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Organised by Professor Danny Altmann, Dr Francois Balloux and Dr Rosemary Boyton
In this Satellite meeting we aim to bring together an international cohort of academics from highly diverse backgrounds so that anthropologists, historians, geneticists, immunologists, molecular microbiologists and experts on the evolution of language can together bring their knowledge to bear on plotting the timeline of human history and the forces that have shaped it. We will consider the co-evolution of man, our immune system and our major pathogens, taking into account recent evidence from DNA sequencing initiatives alongside the evidence from historical artifacts.
Programme available to download here.
Dr François Balloux, Imperial College London, UKShould we blame agriculture on all our ills
François Balloux is a Reader in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College. He was trained as a population geneticist and obtained his PhD in 2000 from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). After a postdoc at the University of Edinburgh, he was offered a faculty position in the Department of Genetics in Cambridge in 2002. There, he led a group working on human evolutionary genetics for five years but became increasingly interested in the evolution of human pathogens and the interplay with their host. In 2007, he joined the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College and the newly founded MRC Outbreaks Centre.
Professor Danny Altmann, Imperial College London, UK Organiser
Danny Altmann is Professor of Immunology in the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London and, as of 2011, Head of Pathogens, Immunity and Population Health at the Wellcome Trust. He is also Editor in Chief of Immunology. As Head of the Human Disease Immunogenetics Group, his major research interest has been in the immunogenetics of autoimmune diseases and bacterial infections. This has in recent years included a major emphasis on T cell immunity to serious bacterial infections. Prior to joining Imperial College he was a senior scientist in the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre.
Dr Rosemary Boyton, Imperial College London, UKOrganiser
Dr Rosemary Boyton heads the Lung Immunology Group, Department of Medicine that is focused on the molecular immunology of lung disease. Research interests include innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in the regulation of infectious and allergic lung inflammation. She is a Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine at Royal Brompton Hospital with a specialist interest in Respiratory Infection.
Dr Ian Barnes, Royal Holloway, University of London, UKDeath comes to town: disease resistance, urbanisation and recent selection in human populations
Ian Barnes is Reader in Molecular Palaeobiology at Royal Holloway, University of London. Since completing his DPhil at the University of York, he has worked at the University of Oxford, and University College London (as a Wellcome Trust Fellow). In 2005 he was awarded a NERC Fellowship, moving to Royal Holloway. He has worked in the field of ancient DNA since 1994, conducting studies on plant, fungi, bacterial, avian and mammal DNA, with a focus on the study of ecological and evolutionary change through time. Dr Barnes has a first degree in archaeological science, and continues to work at the interface of archaeology, palaeontology and molecular biology. He has been particularly involved in exploring the potential for the recovery of bacterial pathogens in archaeological material, and more recently the use of host disease resistance as a proxy for long-term population exposure to pathogens.
Professor Eske Willerslev, Centre of GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Denmark Hunting the molecular past
Eske Willerslev is director for Centre of Excellence in GeoGenetics and the National CryoBank and Sequencing Facility, situated at the National History Museum, University of Copenhagen. His research interests include: human evolution, palaeoecology, palaeontology, domestication, DNA degradation and repair, macroevolution, molecular evolution, barcoding, and genomics. He did his doctorate at University of Copenhagen and a Wellcome Trust Fellowship at Oxford University, UK. He has also been a visitor at MD Anderson Cancer Research Centre in Texas, US. His group established the fields of sedimentary ancient DNA (Science 2003), and ice core genetics (Science 2007), and were the first to sequence the complete mitochondrial DNA genome (Science 2008) and nuclear genome (Nature 2010) of ancient humans.
Dr Brenna Henn, Stanford University, USAAfrican population history inferred from genomic data
Professor Martin Richards, University of Leeds, UKArchaeogenetics and the settlement of the Remote Pacific
Martin B Richards is Professor of Archaeogenetics at the University of Leeds, UK. He studied genetics at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester, moving to Oxford University and into archaeogenetic research in 1990. From there, he developed collaborative links with a small group of like-minded colleagues who spearheaded the use of network diagrams in the phylogenetic and phylogeographic analysis of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). This enjoyable collaboration was to yield influential models for the settlement of both Europe and the Pacific, and for prehistoric dispersals in Africa. He subsequently moved to UCL, Huddersfield and then Leeds University, where he now teaches, amongst other topics, human evolution, molecular evolution and bioinformatics. His research in the last decade has particularly sought to apply complete mtDNA genome variation to archaeogenetic questions, such as the route taken by modern humans dispersing out of Africa and the settlement of Southeast Asia and the Pacific – most recently returning his focus to the continuing controversy over the settlement of Europe. He co-edited Mitochondrial DNA and the Evolution of Homo Sapiens (Springer-Verlag, 2006) with Hans-Jürgen Bandelt and Vincent Macaulay.
