Immunity – Friend and Foe topic of Southeastern Science on Tap presentation

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
by: Rene Abadie

     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana Biologist Penny Shockett wants people to understand that the human immune system does far more than fight infections and that microbes play a much bigger role than making us sick.
    A molecular immunologist in the Department of Biological Sciences, Shockett will present the department’s next Science on Tap discussion on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Scheduled for 7 p.m. at Tope Lá Catering, 113 East Thomas St. in Hammond, the lecture is free and open to all ages.
    Her topic, “Why Immunity and Pathogens Are Our Frienemies” will present a slightly different take on the role of the immune system and the pathogens that exist in the human body.
    “Often we think of the immune system as helpful in fighting infections, while microbes make us sick. However, it is becoming clear that the immune system interacts with many biological systems and can contribute to a variety of diseases,” she said.
    Research indicates that microbes play many positive roles in the body and have a major influence on development of the immune system, she explained. The talk will give some basic background on the interesting mechanisms by which the immune system develops and operates to clear pathogens and how microbes resist these defenses.
    “We will also explore disease states in which the immune system causes harm and how microbes can be beneficial, both naturally and in medicine,” she added.
    For information on future Science on Tap presentations, contact the Department of Biological Sciences at 985-549-3740.

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