Thoughts on the Origin of Microbial Virulence
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The worlds inside and outside our bodies teem with microorganisms, but most don’t make us sick. Fungi in particular seem to leave mammals alone. Of the 1.5 million known fungal species, only a dozen or so are relatively common human pathogens, while insects and plants are frequent fungal targets. Why the difference? Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., will address that question—and the intriguing possibility that the demise of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals were linked by differing susceptibility to fungal diseases—in the 2013 Joseph J. Kinyoun Memorial Lecture. The lecture is scheduled for Monday, December 16, at 2:30 p.m. in the Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10.
Casadevall is Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York. His research centers on the questions of how microbes cause disease and how hosts, such as humans, defend themselves. To explore this dynamic relationship, Casadevall and colleagues have long examined Cryptococcus neoformans, a common fungus that is harmless to healthy people but can cause serious disease, including lung infections and fungal meningitis, in immune-compromised people such as those with HIV/AIDS. Many of the laboratory’s projects seek to understand how hosts defend against C. neoformans and how the organism’s virulence contributes to disease.
Casadevall received doctoral and medical degrees from New York University and completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He is the author of more than 570 papers and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the online, open-access journal mBio. Casadevall is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, serves on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, and co-chairs the NIAID Board of Scientific Counselors.
NIAID established the Kinyoun Lecture series in 1979 to honor Dr. Joseph J. Kinyoun, who in 1887 founded the Laboratory of Hygiene, forerunner of NIH, which launched a new era of scientific study of infectious diseases.