Dr Chris Tyler-Smith, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UKInsights into human genome variation from the 1000 Genomes Project
Dr Chris Tyler-Smith is head of the Human Evolution team at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. His background is in human molecular and evolutionary genetics, and from 1987 to 2003, his research concentrated on understanding the structure and function of human centromeres, responsible for proper segregation of chromosomes when the cell divides.
This work used the Y chromosome centromere as its model, and during this period he developed an interest in the use of variation on the Y chromosome to provide insights into aspects of human history and evolution.
In 2003, he moved to The Sanger Institute, and concentrated on human evolution. While his interest in the use of neutral markers such as the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA continues, particularly as part of the Genographic Project, the main thrust of his work is now directed towards investigating the way natural selection has shaped modern humans. In order to do this, they document the extent of genetic variation, including structural variation, in human populations. This is done as part of the Genome Structural Variation consortium and the 1000 Genomes Project. They are then particularly interested in identifying regions of the genome that have experienced recent positive selection in humans.
Dr Quentin Atkinson, The University of Auckland, New ZealandLanguage evolution in time and space
Dr Atkinson has recently taken up a post as Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland. Prior to this, he spent 3 years at the University of Oxford as a Research Fellow in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. His research interests cover a range of areas related to genetic and cultural evolution in modern humans. This includes work on the evolution of language, religion, large-scale cooperation, and the human expansion from Africa.
Dr Stephen Oppenheimer, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, School of Anthropology and Museum Enthnography, University of Oxford, UKReconstruction of ancient migrations using multiple lines of evidence
Qualified in medicine, Oxford 1971. 1972-97: a total of 17 years, located in the tropics as a paediatrician, with intervening time spent in English universities (London, Oxford, and Liverpool) as bases for overseas secondment. Published extensively, focussing on the interactions between iron, nutrition, genetics (particularly α+-thalassaemia) and infections esp. malaria. Professor of Paediatrics in Malaysia then HK from 1987-94.
1997-present: Returned to Oxford for children’s education. Published first book: ‘Eden in the East: the drowned continent of Southeast Asia’ in 1998, a multidisciplinary reconstruction of prehistoric migrations in Southeast Asia and the Pacific using climatology, oceanography, archaeology, genetics, linguistics and cultural anthropology; followed by two similar, more genetically focussed books "Out of Eden: the Peopling of the World" 2003 and “The Origins of the British: a genetic detective story”, 2006.
Has continued collaborative research with numerous peer-reviewed publications supporting the original reconstructions in his three books. Adviser and talking head in a number of related TV documentaries.
Dr Andrea Manica, University of Cambridge, UKReconstructing the mode and tempo of the out-of-Africa migration of anatomically modern humans
Andrea Manica is a Senior Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Cambridge. His group uses spatial models to look a variety of ecological and evolutionary questions. His work in population genetics has mostly focussed on reconstructing the out-of-Africa migration by anatomically modern humans that led to their spread across the globe.
Dr Mary Carrington, National Cancer Institute, USAEvolution of the HLA-C 3’UTR and its effect on HIV control
Dr Carrington obtained her PhD in Immunobiology at Iowa State University in 1982. She performed her postdoctoral studies in the departments of Immunology and Microbiology at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, respectively. Subsequently she joined the Immunology Department at Duke University as a faculty member from 1985-1989. Dr Carrington began her career at the NCI-Frederick in 1989 as a Principal Scientist in the HLA Immunogenetics Laboratory and later became Head of the laboratory. Her laboratory has been involved in characterizing the influence of host genetics on cancer, autoimmunity and, in particular, infectious disease pathogenesis. She is a member of the International Council on Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility, the steering committee of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, the CCR/DCEG Human Genomics & Genetics Leadership group, the Center of Excellence in Integrative Cancer Biology and Genomics steering committee, the Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. Dr Carrington became Director of the Basic Sciences Program in 2002. As Director, she is responsible for the guidance and oversight of a large and diverse group of scientists in investigator-initiated hypothesis-driven basic research.
