Live from the Lab with Professor Christopher Benedict, Ph.D.Jun 20, 2023
On June 20, 2023 La Jolla Institute for Immunology Associate Professor Christopher Benedict, Ph.D., discussed the surprising ways that viruses escape detection by our immune system and the exciting research underway that could help the body hunt down invaders. Dr. Benedict's work has shed light on how viruses such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr (Mono), and chicken pox/shingles (Varicella Zoster) viruses put up "smokescreens" to trick human immune cells. These strategies facilitate viral replication, and in some cases help them establish lifelong infections that we can never clear. Most people get infected with Epstein-Barr virus at some point in their lives and more than half of the U.S. population will be infected with CMV, the most common infectious cause of birth defects, by the time they hit 40. In this Live from the Lab discussion, Dr. Benedict described how he and his team are building an understanding of the viral strategies that allow these diseases to evade detection by our immune system, which could lead to important vaccine discoveries – and ultimately work towards Life Without Disease®. Expert insights during the virtual discussion were also provided by the Institute's Chief Scientific Officer Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D. Technical expertise was shared during the laboratory component of the presentation by Benedict Lab Manager Eduardo Lucero Meza. The presentation ended with a live Q&A, with questions from participants.