Barbara A. Osborne, Ph.D.
Professor, Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Co-director, Center for Bioactive Delivery, Institute for Applied Life Sciences
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Research in the Osborne Lab
The Osborne laboratory focuses on the differentiation and function of mature CD4+ lymphocytes. In particular, we are interested in the role of Notch proteins in CD4+ maturation and function. Over the past several years, we have demonstrated that Notch plays a critical role in the differentiation of the T-helper 1 (Th1) and T-helper17 (Th17) subsets of T cells. Both Th1 and Th17 cells have been implicated in several diseases, including experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Using gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs), compounds that block the activation of Notch, we have found that we can block the development of EAE in mice, suggesting that GSIs may be a possible therapeutic for the treatment of MS. Our current studies are focused on determining how Notch signaling influences the development of EAE, as well as determining which Notch family member is important in the development of disease. In mammals, there are four Notch family members, and it is unclear which Notch family member is most important in driving EAE.
Notch signaling is initiated by two enzymatic cleavages. The first cleavage, driven by ADAM proteases, is required for the second cleavage, mediated by gamma-secretase, which results in the release of the intra-cellular domain of Notch and initiates the Notch signaling cascade. Notch signaling can be blocked by gamma-secretase inhibitors, and our lab, in collaboration with colleagues at UMass, UFlorida and LSU Medical School, investigates how gamma-secretase inhibition may be used to modulate immune responses. We also are actively investigating whether Notch signaling in CD4+ T cells is mediated through canonical Notch signaling. Our data suggest Notch signaling in T cells occurs through a non-canonical pathway and current research is focused on a clearer description of this non-canonical pathway.
Kate Manne is assistant professor at the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University. She works in the areas of moral philosophy, feminist philosophy and social philosophy, and is the author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (Oxford, 2018), which examines misogyny as a device to control, police, punish and exile “bad” women who challenge male dominance. Her current project focuses on the idea of “himpathy,” the practice of exonerating, forgiving, forgetting and rewarding often extended to privileged boys and men. She is a sought-after commentator, most recently on the Kavanaugh hearings and on the controversial Canadian academic Jordan Peterson.
Library Journal called Debra Magpie Earling’s Perma Red “a beautiful first novel,” and Louise Erdrich described it as “boldly drawn and passionate.” It won the Western Writers Association Spur Award, WWA’s Medicine Pipe Bearer Award for Best First Novel, a WILLA Literary Award and the American Book Award. Earling is also the author of The Lost Journals of Sacajewea, a collaboration with photographer Peter Rutledge Koch. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she teaches fiction and Native American studies at the University of Montana.
This reading will be followed by refreshments.