MIT Integrative Microbiology Initiative Seminar May 06, 2024

Monday May 6, 2024 Room 68-181 4:00-5:00 PM

Title: Innate immune defense against intracellular bacterial pathogens”


ntracellular pathogens pose a unique set of challenges for the immune system. While eukaryotic organisms possess evolutionarily conserved innate immune sensors and signaling pathways to sense and respond to infection, intracellular pathogens likewise possess evolutionarily conserved mechanisms to disrupt, evade, or modulate cellular signaling networks. Thus, while the mechanisms of PRR activation by isolated PAMPs are reasonably well-understood, how the immune system successfully generates responses against pathogens that utilize virulence factors to shut off cellular responses is less clear. Many bacterial pathogens deploy virulence factors that disrupt key immune processes, raising the question of how a robust immune response can be generated during bacterial infection. I will discuss our recent findings elucidating how the immune system overcomes bacterial virulence activities in order to generate a robust antimicrobial response.


Sunny Shin, Ph.D. is Professor and Vice-Chair of Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Shin received her B.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her Ph.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine, and her postdoctoral training from Yale University School of Medicine. Her research is focused on understanding molecular and cellular mechanisms of innate immune defense against bacterial pathogens and in turn, how pathogens evade host immunity to cause disease. Dr. Shin has received several honors, including the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases Award and being elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She is highly committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia and science, and she recently received the Penn Medicine Michael P. Nusbaum Graduate Student Mentoring Award. Dr. Shin is also Chair of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Group’s Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology Graduate Program, directs and teaches in several graduate and medical courses, and mentors postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Dr. Shin also performs service for the scientific community, including serving as Chair of the NIH Bacterial:Host Interactions study section, Editor for the ASM journal Infection and Immunity, and Division E: Immunology councilor for ASM.