On a recent autumn afternoon LeFrak Auditorium, in the Price Center/Block Research Pavilion, filled to overflowing as members of the Einstein community gathered for the second annual Dr. Stanley G. Nathenson Memorial Lecture. The event was established to honor Dr. Nathenson's many contributions as an internationally recognized cell biologist and immunologist. He had been a member of the Einstein faculty since 1965 and died in October 2012.
To begin the special tribute, Dr. Matthew Scharff, distinguished professor of cell biology and of medicine who was a close colleague and friend of Dr. Nathenson's, welcomed members of the Nathenson family, including Mrs. Susan Nathenson; their sons Matt and John; and brother Howard, and his wife Elaine Lorenz. Dr. Scharff, who served as an event co-organizer, also informed the audience that Howard Nathenson, a professional artist, had donated a painting, which is now on display in the upper level of the Max and Sadie Friedman Lounge.
"We both used our imaginations in our life's work," commented Mr. Nathenson following the lecture. "Stan was also very creative in his field."
Next, Dr. Steven Almo, professor of biochemistry and one of Dr. Nathenson's closest collaborators at Einstein, was introduced to share reflections on his colleague. He began by noting, "It's a challenge to remember someone who was truly unforgettable." He then recounted how he had successfully ignored the field of immunology until taking an elevator ride from the ground floor to the fourth floor of the Forchheimer building where "Stan explained it all to me."
With a smile Dr. Almo, who also is professor of physiology & biophysics and is the Wollowick Family Foundation Chair," added, "I was converted and for the next 15 years we worked together."
To introduce Dr. Arlene Sharpe, the event's distinguished lecturer, Dr. Teresa DiLorenzo, another event co-organizer and former postdoctoral student of Dr. Nathenson's—who is professor of microbiology & immunology and of medicine, and the Diane Belfer, Cypres & Endelson Families Faculty Scholar in Diabetes Researcher—stepped to the podium. A leader in the field of immunology who is the George Fabyan Professor of Comparative Pathology and co-director of both the Harvard Institute of Translational Immunology and the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School , Dr. Sharpe collaborated with Drs. Nathenson and Almo to investigate the signaling pathways involved in T cell co-stimulation and how they regulate immune responses.
Her talk, "Roles of the PD-1 Pathway in Controlling Humoral and Tumor Immunity," described her lab's research elucidating the function of T cell co-stimulatory pathways. She also detailed studies investigating the CTLA4 and PD-1 families, promising targets for autoimmune diseases, chronic viral infections and cancer immunotherapy.
In closing, Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein, acknowledged Dr. Sharpe's "tour de force of remarkable data and how the contributions of Drs. Nathenson, Almo and others have allowed the work to be translated into therapies."
"It's rewarding to see how our dad's research is being used to treat patients," said John Nathenson, who, recalled spending time working in his dad's lab when he was younger.
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