effective vaccine, and AIDS remains a threat to global public health. Following HIV infection, the human immune response is unable to clear the virus, partly because the virus rapidly mutates to evade antibodies, one of our antipathogen weapons. In the absence of treatment with antiretroviral drugs, which are unfortunately not readily available in the developing world, an HIV-infected person's immune system gradually collapses, and he or she cannot fight off normally innocuous pathogens in the environment.
Bjorkman's presentation will focus on her lab's efforts to modify natural antibodies using molecular engineering so that HIV is powerless to mutate against them. The goal is to create potent antibody reagents that can be delivered to prevent or treat HIV/AIDS.
Pamela J. Bjorkman is the Max Delbrück Professor of Biology at Caltech and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Presented by: Caltech Committee on Institute Programs