Dr Paul Norman, Stanford University, USAPopulation-specific evolution of Natural Killer cell diversity
Paul Norman’s long-term research goal is to understand how genetic factors lead to individual differences in immune responses, with application towards improving human health. His initial training was in the clinical transplantation laboratory of Guy’s Hospital London where he studied the genetics of HLA, arguably the most highly variable molecules in humans. Whilst at Guy’s he also investigated genes that govern individual variation in the number of circulating immune cells, in collaboration with the Human Genetics Department at the University of Utah. During his PhD at King’s College London and subsequent research career at Stanford University in the laboratory of Prof Peter Parham he has continued to explore the genetics of immune cell receptors. He has been specializing on the ‘KIR’ natural killer cell receptors, their impact on immune function through interaction with HLA and, importantly, their extraordinary genetic diversity. KIR genes vary in number between individuals and populations and are also highly polymorphic. By studying how natural selection has defined HLA and KIR variants and their distribution in modern human populations we have begun to understand how they interact with each other and ultimately modulate immune function.
Dr Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, Universidad Complutense, SpainOrigin of Amerindians and their genetic relatedness with Asian and Pacific islanders
Antonio Arnaiz Villena is presently Head of Immunology and Microbiology I Department at University Complutense and Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid, Spain. He was born and studied Biology and Medicine in Madrid. He accomplished post-doctoral research during 9 years in the UK at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School (Prof Roitt) and at the London Hospital Medical College (Prof Festenstein). He came back to Spain and set up Immunology and Genetics laboratories in the Spanish National Health Service in Madrid (Hospital Ramon y Cajal, The Madrid Regional Blood Center and Hospital 12 de Octubre). He was also appointed in Madrid Full Professor of Immunology by an International Board, including Pablo Rubinstein and Antonio Coutinho. He has established Immunology teaching at Biochemistry, Medicine, Biology, Pharmacology, Veterinary Faculties at University Complutense, Madrid. He has served 5 years as elected President of the Spanish Society for Immunology and 14 years in the Government Spanish Board for Specialists. He has published 341 papers in international magazines, published 8 books and directed 48 PhD Doctoral Theses in Immunology,Human and Bird Population Genetics and Linguistics.
Professor David Lewinsohn, Oregon Health & Science University, USARecognition of the Mtb-infected Cell: a fine line between innate and adaptive immunity
David M Lewinsohn is Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Oregon Health and Sciences University, and the Portland VA Medical Center. Dr Lewinsohn received his undergraduate degree from Haverford College, his MD and PhD from Stanford University School of Medicine, internal medicine training at the University of California, San Francisco, and fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Washington.
Dr Lewinsohn’s research interest is in Tuberculosis Immunology. He is particularly interested in the mechanisms by which the human immune system can recognize those cells harboring Mtb. Dr Lewinsohn’s research program has focused on the role of both classically and non-classically restricted CD8+ T cells such as those restricted by HLA-E and more recently MR1. More recently, the laboratory has begun to explore the ability of lung epithelial cells to become infected with Mtb, and the mechanisms by which recognition of these cells may lead to the control of intracellular infection. Dr Lewinsohn’s research has been supported by the ALA, the NIH, and the VA. His is also the recipient of an NIH Bioterrorism contract to comprehensively define human CD8 antigens and epitopes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Professor Robin Weiss FRS, University College London, UKAre occasional human pathogens useful to their host?
Professor Robin Weiss FRS is a Senior Research Fellow at University College London. He has made pioneering contributions to HIV and AIDS research, most notably the identification of CD4 as the HIV receptor on cells, and the neutralization of HIV by antibodies. He has worked on AIDS-associated cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma and is currently investigating HIV vaccine development supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Early in his career, Professor Weiss found that retroviral genomes can be inherited as Mendelian traits in host DNA, marking the discovery of endogenous retroviruses, and he later investigated whether endogenous retroviruses of pigs could potentially be transferred to humans during xenotransplantation. From 1980 to 1990, he was Director of the Institute of Cancer Research, London. His current interests include the origins of pandemic infections. He is a past President of the Society for General Microbiology.
Professor Sunetra Gupta, University of Oxford, UKThe role of epistatic interactions between genetic disorders of haemoglobin in determining their global distribution
Sunetra Gupta is Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford. She graduated in 1987 from Princeton University with a degree in Biology, and received her PhD from Imperial College, London in 1992. Her research focuses on the dynamics of parasite population diversity and the evolution of host genetic diversity in infectious disease systems.
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