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Inaugural Lecture: Professors Helen Collins & Mauro Giacca - 26 October 2022

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Join us to celebrate a special milestone for our new professors and hear about their inspiring career journeys. Doors for this event will open on 16:30 (BST), with the lectures to commence at 16:50. A drinks reception will be held after the lecture.

Professor Helen Collins

Immunology and Education: A game of two halves

Abstract

Immunology hasn’t always been my thing! My very first lecture at University was on the genetics of the MHC – enough to put anyone off! However, I fell in love with the subject during my PhD studies and this lecture is my journey through researching Immunology across the world, eventually arriving at Kings. We will travel from the UK to the USA and Berlin, studying immune responses to various pathogens, bacteria, parasites, and yeasts, before arriving back in London at King's to study autoimmunity, all underpinned by the crucial element, Iron. All this in parallel with supporting my one true passion – Arsenal FC.

Biography

I obtained my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences in 1989 from the University of Bradford. Following this I moved to London to study for a PhD in Cellular Immunology at the London School of Hygiene and tropical Medicine with Greg Bancroft. Having obtained this in 1992, I undertook a postdoc in David Russell’s lab at Washington University in St Louis, USA. A move to Berlin followed to undertake a second postdoc and a fellowship with Stefan Kaufmann at the newly formed Max-Planck Institute for Infection Biology, before arriving at King's as a lecturer in 2002. Following several years of Research and Education, I was appointed Dean of Bioscience Education in August 2020. I am also an avid and passionate sports fan – in particular Arsenal FC.

Professor Mauro Giacca

New therapies for the heart

Abstract

My laboratory aims to develop new biological therapies for the heart. There is a tremendous need for these therapies: cardiac damage, such as myocardial infarction, kills cardiomyocytes that cannot either be protected or regenerated - as a consequence, heart failure has now epidemic proportions; inherited cardiac diseases, including those leading to sudden death or requiring cardiac transplantation, are frequent and lethal. We identify novel biological leads (proteins, genes, RNAs) for cardiac regeneration and gene editing of mutations by systematic screenings, study their mechanisms of action, and develop the most effective molecules towards clinical studies. I am deeply convinced that future drugs in all fields of medicine will be based on genes and RNAs, which offer transformative possibilities for therapy and cure.

Biography

Mauro Giacca is Head of the School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine & Sciences and Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at King's. He received his Medical Degree from the University of Trieste and his PhD from the University of Genoa, Italy. Until 2019, he served as Director-General of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, a United Nations organization in Trieste, Italy. He is broadly recognised for his contributions in gene therapy and cardiovascular research. His studies are funded internationally, including two consecutive ERC Advanced Grants. He is the founder of two start-ups in London, which aim to develop new biological therapies for the heart. Prof Giacca is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, UK and serves as the President of the International Society for Heart Research-European Section.

At this event

Helen Collins

Helen Collins

Professor of Immunology & Education

Mauro  Giacca

Mauro Giacca

Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences


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