The thymus is the last organ to have its function determined. Only in the 1960s did Jacques Miller show that the thymus produces the type of lymphocytes now called T cells, which are crucial for controlling infection and cancer. More than 90% of T cells that form in the thymus die without leaving the organ. The low rate of success is the product of a stringent selection process that optimises the T cell population for each individual of the species. Dr Daley will review the historical landmarks of thymus and T cell research, to which Australians have contributed strongly, before touching on his group's data. He will also discuss the open question of how T cell selection in the thymus might affect susceptibility to autoimmune disease and responsiveness to the new anti-cancer agents called "checkpoint inhibitors".
Gordon Leslie Ada, AO, FAA (1922-2012) was an internationally renowned scientist best known for his seminal contributions to the fields of Virology and Immunology. In commemoration of his contribution to scientific research, The John Curtin School of Medical Research has established the annual Gordon Ada Early Career Researcher Award, to be presented to a researcher based at JCSMR who has made major contributions to biomedical research over the course of their career.
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