Immunology symposium to honor Dr. Robert Good's legacy

Pioneers in transplantation, stem cell research to speak on advances

Tampa, FL (June 1, 2006) -- Some of world's top scientists in immunology, transplantation, genetics, HIV, and stem cell research will gather June 9 to 12 for the "First Symposium of the Robert A. Good Immunology Society: Perspectives in Immunology 2006" at the Tradewinds Beach Resort, St. Pete Beach.

The symposium is jointly sponsored by USF Health, All Children's Hospital, and the RAG Immunology Society. The society is a nonprofit organization supporting education and science in honor of Robert A. Good, MD, PhD, the father of modern immunology who translated his tremendous knowledge of cellular immunity into the first successful bone marrow transplantation.

Dr. Good, who died in 2003, spent nearly 20 years at the University of South Florida and All Children's Hospital, where an endowed chair in pediatric immunology was created in his name. More than 300 physicians and scientists he trained or mentored during his career hold leadership positions at such esteemed institutions as Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and universities in Japan, Europe, Turkey, India, Korea and China.

"This inaugural symposium is an extension and continuation of the legacy of Dr. Robert Good, whose inspiration can still be felt today," said symposium director Noorbibi Day, PhD, professor of pediatrics at USF and colleague and widow of Dr. Good. "We are bringing together some of the world's greatest minds so that health professionals, scientists in related fields, students and the interested lay public can share the latest discoveries and trends in translational research relevant research leading from the patient's bedside to the laboratory bench and back to the patient."

"More than 40 world-renowned and illustrious scientists and physicians have been invited to speak and to share with us their experience and expertise in the area of immunology and infectious diseases," said Abdul Rao, MD, DPhil, senior associate vice president for research and graduate studies at USF Health. "This is a rare occasion for USF to honor one of its most recognized faculty, Dr. Robert A. Good, and in his memory, foster an opportunity for collaboration and interdisciplinary research."

The symposium will cover historic milestones in the field of immunology, cutting-edge research, and novel therapies that cross-link the disciplines of immunology, genetics, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases and cancer. The featured speakers include:

  • Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, director emeritus of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh "Tolerance." Dr. Starzl performed the first successful liver transplant in 1963, and his recent discoveries about tolerance have completely changed conventional paradigms of transplant immunology.

  • Richard Lerner, MD, president of the Scripps Research Institute in LaJolla, CA, and Scripps Florida in Jupiter "The Modern Way to Make Antibodies." Dr. Lerner's ability to find innovative ways to overcome scientific challenges has helped turn Scripps into the nation's largest private, nonprofit biomedical research institute.

  • Irving Weissman, MD, PhD, director of the Institute for Cancer and Cell Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine "Stem Cells: Isolation, Transplantation, Cancer and Evolution." Dr. Weissman is one of the world's preeminent stem cell pioneers; his laboratory was the first to identify and isolate blood-forming stem cells from mice.

  • Fred Alt, PhD, scientific director for the CBR Institute for Biomedical Research affiliated with Harvard Medical School "Role of DNA Double Strand Break Response." Dr. Alt is renowned for his path-breaking research into the intricacies of genetic repair systems and how breakdowns in those processes can lead to cancer.

U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young will discuss his work with Dr. Good to create the National Marrow Donor Program, which maintains a national registry to match patients with marrow donors.

David Camp, recipient of the first HLA-compatible bone marrow transplant, performed by Dr. Good in 1968, is scheduled to attend the symposium along with his family. Camp, now 38 and living in Wallingford, CT, was a baby with severe combined immunodeficiency disease at the time of the groundbreaking procedure, which led to a Time magazine cover story featuring Dr. Good. Today, bone marrow transplants routinely cure patients who would otherwise die of leukemia, cancers, immune deficiencies, and other blood disorders.

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- USF Health -

USF Health is the University of South Florida's enterprise of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to improving the full continuum of health. USF Health has at its core the colleges of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health. Also included are the schools of Basic Biomedical Sciences and Physical Therapy. In partnership with its affiliated hospitals, USF Health's research funding last year was $134 million -- more than half of which came from federal sources. USF is one of only 95 public and private universities in the nation that have been designated as Carnegie Comprehensive Doctoral Research University/Very High Research Activity.


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