Bertram M. Marx Lectureship

Bertram Marx Lecture Speaker

 Michael B. A. Oldstone, M.D. 

Professor, Department of Immunology and Microbial Science
Viral-Immunobiology Laboratory
The Scripps Research Institute

“Anatomy of Viral Persistence: Mechanisms
of Immune Evasion and Treatment”

Friday, October 25, 2013

3:00 pm
Heritage Hall, room 102
1401 University Boulevard



Bertram M. Marx Lecture

Edgar and Margot Marx established an endowment to support the Bertram M. Marx Graduate Student Research Grants Program, which has been active since 1982. Each year, two graduate students interested in cancer research are selected by the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s internal committee to receive these awards. To further honor the memory of Edgar’s father, Edgar and Margot established the Bertram M. Marx Lectureship in 1985. The lectureship, which is hosted by the UAB Department of Microbiology, supports annual visits to the UAB campus by scientists noted for their work examining the basic biology of cancer as well as the impact of infection, inflammation and immune regulation on the development and progression of cancer and other chronic diseases. The Marx Lectures are given by top leaders in their respective fields and have included Nobel Laureates and members of the US National Academy of Sciences. See the list of prior Marx Lecturers.

The Department of Microbiology and the whole UAB research community are deeply grateful to the Marx family for their continued generosity in providing resources to bring truly outstanding scientists to Birmingham and UAB. This year, the UAB Department of Microbiology is pleased to welcome Dr. Michael B.A. Oldstone, M.D. to present the 26th Bertram M. Marx lecture. Dr. Oldstone, Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbial Science and Head of the Viral-Immunobiology laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute, received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Alabama in 1954 and his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1961. He studied biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Maryland and the McCollum-Pratt Institute of Johns Hopkins University. His further research training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation established the cornerstone for his groundbreaking studies in viral immunology and neurovirology. In 1966 Dr. Oldstone joined Scripps Research Institute, one of the largest non-profit research institutions in the country. His studies examining immune responses to chronic and acute viral infections overturned the dogma that persistent infections lead to immune tolerance and showed instead that some pathogens actively suppress the immune system. He also showed that immune responses to certain pathogens can cross-react with cells and proteins of the host (so-called molecular mimicry) resulting in the development of autoimmunity. He also demonstrated that some viral infections induce the immune system to initiate a “cytokine-storm “, which can cause tissue damage and even death. These studies, as well as many other from Dr. Oldstone’s laboratory, have shaped our thinking about treating and vaccinating for infections with chronic viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C and highly pathogenic viruses like avian influenza and SARS.

Over the years, Dr. Oldstone has received numerous awards for his scholarly contributions to the fields of experimental pathology, viral pathogenesis, autoimmunity, neurovirology and neurology. These include the Cotzias Award, the Abraham Flexner Award, the Rous-Whipple Award, the Biomedical Science award from Karolinska Institutet, the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine and the R.E. Dyer Lectureship and Directors Award. In 2008 Dr. Oldstone was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences – the most acclaimed scientific honor society in the United States – for his pioneering studies in viral immunology and viral pathogenesis. To learn more about Dr. Oldstone and his career, see his career profile published in PNAS and his review describing the lessons learned and concepts formed from his laboratory’s study of the pathogenesis of negative-strand viruses.