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The Dean's Lecture Series
Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture

Dean's Distinguished Lecture in the Basic Sciences

The Cartwright Lecture

Dean's Distinguished Lecture in the Clinical Sciences

David Seegal Alpha Omega Alpha Visiting Professorship Lecture

Heidelberger-Kabat Lecture
2010-2011 events
past events

Dean's Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities

Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize Lecture

Samuel Rudin Distinguished Visiting Professorship Lecture

Thomas Q. Morris Symposia

Previous lectures:

Lecture Videos



Heidelberger-Kabat Lecture

The Heidelberger-Kabat Lecture’s foundations date to the mid-1950s when the university instituted a lecture series to honor Dr. Michael Heidelberger, Columbia’s first professor of immunochemistry and the founding father of the field.  Subsequently, the university established a symposium named for Dr. Elvin Kabat, a Columbia professor who studied under Dr. Heidelberger and whose research led to the identification of the proteins responsible for antibody activity.  The two lectures, merged in 2001, are a premier forum for new developments and discoveries in immunochemistry.

Michael Heidelberger (1888 - 1991)

Trained in organic chemistry, Michael Heidelberger embarked on the characterization of the immunologic specificity of pneumococcal polysaccharides in the 1920s and continued this work after his move to Columbia in 1928. His work demonstrated that polysaccharides are effective antigens (in the absence of any peptide component), thus dispelling the myth that only proteins could serve as antigens; and that antibodies are proteins, bringing immunochemistry out of the vague realm of colloidal chemistry. Using antibodies as specific reagents, Heidelberger carried out structural analyses of a wide variety of naturally occurring polysaccharides. Heidelberger brought the precise methods of analytical chemistry to the determination of antibodies, antigens, and complement on a weight basis, providing the gold standard against which miniaturized and rapid methods such as RIA and ELISA could be standardized and compared.

Elvin A. Kabat (1914 - 2000)

During his doctoral work, Elvin Kabat developed a life-long interest in carbohydrate chemistry, which later led to his unraveling the complex chemistry of human blood group substances. In 1937-38, Kabat used electrophoresis to show that immunoglobulins comprise the "gamma globulin" fraction of human serum and demonstrated that gamma globulin was present in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with multiple sclerosis. In 1947, Kabat began to work on an animal model of MS in monkeys, establishing the autoimmune character of this disease. He initiated the quantitative study of antibodies in anaphylaxis and allergy and provided the first estimates of the size and shape of an antibody's antigen combining site. Kabat received the National Medal of Science in 1991.

2012-2013 EVENTS

Jeffrey V. Ravetch, MD, PhD

"A general mechanism for modulating immunoglobulin effector activity"

Jeffrey V. Ravetch, MD, PhD
Theresa and Eugene Lang Professor
Head, Leonard Wagner Laboratory of
Molecular Genetics and Immunology
The Rockefeller University

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
12 noon
Hammer Health Sciences Center, Room 401
701 West 168th Street

Jeffrey V. Ravetch, MD, PhD, is the Theresa and Eugene Lang Professor and head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology at Rockefeller University.

Dr. Ravetch, a native of New York City, received his undergraduate training in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, earning his BS degree in 1973 while working with Donald M. Crothers on the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of synthetic oligoribonucleotides. He continued his training at the Rockefeller University-Cornell Medical School MD/Ph.D program, earning his doctorate in 1978 in genetics with Norton Zinder and Peter Model, investigating the genetics of viral replication and gene expression for the single stranded DNA bacteriophage f1. In 1979 he earned his MD from Cornell's medical school, followed by postdoctoral studies with Phil Leder at the NIH, where he identified and characterized the genes for human antibodies and the DNA elements involved in switch recombination. From 1982 to 1996 Dr. Ravetch was a member of the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College. His laboratory has focused on the mechanisms by which antibodies mediate their diverse biological activities in vivo, establishing the pre-eminence of FcR pathways in host defense, inflammation, and tolerance and describing novel inhibitory signaling pathways to account for the paradoxical roles of antibodies as promoting and suppressing inflammation.

Dr. Ravetch has received numerous awards including the Burroughs-Wellcome Scholar Award, the Pew Scholar Award, the Boyer Award, the NIH Merit Award, the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize (2004), the AAI-Huang Foundation Meritorious Career Award (2005), the William B. Coley Award (2007), the Sanofi-Pasteur Award (2012), and the Gairdner International Prize (2012). He has presented numerous named lectures including the Kunkel Lecture, the Ecker Lecture, the Goidl Lecture, the Grabar Lecture, and the Dyer Lecture. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences (2006) and the Institute of Medicine (2007) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009).

Dr. Ravetch has contributed extensively to the scientific community by serving as a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Cancer Research Institute, the Irvington Institute for Medical Research, and the Damon Runyon Foundation. He has been active in biotechnology for the past two decades, having served as a consultant or member of the scientific advisory boards of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Exelexis Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Medimmune, Genentech, Novartis, Merck, Micromet, Xencor, Suppremol, Igenica, Portola Pharmaceuticals, and Momenta.

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2012- Mark M. Davis, Ph.D., The Burt and Marion Avery Family
Professor of Immunology,
Stanford University School of Medicine
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

2011- Dr. Laurie Glimcher, Irene Heinz Given
Professor of Immunology,
Harvard School of Public Health
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

2010- Dr. Richard A. Flavell, Sterling Professor and Chairman
Yale University School of Medicine


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