Fleet Science Center Partners with La Jolla Institute for Immunology

The Fleet Science Center is collaborating with scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) for the Fleet’s upcoming Sharp Minds lecture series. 

The lecture series is held on select Mondays in the iconic Heikoff Giant Dome Theater at the Fleet. These lectures are free with general admission or a Senior Monday ticket. Visitors can stay to view a special documentary in the theater. 

The next three lectures will feature renowned LJI scientists working to improve vaccine design, understand our DNA, and take on Alzheimer's disease. 

On November 6, LJI assistant professor Tal Einav, Ph.D.,  presents "Unraveling the Future: Predicting the Influenza Vaccine Response through Machine Learning." He will describe how his group uses machine learning to dig into the wealth of antibody-virus data to develop more personalized vaccine recommendations 

On February 5, LJI associate professor Ferhat Ay, Ph.D., will discuss "Charting New Territory Within the Architecture of Our Genome." Ay builds some of the world’s smallest maps to trace the wiring inside a cell’s nucleus to reveal how genes interact. He will discuss how he uses computational tools to understand how variations in our genome impact our immune system.  

On March 4, LJI scientist Priyanka Saminathan, Ph.D., will help us understand "Why Are Women More Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s Disease?" Older women are twice as likely as men to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Saminathan will share her research on how both sex and age play a vital role in driving Alzheimer’s disease and discuss the impact her research could have on the development of new biomarkers and therapeutics. 

This series of immunology lectures kicked off in October 2023 with a presentation from LJI scientist Rosa Isela Gálvez, Ph.D. She discussed two deadly infections: malaria and dengue virus. As Gálvez explained, growing evidence supports that childhood malaria infection can also strengthen the immune system to fight later dengue infection. She's now working to understand how the body builds up this protective immunity. 

For Gálvez, the Sharp Minds lecture series is a valuable opportunity to meet curious San Diegans and share important discoveries. 

"The diseases I study are spreading quickly around the world," says Gálvez. "Everyone in the audience today learned something new about these pathogens, and they can share that with the people they know." 

The La Jolla Institute for Immunology is dedicated to understanding the intricacies and power of the immune system so that we may apply that knowledge to promote human health and prevent a wide range of diseases. Since its founding in 1988 as an independent, nonprofit research organization, the Institute has made numerous advances leading toward its goal: life without disease.  

The Fleet is proud to partner with LJI in connecting everyone in San Diego to the power of science.