Seminars & Events

The Department of Immunobiology organizes a variety of seminars and events to encourage the exchange of ideas and to report on recent findings.

• Seminars • Annual Immunobiology Retreat • HTI Annual Retreat

For a list of upcoming seminars, visit our calendar.

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Immunobiology Celebrates 25 Years: 1988-2013

Immunobiology's 25th Anniversary Symposium, January 31, 2014

Annual Immunobiology Retreat

The Department of Immunobiology holds a yearly retreat, which provides an exceptional opportunity for the communication of ideas and results and the development of a sense of community among the members of the department. The retreat includes faculty presentations but heavily emphasizes informal workshops, organized and chaired by graduate students and postdocs, in which these trainees can present and discuss recent data. The next Immunobiology Retreat will be held October 20-21, 2014 at the Heritage Hotel and Conference Center in Southbury, CT.

HTI Retreat

Each year, HTI members participate in a retreat focused on translational research which allows scientists to share their work and interact with other researchers in a social setting. The program consists of an invited keynote speaker, principal investigators and lab member presentations as wells as a poster session to give all levels of researchers the opportunity to share their work. The next HTI Retreat will be held Tuesday, April 29 from 8:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. at West Campus, Building B25.

The Department of Immunobiology holds weekly seminars which brings in immunologists from around the world to present their research to the department (graduate students and postdocs in the department invite and host several of these speakers each year, including taking them to dinner). 

Other departments at Yale (Genetics, Cell Biology, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Biology) also hold easily accessible weekly seminars which are often of immediate interest. 

For the most up-to-date information please check our Event Calendar.

Research in Progress

The Department of Immunobiology provides a series of excellent forums for the exchange of ideas and data: a weekly "Research in Progress" (RIP) seminar series allows graduate students and postdocs to present their latest data to the entire department for critical appraisal and feedback (which provides important experience in public speaking). 2012-2013 Research in Progress (RIP) Seminar Schedule. For the most up-to-date information please check our event calendar.

HTI Seminar Series

A new program within the Department of Immunobiology, Human and Translational Immunology (HTI) also hosts a seminar series that highlights studies of human disease and features nationally recognized internal and outside speakers. 2012-2013 HTI Seminar Schedule. For the most up-to-date information please check our event calendar.


Dr. Charles Alderson Janeway Jr.

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Dr. Charles Alderson Janeway Jr., professor of immunobiology at the School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator was one of the leading immunologists of his generation. His ideas formed many of the concepts that are the basis of immunology today. He made major contributions to the understanding of T lymphocyte biology and is renowned for his recent work on innate immunity, which is the body's first line of defense against infection. In 1989, Dr. Janeway predicted that pattern recognition receptors would mediate the body's ability to recognize invasion by microorganisms. This prediction was made first on theoretical grounds and subsequently incisive experimental work in his laboratory established the underlying mechanisms. In this way, Dr. Janeway became one of the key conceptual founders of innate immunity, which is considered one of the most exciting areas of immunologic research in recent times.

Born in Boston, Charles Janeway Jr. was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, and at Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laudein 1963 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. His interest in medicine was inspired by his parents: his father, Charles A. Janeway Sr., was physician-in-chief at Boston Children's Hospital 1946-1974, and his mother, Elizabeth Janeway, was a social worker at the Boston Lying-In Hospital. Charles Janeway Jr. earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1969.

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Dr. Janeway trained in basic science research with Hugh McDevitt at Harvard, with John Humphrey at the National Institute for Medical Research in England, and with Robin Coombs at Cambridge University in England. He completed an internal medicine internship at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. Following five years of immunology research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, under William E. Paul, and two years at Uppsala University in Sweden under Hans Wigzell, he joined the Yale faculty in 1977. In 1983 he was promoted to professor of pathology and in 1988 he became one of the founding members of the newly created Section of Immunobiology at the School of Medicine. 

During his career, Janeway published more than 300 scientific papers. He was the principal author of the acclaimed textbook "Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease," now in its fifth edition. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and won a number of awards, including the American Association of Immunologists Lifetime Achievement Award and the Avery-Landsteiner Award, the highest honor of the German Society of Immunology. He served on the board of directors of several research institutes, including the Trudeau Institute, the Jackson Laboratory and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. He was president of the American Association of Immunologists from 1997 to 1998. 

Dr. Janeway took pride in training medical students, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom are now professors in immunology departments around the world. He was known as a gifted teacher, and his lively lectures won him Yale's Bohmfalk Teaching Award in 1991. 

For Dr. Janeway's contribution to the field and the Department of Immunobiology at the School of Medicine, we continue to honor him in the Janeway Memorial Seminar.

Dr. Richard K. Gershon

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In the early 1970s, Dr. Richard K. Gershon ignited the new field of immunology with his discovery of suppressor T cells, now recognized to be important in cancer, autoimmunity, allergies and infectious diseases. Gershon, who earned his medical degree at the Yale School of Medicine, worked in the Department of Pathology where he became professor and founded the Howard Hughes Cellular Immunology Unit at Yale. Immunology research at Yale was housed for many years within the Department of Microbiology, and subsequently in the Department of Pathology where it was organized as the Division of Immunology headed by the late Dr. Richard K. Gershon. Dr. Gershon, whose research focused on regulation of the immune response, developed a sizable division within the Department of Pathology between 1977 and 1983. A key component in this growth was the establishment of a formal program of training in immunology at the pre- and post-doctoral levels. A second important stimulus was the strong support received by several members of the Section from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Eventually, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute constructed new and unified facilities for the Division of Immunology within the Medical School. At the time of Dr. Gershon's untimely death, a committee was appointed that recommended the establishment of an autonomous Department of Immunobiology.

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In addition to his contributions to the Department of Immunobiology at Yale, Richard Gershon also made one of the most important discoveries in Immunology in this century. In 1970 together with his student Kondo he established that thymus-derived lymphocytes are capable of exerting a specific negative regulatory effect in immune responses and called these cells suppressor T cells. He further demonstrated that suppressor T cells are often responsible for the phenomenon of acquired immunological tolerance. The full impact of the discovery of the specific suppressive regulatory role of T lymphocytes in the immunological system, and in other systems under T cell control in health and disease, has not yet been fully realized; we continue to derive enormous benefits long after Gershon's death from his valuable contribution. From then on Richard Gershon's contributions continued at the highest level. He discovered feedback suppression of immune responses, showed the role of suppressor T cells in both humoral and cellular immunity, dissected the complex suppressor T cell circuits involving both inductor and effector suppressor T cells, and elucidated the role played by VH and MHC genes in their regulation. He showed that the suppressor T cell system itself was under the negative regulation of contrasuppressor T cells, which freed the helper T cells of the negative regulation of suppressor T cells under certain conditions. Richard Gershon's discoveries were the product of a highly perceptive mind endowed with uncanny intuition into complex biological systems where he took a childish delight to guide us, as if by the hand. His creative gifts as a scientist were associated with a warm and exceedingly generous personality who could enjoy life to the fullest, with gusto and even bravado, and as a consequence made it that much more enjoyable for all of us.

Twenty years after his passing Yale held the "Richard K. Gershon Symposium on Suppressor T Cells," a day of presentations and discussions by eminent researchers in immunology. Each year there is an annual funded lecture honoring the late Dr. Richard K. Gershon, but in 2003, the Gershon family and the Department of Immunobiology decided to honor the 20th year of the researcher's passing with this larger event.

In his honor the Department still holds an annual Richard Gershon Memorial Seminar.