ISEMPH Presentation Featured Speaker: Ruslan Medzhitov
“What is a disease?”
Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D
Yale University School of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Human diseases are highly heterogeneous in terms of epidemiology, age-dependence, chronicity, recovery and mortality rates. This heterogeneity reflects different causalities of diseases. There is no comprehensive system of disease classification currently available that reflects fundamental causalities of human diseases. The distinction between proximal and ultimate causations is useful but insufficient to reflect the underlying biological and evolutionary bases of disease diversity. Dr. Medzhitov will discuss human diseases from several evolutionary biological perspectives to suggest a framework of diseases classification that is based on fundamental causalities. Different disease categories reflect distinct underlying biological processes and mechanisms and account for the changing spectrum of human diseases. This framework may also be useful for considering devel- opment of different therapeutic approaches. Ruslan Medzhitov obtained his undergraduate degree from Tashkent State University in 1990 and his doctoral degree from Moscow State University in 1993. He began his career as a visiting student at the University of California, San Diego, and in 1994, he became a postdoctoral associate with Howard Hughes Medical Institute working with Dr. Charles A. Janeway, Jr., at Yale University School of Medicine. Medzhitov became an assistant professor in 1999 at Yale University School of Medicine in the section of immunobiology. He is currently the David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research interests include biology of inflammation, innate immunity, mechanisms of allergic reactions, cell signaling and gene regulation. Medzhitov is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and European Molecular Biology Organization, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.