Prof. Ralph Steinman Rockefeller University, USA

1 Talk

Ralph M. Steinman, MD is the Henry G. Kunkel Professor at The Rockefeller University and heads the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology. In addition to research in fundamental mechanisms of immunity and tolerance, Steinman studies the interface of the immune system with several disease states, including research aimed at... read moredeveloping vaccines and immune-based therapies for tumors, infections and autoimmune diseases. The body's immune defense system involves extremely complex interactions of specialized cells and molecules. Steinman's early research, conducted in collaboration with the late Zanvil A. Cohn at Rockefeller, began as an attempt to understand the initiation of immunity, especially the large "eating" macrophages and the exquisitely specific lymphocytes, which operate to spot and resist infectious microorganisms and tumor cells. In the course of their studies, Steinman and Cohn discovered a previously unknown class of immune cells, which they called dendritic cells. Dr. Steinman's research, along with many other laboratories worldwide, has identified dendritic cells as critical sentinels of the immune system controlling many of their early responses from resistance (immunity) to silencing (tolerance) including clinically important situations such as graft rejection, resistance to tumors, autoimmune diseases, and infections like AIDS. In early October 2011 Prof. Steinman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine (one half) "for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity", and the other half was jointly awarded to Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann "for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity". Sadly, Prof. Steinman passed away on 30th September 2011.