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Meet the Immunometabolism Symposium Speakers

Date Posted: Tuesday, January 03, 2023
By: Nuria Martinez, PhD

The UMass Metabolic Network will kick off 2023 with an Immunometabolism Symposium on Thursday, January 26 at 1:00 PM in the Sherman Center Auditorium.  The event will explore the fascinating world of immune cell metabolism and feature exciting immunometabolism research taking place at UMass Chan Medical School.  It will consist of a Keynote lecture by Dr. Lydia Lynch from Harvard Medical School and short talks from UMass Chan scientists and Agilent.  A pizza party will be held afterwards for trainees to interact with the speakers.  

Keynote Speaker

Lydia Lynch, PhD

Professor at Harvard Medical School

Lydia studies the role of the innate immune cells in regulating systemic metabolism and the effects of altered metabolism on immune cell function.  She received her PhD in Immunology in 2008 at University College Dublin and did her postdoctoral studies with Prof. Donal O’Shea at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin.  Later, she joined Dr. Mark Exley's lab at Harvard and continued postdoctoral studies with Prof. Michael Brenner and Prof. Ulrich von Andrian at Harvard in 2009 before transitioning to a faculty member.  Lydia has won numerous prestigious awards including the International Marie Curie Fellowship, the UNESCO-L’Oreal International Women in Science Fellowship and the Junior Faculty Career Development Award from the American Diabetes Association.    

Short Talks Speakers

Stefania Gallucci, MD

Professor of Medicine, Program in Innate Immunity 

Stefania’s lab studies the role of metabolism in the activation and regulation of dendritic cells in autoimmune disorders. Stefania joined the Department of Medicine at UMass Chan as a Professor in July 2022.  Previously, she was an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Temple University where she had been since 2009.  Stefania will talk about her emerging studies on the anti-inflammatory effects of metabolic inhibitors that target glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, and fatty acid metabolism in dendritic cells.

Accalia Fu, PhD

Assistant Professor of Molecular Medicine, UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence 

Accalia studies the interaction between pancreatic beta cell metabolism and immune cells in the context of inflammation and diabetes.  She has shown that glucose metabolism is linked to the urea cycle in pancreatic beta cells and protects them from inflammatory cytotoxicity.  Her lab will further explore these pathways and identify metabolites that could serve as a communication tool between the immune cells and the pancreatic beta cells using metabolomics, proteomics and transcriptomics.  Accalia joined the UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence in 2022 after completing her post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. 

Fiachra Humphries, PhD

Assistant Professor, Program in Innate Immunity

Fiachra investigates metabolic pathways that regulate cell death and innate immunity.  His current work is focused on characterizing how fumarate regulates cell death in the context of cancer and neurodegeneration.  He is also interested in understanding how Complex I proteins influence innate inflammaging. Fiachra’s lab uses a combination of biochemistry, genetics, mass spec and experimental animal models to answer these questions.  Fiachra was promoted to Assistant Professor at UMass Chan in 2022 after completing post-doctoral training with Kate Fitzgerald.

Filiz Korkmaz, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology 

Filiz studies the role of LOX-1 (lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1) on resident and recruited immune cells during pneumonia.  She moved to UMass Chan as a postdoctoral researcher with Lee Quinton’s lab in 2021. Filiz recently received a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award and she's planning to use multi-omics (transcriptomics and metabolomics) in combination with genetic mouse models to define how LOX-1 facilitates tissue protection during acute lung infection. 

Natalia Romero, PhD

Head of Bioassay Solutions, PLXF, Cell Analysis Division- Agilent Technologies

Natalia received her PhD in Biochemistry from Universidad de la Republica in Uruguay and did her postdoc at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital - Harvard Medical School in the field of redox biology. In 2015, she joined Seahorse Bioscience, now part of Agilent Cell Analysis, where she has led the development of new kits and assays to study bioenergetic metabolism and cell function using Seahorse XF technology. She will present the latest solutions developed by Agilent Technologies to study immune cell metabolism and how to apply them during the design and development of immune cell therapies. 

Kate Fitzgerald, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Vice Chair for Research and Chief for the Division of Innate Immunity, Director of the Program in Innate Immunity 

Kate’s lab has established the ground principles of the response of the innate immune system against pathogens, including toll-like receptor and interferon signaling and characterization of the inflammasome.  She has studied the sensing pathways of the immune system for both pathogenic and self-nucleic acids that could contribute to inflammation or autoimmune diseases.  More recently, she has uncovered a link between macrophage cell death pathways and metabolism showing that administering fumarate can decrease inflammation-induced cell death.  Kate is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Two Truths and a Lie
with the Speakers

See if YOU can identify the lies!