December 10, 2004

Billingham Lecture set for Dec. 16

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Billingham Lecture set for Dec. 16

Barry D. Kahan, M.D. Ph.D., professor of Surgery and director of the Division of Immunology and Organ Transplant at the University of Texas Medical School, will deliver the address at the Billingham Lectureship in Transplant Immunology on Dec. 16.

The lecture is named for Rupert Billingham, a key figure in the development of transplant immunology. Billingham's crucial role in science centered on immunological tolerance and the research of Sir Peter Medawar. This work was honored with the Nobel Prize for Medawar in 1960.

“He founded the Wistar Institute of Immunology in the United States,” said Hal Helderman, M.D., professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt. “He single-handedly developed the concept of the immunology of the maternal-fetal unit. A baby is the most common transplant, a foreign tissue sitting in a host body. It does not reject. His exploration helped with the entire field of study.”

With more than 900 published scientific papers, Billingham had many firsts, including recognizing and describing graft vs. host disease, the development of neonatal tolerance, immunology of the privileged site and the tolerance of the fetus.

Kahan has made seminal discoveries in transplant immunology, leading to the development of several new immunosuppressant therapies now standard in the field.

In addition to the lectureship at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall, he will also present Medical and Renal Grand Rounds.