4th Annual Immunobiology Student Symposium

Sterling Hall of Medicine

The 4th Yale Immunobiology Student Symposium


Invited speakers:

Barry Bloom

Harvard School of Public Health 

Lisa Boulanger

Princeton University 

Mark Davis

Stanford University School of Medicine 

Lora Hooper

UT Southwestern 

John Mascola

Vaccine Research Center, NIAID/NIH 

September 19

Order of Events
Harkness Auditorium
333 Cedar St
10:20-10:50Light Breakfast, Harkness Lobby
10:50-11:00Welcome and Opening Remarks
11:00-11:45Dr. Carl H. June, MD University of Pennsylvania
11:45-12:30Dr. Roman M. Chicz, PhD, Sanofi Pasteur
1:45-2:30Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, PhD, NIAID
2:30-3:15Dr. Christopher M. Sassetti, PhD, HHMI, University of Massachusetts
3:30-4:15Dr. Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis
4:30-6:30Happy Hour and Reception

Dr. Carl H. June, MD
Dr. June is the Richard W. Vague Professor of Immunotherapy, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Director of the Translational Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a BS from the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1971 and an MD from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1979. He received training in immunology and malaria research at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and did his post- doctoral training in transplantation biology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. From 1986–1999 he rose through the ranks in the Departments of Medicine and Cell and Molecular Biology at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland before assuming his current position as a tenured Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. Currently, his research laboratory studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy. The June laboratory has pioneered the use of genetically engineered killer T cells to target and eradicate tumors in leukemia patients.

Dr. Roman M. Chicz, PhD   
Dr. Chicz is the Head of External R&D at Sanofi Pasteur, the largest manufacturer of human vaccines. He received his BS from Occidental College and his PhD from Purdue University. He served as a principal scientist and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and co-founded ZYCOS Inc., where he served as Vice President of Discovery Research from 1996 until the company’s acquisition in 2004 by MGI Pharm Inc. After working for several biotech companies in Massachusetts, he joined Sanofi Pasteur in 2010, where he now identifies and assesses opportunities for external collaboration on vaccine targets and relevant technologies. He is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and an advisory reviewer for the American Journal of Immunology. He holds numerous patents and published several articles in the field of vaccines, including on HPV, HSV and therapeutic vaccines.

Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, PhD
Dr. Belkaid is Chief of the Mucosal Immunology Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). She obtained her PhD in 1996 from the Pasteur Institute in France. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at NIAID, she joined the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati as an Assistant Professor in 2002. In 2005, she joined the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at NIAID as a tenure-track investigator. Since 2008, she has worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Belkaid is a leading expert on immune cell function at barrier sites and the influence of commensal organisms and dietary factors on effector and regulatory T cell responses in the GI tract and skin. Her current research interests include studying the functions of the microbiota and vitamin metabolites in immunity and pathology during infection, understanding the strategies through which individual tissues maintain integrity during inflammation, and unveiling the factors that mediate induction and stability of regulatory T cells at barrier sites.

Dr. Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD
Dr. Diamond is a Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Molecular Microbiology, Pathology, and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis. He received a BA from Columbia University in 1985 and an MD/PhD from Harvard University in 1994. After completing residencies and fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco, he joined Washington University in St. Louis in 2002 as a practitioner and Assistant Professor. Dr. Diamond’s laboratory has made major contributions to our understanding of viral pathogenesis and host immune responses. His research focuses on globally important viruses of the Flaviviridae family, including West Nile virus, Hepatitis C virus, and Dengue virus, as well as on an emerging member of the Togaviridae family, the Chikungunya virus. Currently, he is spearheading efforts to understand how novel innate immune effector molecules restrict infection, utilize systems biology approaches to dissect innate immunity in the brain, and determine how the innate immune system contributes to the establishment and maintenance of memory B and T cell responses.

Dr. Christopher M. Sassetti, PhD
Dr. Sassetti is an HHMI Early Career Scientist and an Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He received a BS from Santa Clara University in 1990 and a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco in 1999. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University School of Public Health as a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Scholar from 2001–2003, he joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts as an Assistant Professor in 2004. In 2009, he was selected as an HHMI Early Career Scientist. Dr. Sassetti helped engineer the TraSH system, which utilizes transposons to randomly inactivate genes in M. tuberculosis. Using this approach, Dr. Sassetti has defined key gene networks involved in different aspects of M. tuberculosis survival and pathogenesis. Currently, his laboratory strives to understand host- pathogen interactions and mechanisms of restriction of mycobacteria, the bacterial regulation of cellular growth in mycobacteria, and the interplay between dormancy and antibiotic resistance during mycobacterial infections.



