Enzo Cerundolo: Welcome and introduction
Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo opens the Symposium with a few words about Professor Sir Andrew McMichael
- His achievements, past, present and future
- His tremendous vision
- His contagious enthusiasm, his ability to motivate and inspire
- His legacy that goes beyond his scientific achievements
Enzo Cerundolo: Good morning, and welcome to the Andrew McMichael symposium. So let me start by saying that today we're not going to talk about retirement. This is not a retirement symposium. Andrew is not retiring from science. And in fact, we will mainly focus on the three points of his many achievements past, present and future, his vision, his enthusiasm - contagious enthusiasm in fact, and his legacy.
But before talking about the present and the future, let's just quickly have a reminder about the past. So this is a photo from back in 1978. Andrew was in his mid-30s, just back from Stanford, and this was his lab in level six of the JR. That's Andrew, that's Jenny, and this is his bench, this is his office, I believe, and this is his tissue culture room. So not much space there, but you will see in a few years that he set up a very vibrant, energetic group. That's his group and look how happy he is. And in fact, he was even happier when two Postdocs slumped/jumped on his knees. Now, this was when Andrew had tremendous vision and that vision, of course, was to set up a human immunology programme in Oxford. And within a few years, he had laid the foundations that propelled Oxford and the Oxford Medical School to become one of the flagships of human immunology not just nationally but internationally in the world. And, just a quick summary, I have a few key highlights:
- He was the first to generate a CD1 specific antibody. In fact, this became a CD1d specific antibody.
- He also identified together with Francis Brodsky the HLA-A2 specific antibody.
- His many accomplishments in flu - first, describing the T cells, flu-specific T cells in humans and their role in flu infection. And then, of course, all the papers, the many papers about HIV including:
- The definition of the first HIV peptide was written with Doug Nickson.
- The definition of escape variants, written with Rodney which then became an important research programme in the group.
- The correlation between the frequency of HIV specific T cells and viral slowed.
- And more recently, written with Nilu, the analysis of the very first cell events during flu in HIV infection.
- I also want to remind you of the beautiful paper with Veronique demonstrating the role of HLA-E and NKG2A.
So I want to finish this brief introduction by saying that Andrew's legacy goes above and beyond his many achievements in science. In fact, throughout his career, he mentored so many scientists and clinical scientists that now, and I have a picture of a few of them. And now, populating and running all the medical schools department of immunology their own groups is his legacy that really matters. They're all continuing to promote his vision, his enthusiasm, and this is a legacy that will stay with us forever. So I want to start the meeting by thanking Andrew with a big round of applause because he deserves it for what he's done in science.
Thank you very much.
So we can now start the symposium. Before starting the scientific session, Bridget will read a few words from Ita, you know, Andrew was supervised by Ita Askonas, and we have this beautiful picture taken a couple of years ago last year. And Ita, unfortunately, couldn't be here today she's not well, but Bridget will read a few words that Ita wrote.