Lecture Title: Molecular mechanisms of innate immunity and inflammation in health and disease
Dr. Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti is a world-leading expert in the fields of innate immunity, inflammasomes, and inflammatory cell death. She currently serves as a Member and Vice Chair of the Immunology Department and Director of the Center of Excellence for Innate Immunity and Inflammation, and she holds the distinguished Rose Marie Thomas Endowed Chair at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
As a founding member of the inflammasome field, her research has yielded fundamental insights into innate immunity, inflammation, and cell death. Notably, Dr. Kanneganti’s studies identified NLRP3, NLRC4, ZBP1, AIM2, and NLRP12 as key innate immune sensors, and she extensively elucidated their upstream regulatory mechanisms, significantly advancing our understanding of biological processes. Dr. Kanneganti has also pioneered the concept of the inflammatory cell death pathway, PANoptosis, and her research has bridged major gaps in the fields of innate immunity, cell death, and inflammation. Beyond discovering the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms for interacting networks of innate immune sensors and cell death components, her work has established governing biological principles and the physiological relevance of these pathways in infections, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Consistently recognized for her exceptional contributions, Dr. Kanneganti has been named one of the world’s most highly cited researchers for six consecutive years by Clarivate Analytics. She is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. By continually advancing basic and translational research, she remains at the forefront of her field.