Christine Biron, professor of medical science, is one of three people who have been invited to deliver a distinguished lecture at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in New Orleans this week. The meeting draws thousands of researchers from more than 40 countries.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — About 1,800 researchers will present at the annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists in New Orleans this week, but the national group invited only three to give distinguished lectures. Christine Biron, the Esther Elizabeth Brintzenhoff Professor of Medical Science in Brown University’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, will deliver her plenary talk Sunday, May 10, 2015.

Biron will discuss her lab’s recent discoveries about how the immune system’s response to new infections is shaped by its experience with prior ones. Last October in the journal mBio, she led a team in reporting that once a CD8 T cell fights off the specific pathogen it was specifically tuned to combat (“adaptive immunity”), it then gains the ability to fend off a variety of other invaders (“innate immunity”). Those findings suggest that innate immunity changes with the body’s experience and that the T cells are more versatile than had been thought.

“It is an honor to be asked to give a distinguished lecture at this year’s American Association of Immunologists meeting,” Biron said, “In a Brown tradition, my goal for the presentation is to challenge members of the group to think differently about what is known and unknown. I hope to help turn a large general focus from subdividing the individual immune system components to considering its flexibility and the overlapping functions of innate and adaptive immunity.”