Abstract: Series 109, Lecture 7

The Harvey Lectures Series 109 (2013—2014)

previous lecture

Lecture #7: Thursday, May 15, 2014 — Watch Video of Lecture

Host Defense Strategies

Ruslan M Medzhitov, PhD

Ruslan M Medzhitov, PhD

David W Wallace Professor of Immunobiology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine

New Haven, Connecticut

Dr Medzhitov's Website

All organisms evolved to have specialized defense systems to deal with adverse environmental factors, such as food deprivation, cold, predators and pathogens. These defense systems are essential for our health, survival and reproduction. However, they operate at a cost to other biological functions. In fact, many disease symptoms are actually produced by the defense responses themselves. Some defenses are simply the extensions of physiological homeostatic systems, for example, thermoregulation in cold adaptation. Other defenses are more specialized, for example, immune response to infection. The focus of this lecture will be on the evolution and design of defense systems and its implications for health and disease.