Klaus Rajewsky Houston Lecture 2018

2018 Betsy and Stuart Houston Lecture
November 7, 2018
Klaus Rajewsky, MD

Targeted mutagenesis and gene repair in modeling and controlling human lymphoid disorders.”

It was an honor to host our special guest here at UVA for the 3rd annual Betsy and Stuart Houston Lecture. Klaus Rajewsky, the head of the Immune Regulation and Cancer Group at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, participated in a series of meetings and events leading up to his lecture. His lecture was very well attended, as the entire Medical Education Building Auditorium was full. Additionally, a live airing was available to attendees on screen in a separate location.

The Making of a Scientist:

During Dr. Rajewsky’s visit, he enjoyed a lunch with the Trainees and Junior Faculty, with the theme of the meeting being “The Making of a Scientist.” The lunch was an open discussion with Dr. Rajewsky. The Professor displays a passion for teaching and learning. It is obvious that he loves his job and feeds off of his interactions with other scientists.

As UVA Researchers asked insightful questions, Dr. Rajewsky would respond with a lot energy. His experiences that he shared remind us all that we are all learning at any stage of our lives. When asked about success and how to achieve the success that he has, he responded “by realizing when something does not work, and to move on to what may work and what does work.”

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The Lecture:

Sponsored by the Child Health Research Center, the talk was entitled “Targeted mutagenesis and gene repair in modeling and controlling human lymphoid disorders.” Dr. R. Ariel Gomez, Director of the CHRC, was pleased with the attendance and excitement that this event brought.

Betsy and Stuart Houston provided the monetary gift to hold the 3rd annual Houston Lectureship. Although Betsy Houston, a previous patient of the UVA Medical Center, passed away in 2015, she and her husband provided a contribution prior to her death to support various Medical Center programs.  The lectureship gives us the opportunity to invite an outstanding scientist to visit the University each year.

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 The Reception and Dinner:

We ended the day with an honorary dinner at the Alumni Hall’s Jefferson Ballroom. The statue of Jefferson in Alumni Hall’s Annex inspired our guest to refer to Jefferson and the rich history that UVA is part of as he delivered his speech.  This venue provided the ideal ambiance to pay tribute to Dr. Rajewsky and to our generous contributors.

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Klaus Rajewsky was born in Frankfurt Germany. He received his MD Degree from the University of Frankfurt, Main and Munich. His postdoctoral work (1962 – 1963) was done at Institute Pasteur, in Paris France.

Dr Rajewsky held many prestigious posts. To name a few: From 1966 to 2001 Dr. Rajewsky was the head of the Immunology Unit at the University of Cologne Germany. In 1969, he was the EMBO Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. From 1970-2001 he was a Professor of Molecular Genetics and a Member of the board of Directors at the Institute for Genetics at the University of Cologne. In Monterontondo Italy, he was the Program Coordinator at EMBL, from 1996-2001. In 1999-2000. He was the Vallee Visiting Professor in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. He was the Senior Investigator at the Immune Disease Institute, at PCMM Children’s Hospital in Boston Massachusetts during 2001-2011. From 2006-2011 he was recognized as the Fred S. Rosen Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Currently, Dr. Rajewsky is the Senior Group Leader at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch Germany. He trained many scientists from around the world who are now well-known outstanding scientists, including our own Tim Bender who did postdoctoral training with him in 1998 at the Institute for Genetics in Cologne Germany during Dr. Rakewsky’s sabbatical year.

Dr. Rajewsky has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of B cell development and function, and the mechanisms underlying B cell lymphomas. His current work continues to focus on better understanding B cell cancers and identifying ways to address them. A major new direction of his work comes from the availability of CRISPR/Cas-mediated targeted mutagenesis. He has improved this tool to introduce tailored mutations and insertions, and used it to generate genetically modified mice by zygote mutagenesis.

In recognition of his many accomplishments, he received numerous prestigious awards including: 1977 Avery-Landsteiner Prize of the German society for immunology; 1994 Behring Kitasato Prize from the Hoechst Japan; 1996 Robert Koch Prize, together with Fritz Melchers; 1997 Körber Prize for European Science; 2001 Deutscher Krebshilfepreis, together with Martin-Leo Hansmann and Ralf Küppers; 2004 Honorary degree of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main; 2005 Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research, together with Mariano Barbacid; 2007 Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology, together with Frederick Alt and Fritz Melchers (de); 2008 Ernst Schering Prize; 2009 Max Delbrück Medal; 2009 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, together with Frederick Alt 2010 Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine.

2017 Houston Lecture

2016 Houston Lecture

Written by: Scot Satkovich

 Approved By: Dr. R. Ariel Gomez