"From gut microbe to multifocal inflammatory demyelination" - Immunology Over Lunch with Ilana Brito & Tim Vartanian

Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 12:00pm

Immunology Over Lunch foster scientific exchanges and connections in a fun, informal environment. Join us for short lunchtime lectures and questions-and-answer sessions with guest lecturers!

Multiple sclerosis is caused by environmental triggers that result in episodically inducing transient blood-brain barrier permeability, enabling myelin-autoreactive lymphocytes to enter the central nervous system. Research has identified Clostridium perfringens as a putative environmental trigger in MS patients. Ilana Brito & Tim Vartanian will discuss evidence for this linkage, in addition to potential other sources of environmental triggers within the gut microbiome. Additionally, they will present several methods that associate microbiome features with specific diseases.

Ilana Brito is a Mong Family Sesquicentenial Faculty Scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering within Cornell University’s College of Engineering in Ithaca, NY. She holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology andspecializes both in the experimental and computational sides of microbiome research. She has a long-standing interest in infectious disease and global health which percolate throughout her research. She was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, Pew Biomedical Scholar and a NIH New Innovator Award.

Timothy Vartanian is a neurologist and neuroscientist focused on determining the fundamental mechanisms causing demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS) and defining new strategies to promote myelin regeneration in MS.  He is a professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at in the Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University in New York. He received his medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago.  Following an internship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Vartanian completed his neurology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.