Nobel Laureate Studies Shrimp to Map Immune System

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Nobel Laureate Studies Shrimp to Map Immune System

French Nobel laureate Jules A Hoffmann is pushing for a collaboration with Annamalai University to study viral infections in shrimp to understand the human immune system.

Professor Hoffmann of Strasbourg University in France, whose decades – long work on the fruit fly revolutionised the study of the human immune system, has evinced keen interest in studying viral infections in shrimp and identified it as an important research area for joint Indo – France collaboration.

“There are a lot of parallels between the study being undertaken by Annamalai University and the research we did on fruit flies. Since we have experience in this area, we can jointly work with the University to identify constituents of other organisms and gain insights into how the human immune system works,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman, along with Professor Bruce A Beutler, was awarded the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 2011 for the discovery of the key principles for the activation of the immune system.

The duo discovered receptor proteins that can recognise microorganisms and activate innate immunity which can destroy invading micro organisms. This discovery has made possible the development of new methods for preventing and treating diseases.

The Nobel laureate, who was in the city to participate in the 25 years of celebration of Indo – French Centre for Promotion of Advanced Research ( IFCPAR ), on Thursday delivered a lecture on ‘Antimicrobial Defence of Drosophila : A Paradigm for Innate Immunity From Flies to Humans’ at Anna University.

Hoffmann also stressed on the need to study infectious diseases and expressed the hope that there would be cures for all kinds of diseases, including HIV and cancer, in the next 10 years.

“When I began my research we lacked enough resources and infrastructure which frequently impeded our study. With advancement in technology over the last decade, we should be able to find cures for all kinds of infectious diseases in the next 10 years or so,” he said.

Praising the progress India had made in the scientific sector, Prof Hoffman said future collaborations with the country could not be ruled out.

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