Immunity: many would say it’s the most intricate and beautiful system in the human body. With unlimited ability to respond to any insult (or not) that may present, some dared to call it GOD, what seemed to be a clever arrangement of letters since acquired immunity is indeed a specialized Generator Of Diversity. This omnipotent capacity, worthy of its name, protects us from the most laudable and skin crawling enemies in a thrill-packed and exhilarating confrontation that happens every second in the battlefield of our own bodies. But sometimes our own soldiers go rogue and end up showing that versatility is not always the best weapon. That’s when auto-immunity, allergies, and other betrayal infused diseases strike.

Many would say it’s the most intricate and beautiful system in the human body, we dare to say it’s the most transcendent and clashing system of them all.

Join us on our journey through Immunity – The Biological Bodyguard.

Speakers

Gero Hutter, MD, PhD

Medical Director at Cellex GmbH; Scientific Advisor at Calimmune, Inc.; Head of the Stem Cell unit of the Institute of Transfusion Medicine and Immunology Mannheim of the Heidelberg University

Prof. Gero Hütter is a German hematologist, currently working as Medical Director for Cellex, a center specialized in stem cells’ transplants. In 2007, Hütter and his medical team transplanted an HIV and Leukemia patient, Timothy Ray Brown (nowadays known as “The Berlin Patient”), with natural CCR5 (a key HIV receptor) depleted stem cells.

Since then, this patient has not resumed antiretroviral therapy, nor has he had a relapse of HIV disease, being the only patient functionally cured of AIDS/HIV in the world. For this procedure, Prof. Gero Hütter has received the Chugai Science Award and the Certificate of Honor from the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco, among many other appraisals.

Martijn Schuijs, MD, PhD

EMBO long-term postdoctoral fellow at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute; Ph.D. at Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie – Ghent University; MSc student at Imperial College London; student in the Utrecht University Infection and Immunity Master Program; won the TEDxGhent Ph.D./Post-Doc competition in 2016.

Prof. Dr. Martijn Schuijs is an immunologist with a special enthusiasm for elucidating the immune mediators responsible for the development of asthma and cancer, with the end goal of translating these findings into therapeutics. During his PhD at VIB – Ghent University – his thesis focused on exploring the mechanisms by which airway epithelial cells play a role in the development of House Dust Mite induced asthma and the protective roles that Farm Dust has in this process, being one of the first people in the world to establish a molecular mechanism which might explain the protective role of rural environments regarding immune mediated diseases.

Currently, he is working as a Research-Associate at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute on the interface of immunology and cancer research, focusing on the role of innate immunity in the development of lung cancer and lung metastasis. Additionally, he is an award-winning lecturer, having won the TEDxGhent Ph.D./Post-Doc competition in 2016.

Pankaj Chandak, MD

Specialist Registrar in Transplant Surgery at Guy’s, St Thomas’, and Great Ormond Street Hospitals; Researcher at King’s College London; Teacher at the Faculty of Surgical Anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons of England; Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (FRAS); The Royal College of Surgeons of England Lister Essay Prize and Medal; The Royal College of Surgeons and Worshipful Company of Cutlers Medal; The Royal Society of Medicine’s Norman Tanner Medal.

Dr. Pankaj Chandak is a British surgeon who pioneered in transplant surgery, being the first in the world to use 3D printed models to plan for the transplantation of an adult kidney into a small child with anatomical complexities. His research focuses on the therapeutic manipulation of organs using machine perfusion technology and the use of 3D printing in complex transplant surgery.

Furthermore, Dr. Chandak has also been involved in communicating science to broader audiences. This has included presenting live demonstrations for the BBC, Channel 5, the British Science Festival 2016, and London Open House. His main areas of discussion are minimally invasive surgery, 3D printing, and machine perfusion technology in organ transplantation. He has also directed his transplant team and acted alongside them in the television series The Crown. The team performed a simulated operation, believed to be the first time practicing doctors and surgeons have been directly employed as actors to ensure realism in a television production.

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