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Doherty set for next Discovery Lecture

Sep. 25, 2014, 8:07 AM

Nobel laureate Peter Doherty, Ph.D., who discovered how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells, will deliver the next Flexner Discovery Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 2.

Peter Doherty, Ph.D.

His lecture, “The Killer Defence,” will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall. It is the Allan D. Bass Lectureship, sponsored by the Department of Pharmacology.

A native of Australia, Doherty is the Laureate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. He spends part of his year at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he holds the Michael F. Tamer Chair in the Department of Immunology.

Doherty and Rolf Zinkernagel, M.D., Ph.D., shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries related to the specificity of cell-mediated immune defense. They found that immune system T cells must recognize both virus and self-molecules – the major histocompatibility antigens — to kill virus-infected cells.

Doherty continues to study virus-specific “killer” T cells and how the memory function of these cells might provide some measure of protection against an influenza pandemic.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Doherty received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1995 and was named Australian of the Year in 1997.

For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to

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