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Biologist to explore ‘friendly fire’ of immune system

image of Andrea Graham

Andrea Graham

Andrea Graham from Princeton University will explore the “friendly fire” of our bodies’ immune systems for the annual Rilett Lecture Series.

Graham will give a talk titled Why do immune systems harm their bearers?  The evolutionary biology of friendly fire at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center. The talk, sponsored by the Illinois State School of Biological Sciences, is free and open to the public.

An evolutionary ecologist and assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton, Graham studies the processes of the immune system, and what drives heterogeneity in hosts, parasites and diseases.

Graham is considered an important voice in the study of immune systems. She has been invited to address the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the British Society for Parasitology and the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Medical Research. Her work has appeared in journals such as Science, Functional Ecology, Evolutionary Applications, Journal of Biology and the European Journal of Immunology.

With a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University, she has earned fellowships and trusts with the Institutes of Evolution, Immunology and Infection Research and the Institute of Cell, Animal, and Population Biology at the University of Edinburgh. Graham is sought out as an expert by media such as The New York Times and Science Daily.

The R. Omar and Evelyn Rilett Family Life Sciences Lecture Series was established in April 2007. It recognizes Rilett’s vision and leadership, which built a Department of Biological Sciences at Illinois State, that advanced education in the natural sciences, fostered scholarly endeavors, and nurtured the development of research to the benefit of all who chose to teach and learn at Illinois State.