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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

Innovation in Biological and Medical Sciences Distinguished Lecture

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.

2013-2014 EVENTS

Diane Mathis, PhD

"Aire, a Transcriptional Regulator that Controls Immunological Tolerance"

Diane Mathis, PhD
Morton Grove-Rasmussen Professor
of Immunohematology
Division of Immunology, MBIB
Harvard Medical School

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
12 noon
Hammer Health Sciences Center, Room 401
701 West 168th Street

Dr. Diane Mathis obtained a PhD degree from the University of Rochester and performed postdoctoral studies at the Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire des Eucaryotes (LGME) in Strasbourg, France, and at Stanford University Medical Center. She returned to France at the end of 1983, establishing a laboratory at the LGME [later the Institut de Genetique et de Biologie Moleculare et Cellulaire (IGBMC)] in Strasbourg, in conjunction with Dr. Christophe Benoist. The lab moved to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston at the end of 1999. Through 2008, Dr. Mathis was a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School (HMS) and an associate research director and head of the Section on Immunology and Immunogenetics at Joslin, where she held the William T. Young Chair in Diabetes Research. Dr. Mathis is currently a professor in the Division of Immunology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at HMS and holder of the Morton Grove-Rasmussen Chair in Immunohematology. She is also a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and an associate faculty member of the Broad Institute. She serves on scientific advisory boards of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Pew Foundation, Genentech, Fidelity Biosciences, MedImmune, and Pfizer as well as of several research institutes worldwide. She is co-founder of Tempero, a biotech startup that aims to produce novel therapeutics in the autoimmunity/inflammation space. Dr. Mathis was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2003, the German Academy in 2007, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. The Mathis lab works in the fields of T cell differentiation, autoimmunity, and inflammation. Dr Mathis has trained close to 150 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

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2013- Jeffrey V. Ravetch, M.D., Ph.D., Theresa and Eugene Lang Professor
Head, Leonard Wagner Laboratory of
Molecular Genetics and Immunology
The Rockefeller University

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

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

2009 - Sankar Ghosh, Ph.D., Silverstein and Hutt Family Professor of Microbiology
Chair, Department of Microbiology
Columbia University

2008 - Michel C. Nussenzweig, MD, Ph.D., Sherman Fairchild Professor, The Rockefeller University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

2007 - Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Professor of Immunology and Genomic Medicine
Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine

2005 - Max D. Cooper, M.D., Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Microbiology and Pathology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

2004 - Klaus Rajewsky, M.D., Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Senior Investigator, CBR Institute for Biomedical Research


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