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Nobel Laureate Rolf Zinkernagel: "Experiments with Surprises"

Wann 10.12.2009
von 16:15 bis 17:15
Wo Aula, KGI, Platz der Universität 3, 79098 Freiburg
Kontakttelefon +49 (0)761 203 97418
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Nobel Laureate Rolf Zinkernagel

Department of Pathology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland


Experiments with Surprises

Throughout my life as an experimentalist interesting results have not necessarily come from results of rationally designed experiments proving a hypothesis but rather by observing unexpected and unexplained results that did not fit our biased minds. Because thanks to excellent new methods we can measure many things with great accuracy, the greater problem is whether what we measure is important. Diseases and death of course are important biologically because they reflect evolution of vitally important processes and path ways, and offer particularly MDs or Veterinarians a special opportunity to contribute to basic biomedical sciences. Immunity against infections will be used as illustration of these principles including MHC-restricted T cell specificity, thymic selection of the repertoire, affinity maturation of antibodies or the relevance of natural antibodies. Also the role of bacterial or viral etiology triggering immuno pathology and/or immunity can explain why the idea of immunological memory is a misnomer. These concepts show in co-evolutionary terms why vaccines against cytopathic childhood infections have been so successful and why we still lack vaccines against chronic non-cytopathic persisting infections such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria or solid peripheral tumors.