Tuesday, November 11, 2008

80th birthday symposium

Over 30 years ago, Ruth and Victor Nussenzweig discovered that if you irradiated sporozoites (the infectious form of the malaria parasite) and administered them as a vaccine, you could provide mice with sterile, long-lasting protection from malaria.

Thirty years later, over a hundred scientists from around the globe (all of whom had worked in some shape or form under one of the Nussenzweigs) would descend on New York University to pay tribute to that discovery (as well as the 80th birthdays of both Nussenzweigs). Indeed it was that revelation, in particular, that launched an entire field of malaria vaccine research.

I myself am a great-grandchild in that ever-expanding scientific family tree. And I can only aspire to have a sliver of the real world impact that these two Brazilian scientists have borne from their careers.

CONSUMED: New York University Medical Center; Manhattan

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