A chemical biology approach to studying innate immunity, a QBI/SBI Online Seminar with Balyn Zaro

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 - 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Event sponsor
Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) & Systems Biology Ireland (SBI)
students, staff, faculty, alumni, local science community

The QBI/SBI Seminar Series on molecular networks of cancer and other diseases aims to facilitate collaborative relationships between scientists from both the US and Ireland. QBI and UCD recently signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) to reinforce the links between scientists in San Francisco and Dublin, and enhance their collaborative ability to strengthen scientific research and innovation. Through this agreement, scientists will work together to identify opportunities to promote cooperative biosciences research and training activities. 

The QBI/SBI Seminar Series is presenting Balyn Zaro, an Assistant Professor at UC San Francisco in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and the Cardiovascular Research Institute. She is also a member of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Quantitative Biosciences Institute. Her lab leverages chemical biology tools and mass spectrometry to study blood formation and the role of innate immunity in human disease. She attended the University of Southern California for her PhD studies in chemical biology and did her postdoctoral studies at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. She gained additional training at Stanford University School of Medicine in the fields of innate immunity and hematopoiesis before her arrival at UCSF in September 2019.

Zaro’s talk will discuss macrophages regulating how the immune system recognizes self. When a foreign/exhausted cell or pathogen is detected, macrophages engulf and destroy it in a process called phagocytosis. Anti-phagocytic signaling axes, also referred to as ‘don’t eat me’ (DEM) signals, exist between macrophages and other cells. To evade macrophages, healthy cells express DEM signal ligands on their surface. When a DEM ligand engages a DEM receptor on a macrophage, downstream signaling blocks phagocytosis. Dysregulation of DEM signaling has been implicated in cancer, infectious disease, neurodegeneration, and atherosclerosis. Over the past two years Zaro’s lab has developed a more selective small-molecule modulator of EM signaling and a novel proteomics strategy to characterize differences in macrophages stimulated to promote phagocytosis. 

Hosted By: Walter Kolch, SBI University College Dublin, Ireland

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