Upcoming events

    • 27 Oct 2020
    • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (EDT)
    • Zoom; meeting link to be shared upon registration

    Pathogen selection for HLA gene diversity and its consequences for autoimmunity and cancer immunotherapy

    Tuesday, October 27th at 1pm EDT

    Join us for a conversation with Tobias L. Lenz of the Research Group for Evolutionary Immunogenomics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Ploen, Germany. Pathogen-mediated selection is a major driver of human evolution in general and of immune gene diversity specifically. A key component of the adaptive immune system are the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes, coding for molecules that present antigenic peptides to immune effector cells. The exceptional polymorphism at the HLA gene is assumed to reflect the need for diverse antigen presentation. However, an optimal immune response requires a delicate balance of maximizing recognition of pathogens while minimizing damage to self tissue by the immune machinery. As HLA molecules present both non-self and self antigens, depending on which antigens are presented by an individual’s HLA variants, this can trigger either pathogen resistance or autoimmunity. HLA-presentation of a broader antigen repertoire should thus be beneficial for pathogen recognition, but might also increase the risk for autoimmunity, leading to antagonistic selective pressures that shape the optimal antigen repertoire and thus HLA diversity in an individual.

    Here Dr. Lenz will discuss this evolutionary trade-off for individual HLA diversity and present some examples from his work on the role of pathogens in the evolution of HLA diversity, but also on its consequences for autoimmunity and its role in immune checkpoint blockade therapy against cancer, a striking example for the success of evolutionary medicine. Attendees are encouraged to read Pierini and Lenz 2018, “Divergent allele advantage at human MHC genes: signatures of past and ongoing selection” and Chowell et al. 2019, “Evolutionary divergence of HLA class I genotype impacts efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.” Sign up here for the meeting link.

    • 12 Nov 2020
    • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (EST)
    • Zoom; meeting link to be shared upon registration

    The Nature of Fear

    Thursday, November 12th at 12pm EST

    Join us for a conversation with Daniel Blumstein, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles. Fear, honed by millions of years of natural selection, kept our ancestors alive. Whether by slithering away, curling up in a ball, or standing still in the presence of a predator, humans and other animals have evolved complex behaviors in order to survive the hazards the world presents. But, despite our evolutionary endurance, we still have much to learn about how to manage our response to danger. Delving into the evolutionary origins and ecological contexts of fear across species, Blumstein’s book The Nature of Fear considers what we can learn from our fellow animals—from successes and failures. By observing how animals leverage alarm to their advantage, we can develop new strategies for facing risks without panic. Sign up here for the meeting link.

Past events

19 Oct 2020 Club EvMed: evolutionary understanding of aging and cancer with James DeGregori
13 Oct 2020 Club EvMed: Survival of the Friendliest with Brian Hare
6 Oct 2020 Club EvMed: SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility in 400 species with Elinor Karlsson
1 Oct 2020 Club EvMed: Race and evolutionary medicine with Joseph L. Graves Jr.
24 Sep 2020 Club EvMed: Student Spotlight with Lafi Aldakak, Chenlu Di, and Iman Hamid
17 Sep 2020 Club EvMed: Physical inactivity with Daniel Lieberman
10 Sep 2020 Club EvMed: Human birth timing with Abbe Labella, Abin Abraham, Lou Muglia, Antonis Rokas, and Tony Capra
3 Sep 2020 Club EvMed: Cancer and life history traits with Amy Boddy
27 Aug 2020 Club EvMed: Racial differences in immune respone to Helicobacter pylori with Meira Epplein and Julia Butt
20 Aug 2020 Club EvMed: The new tangled bank of disease with Brandon Ogbunu
20 Jul 2020 Club EvMed: High-altitude hypoxia with Cynthia Beall
15 Jul 2020 Cancelled: 2020 ISEMPH Pre-Meeting Workshop
15 Jul 2020 Cancelled: ISEMPH 2020 in Athens, Georgia
14 Jul 2020 Club EvMed: Tracking pathogens through time with Verena Schuenemann
6 Jul 2020 Club EvMed: Evolution of skin color with Nina Jablonski
30 Jun 2020 Club EvMed: The nature of adolescence with B. N. Horowitz
23 Jun 2020 Club EvMed: Batural Selection with Bernard Crespi
15 Jun 2020 Club EvMed: Social determinants of health with Jenny Tung, Noah Snyder-Mackler, and Dan Belsky
11 Jun 2020 Club EvMed: Tacit creationism in emotions research with Randolph Nesse
3 Jun 2020 Club EvMed: The role of chance in evolution with Sean B. Carroll
26 May 2020 Club EvMed: The evolution of cheating cells in cancer with Athena Aktipis
18 May 2020 ClubEvMed: Evolution and Avoiding Catastrophic Risks with Daniel Blumstein and Terence Taylor
15 May 2020 ClubEvMed: Cytokine Storm with Joe Alcock
13 Aug 2019 ISEMPH 2019 in Zurich
1 Aug 2018 ISEMPH 4th Annual Meeting

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