To provide a graduate student forum for the discussion of frontier research presented by a panel of leading scientists selected by our student body


  • To have experts from immunology and related disciplines discuss recent scientific advances and present on the current state and future of their fields 
  • To have our student body select invited speakers based on their scientific, academic, and career interests 
  • To create an environment conducive to the generation of new ideas, particularly to application of fundamental principles from other disciplines to our own individual areas of research 
  • To encourage and foster graduate student interaction with scientific leaders and experts in both professional and social settings 
  • To provide a platform for established scientists and professors to discuss their past, present and future impressions of the state of academic science, translational research, clinical medicine and industry 
  • To strengthen the immunology graduate student community in this country by providing a fun and creative atmosphere to network, establish connections and collaborations, and to share ideas at this formative stage of our careers 
  • To host Yale Immunobiology alumni who are now leaders in the field to discuss their scientific trajectories and accomplishments 
  • To promote Yale Immunobiology graduate student involvement with the greater scientific community 
  • To highlight our presence, ideas, and scientific/academic goals to the Yale campus and the greater scientific community 
  • To host a unique and fun scientific symposium and provide an enjoyable and memorable atmosphere for graduate students, faculty, and invited speakers 
  • To have our inaugural Yale Immunbiology Graduate Student Symposium pave the way for future symposia of bigger scope


From I-95 North or South: Take exit 47 to Route 34 west to exit 2. Turn left onto College street and continue onto Congress St. Turn right onto Cedar st. Harkness Auditorium is located at the Sterling Hall of Medicine at 333 Cedar St.

From I-91 South: Take Exit 2 onto Frontage road. Follow directions as above.

Parking: The Air Rights Garage has 24/7 parking available for hourly and daily rates. It is located between North and South Frontage roads, on York St. The Howard Avenue Garage has visitor parking available from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm. It is located at the corner of Howard and Congress streets.

Google Maps

Contact Us

2014 Immunobiology Graduate Student Symposium Committee

Macy Akalu

Asu Erden

Ross Federman

Corey Martin

William Ruff 

Jessica Wang 

Michael Parker

*Any questions, concerns, or comments? Please contact: michael.parker@yale.edu

Immunobiology Student Symposium Academic Advisor: 

Dr. David Schatz

Immunobiology Student Symposium Administrative Liaison: 

Barbara Cotton

2013 Speakers and Organizers

2013 Immunobiology Graduate Student Symposium Committee: 

Kachiko Hayashi (kachiko.hayashi@yale.edu) William Ruff (william.ruff@yale.edu) Asu Erden (asu.erden@yale.edu) Robert Amezquita (robert.amezquita@yale.edu) Jessica Wang (jessica.k.wang@yale.edu) Corey Martin (corey.martin@yale.edu) 

2013 Faculty Advisors: Dr. Martin Kriegel (martin.kriegel@yale.edu) Dr. David Schatz (david.schatz@yale.edu)

2013 Yale  Immunobiology Graduate Student Symposium Speakers: 

Joann Roskoski

Ph.D from Yale University, Deputy Assistant Director for the NSF Directorate of Biological Sciences Directorate, has been at the NSF since 1989, and has held numerous positions throughout the Environmental Biology and Biological Sciences divisions.

David Hafler   
Gilbert H. Glaser Professor and Chair of Neurology at Yale University, Professor of Immunobiology at Yale, and Neurologist-in-Chief at Yale-New Haven Hospital, member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, The American Neurological Association, and the Alpha Omega Society.

Wendy Garrett
B.S., M.D., and Ph.D from Yale University, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Immunology, and Infectious Disease at Harvard Medical School, research interests focus on gut microbiota and the influence of gut inflammation on the development of cancer.

James Noonan
Professor of Genetics at Yale Medical School, research interests focus on human developmental regulatory regions using a combination of computational and in vivo techniques to develop an understanding of what makes us human.

Mikael Pittet
Associate Professor of Radiology Harvard Medical School, research interests focus on the use and development of novel in vivo imaging strategies to better understand host immune responses to infection and cancer. 

Carl Zimmer
B.A. from Yale University, Fellow and Lecturer of scientific writing at Yale University, Scientific Columnist at the New York Times, described by the New York Times Book Review as, “as fine a science essayist as we have,” host of the blog The Loom, and winner of numerous scientific awards including the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Journalism Award, which he received three times.

The 2012 Inaugural Immunobiology Graduate Student Symposium

Ira Mellman

Former chair of Cell Biology at Yale, Vice President of Research Oncology at Genentech, Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Jonathan C. Kagan

Ph.D. from Yale University, Assistant Professor at Harvard University Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

Linda R. Watkins

Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado President’s Teaching Scholar, Director of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Ph.D. Program.

Diane Mathis

Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology, and Director of the JDRF Center on Immunological Tolerance in Type-1 Diabetes at Harvard Medical School.

Ian Lipkin

Ian Lipkin

Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Professor of Neurology and Pathology at College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, Director of the Northeast Biodefense Center

Shelly Kagan

Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and the former Henry R. Luce Professor of Social Thought and Ethics.

The 2012 Inaugural Immunobiology Graduate Student Symposium Committee

Tian Su (tian.su@yale.edu)

Padmini Pillai (padmini.pillai@yale.edu)

Jeremy Jacox (jeremy.jacox@yale.edu)

Edward Schmid (edward.schmid@yale.edu)

Faculty advisor

Dr. Susan Kaech (susan.kaech@yale.edu)

Director of Graduate Studies

Peter Cresswell (peter.cresswell@yale.edu)

Location: TAC Auditorium

Yale School of Medicine

300 Cedar Street

New Haven, CT

Google Map

Our 2016 sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

  • StemCell Technologies
  • Yale Dean's Fund for Student-Organized Symposia
  • Nature Reviews Immunology
  • GSK

Silver Sponsors:

  • BioLegend
  • Cell Signaling Technology
  • Mercodia
  • VWR
  • NIH Interdisciplinary Training Program Grant AI007019

Bronze Sponsors: 

  • Affymetrix eBioscience