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Tonight we will find out what vitamins your blood cells need, what fuels our immune cells and how your DNS can change through epigenetics, even after you are born. We will learn how these processes then control complex diseases, because sometimes soul food is not cell food! Come enjoy some pints and talk science with local scientists! The talks will be in english.
How does vitamin A regulate our stem cells?
Dr Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid (Group Leader, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics)
Billions of blood cells die every day, so new cells need to be made to maintain cell number. This process is mediated by our hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Most HSCs are in a state of dormancy, building a reservoir. They are only activated in situations of danger, to prevent the acquisition of mutations, which could lead to leukemia. We recently found that Vitamin A, a component of our food, is controlling HSC function. My talk will focus on how vitamin A can help regulate HSC function and how it maintains the HSC population, highlighting how our diet might influence our blood stem cells.
Understanding metabolism to control immunity
Dr Edward Pearce (Senior Group Leader, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics)
The immune system evolved to prevent animals from being overrun by microbes. To do their job, immune cells make dangerous molecules which kill microbes, but which can also cause collateral damage. Therefore it is critical that immune cells be tightly controlled to prevent inappropriate activation which can lead to autoimmune and inflammatory disease. In our laboratory we are interested in how immune cells are switched on and off. Our work focuses on the recent finding that changes in cellular metabolism are critical for these events. My talk will focus on this emergent area of research.
Who could I have been? Intergenerational effects in disease
Dr Andrew Pospisilik (Group Leader, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics)
Complex diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke afflict more than 2 billion people worldwide and carry a long-term public health and economic burden. A combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors causes such diseases, but critical regulatory layers, in particular epigenetic regulation, remain poorly understood. Indeed, we know that even monozygotic co-twin pairs can be highly divergent! Our focus is to understand why and how each individual is different in the non-genetic susceptibility to such diseases.