How to succeed in Science and enjoy making new discoveries
Jonathan Yewdell from the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, USA) gives an inspiring Jonathan Boulter Memorial Lecture 2012
Prof Yewdell is Chief of the Cellular Biology Section, Laboratory of Viral Diseases, at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he works on the interaction between the immune system and the influenza virus.
On 10th October he gave an excellent overview of his intriguing work on defective ribosomal products (DRiPs) with the title "Adventures in Viral Immunology: Translating DRiPs for Immunosurveillance" , in an attempt to explain the rapid and efficient presentation of viral proteins to cytotoxic T cells. According to Prof Yewdell, antigenic peptides arise from (intended or unintended) mistakes in the gene expression process yielding proteins with errors in their amino acid sequence, in their post-translational modifications or in their three-dimensional folding.
On 11th October Prof Yewdell gave a highly inspiring presentation on "How To Succeed in Science Without Really Trying" that was mainly aimed at PhD students and postdocs - although many PIs also attended, probably in the hope to receive some useful suggestions for their own career.
Following this motivational lecture, there was a student and postdoc "meet the speaker" session. With an overwhelming amount of interest in attending, it had to be divided into two separate slots.
The hour long sessions allowed students and postdocs to ask any questions they dare not ask in front of a large audience. Prof Yewdell spoke openly about his own experiences and gave advice to the attendees, where the basic message was to work hard, be creative and stay happy. The casual atmosphere really allowed for a broad and general discussion ranging from why he personally did not want to stay a medic to why he believes basic research is the best way forward.
The discussions were then continued in the Heath pub, again with great interest from the younger scientists. The beers and the open fire were a great environment for friendly chatting about America, his plans in the UK and also his take on the movie "Contagion" - overall, a fantastic afternoon for the young immunologists, with a very stimulating guest!
The prestigious Jonathan Boulter Memorial Lecture is an annual event co-hosted by the School of Medicine and the British Society for Immunology and features some of the most distinguished and inspiring immunologists of our time. It is held in memory of our colleague and friend Dr Jonathan Boulter who tragically lost his brave fight with brain cancer in 2008. Previous speakers in this series were Prof Casey Weaver (USA) in 2009, Dr Federica Sallusto (Switzerland) in 2010, and Prof Bruce Beutler (USA) in 2011 (who later on that year received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine).
The Jonathan Boulter Memorial Lecture 2012 was kindly sponsored by eBioscience.
- 12th October 2012