Monday 14th October 2013
Time: 1.00-2.00pm (tea/coffee available from 12.40pm)
Kennedy Lecture Theatre, UCL Institute of Child Health.
If you would like to suggest someone as a speaker, please contact the OWL Committee Chair, Professor Christine Kinnon.
For any administrative questions, please contact Nicole Hofmans.
Tribute to my teachers Bill Marshall, Roland Levinsky and Mac Turner- Use of mouse models, exome sequencing and GWAS to study infection & immunity
Part of the Otto Wolff Lecture series 2013
Professor Yu-Lung Lau,
Chair Professor of Paediatrics & Doris Zimmern Professor in Community Child Health, The University of Hong Kong
I was Dr Bill Marshall’s SHO and Professor Roland Levinsky’s Research Fellow in the 1980’s learning from them about infectious diseases and primary immunodeficiencies respectively, while Professor Mac Turner introduced me to mannose binding lectin. Collectively they have shaped my academic pursuit for the last 25 years. The passion of Bill for infectious diseases has driven me to a series of study on infectious diseases including influenza. Our laboratory established a humanized mouse model which was used to demonstrate palmidronate can activate human gamma-delta T cells to treat avian influenza successfully. This humanized mouse model was also used to demonstrate human CD8+ regulatory T cells can treat graft-versus-host disease. Roland supervised me to use RFLP to map the genes for XLA and XSCID for my MD study and this experience has driven me to establish the Asian PID Network to provide e-consultation and genetic diagnosis for suspected PID patients in both Asia and Africa free of charge. Our network has provided such service for over 1000 PID patients, arriving at a definitive molecular diagnosis in 50%. For the other 50% undiagnosed patients, we started using exome sequencing to define their mutations, with some successes, including STAT1 mutations can lead to disseminated penicilliosis. Mac’s introduction of MBL has led me to hypothesize MBL deficiency may be a risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus. This first gene association study of SLE with MBL polymorphisms was the beginning of a series of association studies with other genes culminating in our GWAS involving over 5000 lupus patients, which uncovered genetic variants in or near 7 novel genes being associated with SLE. This series of study has helped understand the pathogenesis of lupus better and point to potential therapeutic target. The influence of my 3 teachers is still ongoing and the best is yet to come. To them, forever grateful I remain.
Professor YL Lau is the Chair Professor of Paediatics and Doris Zimmern Professor in Community Child Health, The University of Hong Kong. His research interest is in infectious diseases, immunology and genetics. He has established the Asian Primary Immunodeficiencies Referral Network offering e-consultation and free genetic tests for such patients in China and other Asian countries. For studying the genetics of systemic lupus erythematosus, he has set up the Asian Lupus Genetics Consortium with collaborators from China and Thailand, comprising 5,000 lupus patients and 10,000 controls.