Tribute to Wendy Havran
James P. Allison, Ph.D.
Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology
Chair of Department of Immunology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Center
Houston, TX, USA.
John Cambier, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, Department of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Richard Boismenu, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, IgGenix
Title of talk: Professor Wendy Havran – A tribute to my mentor and dear friend
Richard was one of Wendy Havran’s first post-doctoral fellows. Together, they pioneered the field of innate gamma/delta TCR T cells and defined critical roles for these cells in mucosal immune defense, inflammation and wound healing.
Before joining IgGenix, Richard served as Vice President and Head of Product Development, and Chair of the Portfolio Strategy Committee at Coherus Biosciences. Prior to this appointment, he was a Project Team Leader at Genentech, where he led programs in immunology, ophthalmology and metabolic disorder research. Before Genentech, Dr. Boismenu was Senior Director of the Immunology and Cell Biology Group at Repligen Corporation. Richard started his independent research career as an Assistant Professor of Immunology at The Scripps Research Institute where he had previously been a postdoctoral fellow in Wendy Havran’s laboratory.
“I met Wendy in 1992 shortly after we both arrived at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). She had been recruited to TSRI as an independent faculty member based on her high-profile research conducted in Jim Allison’s lab at UC Berkeley. I had joined Per Peterson’s lab as a postdoc. Wendy took me aside one day and asked me to consider joining her lab. I believe this was the result of having engaged with her in exciting (water cooler-type) conversations about the enigmatic gamma delta T cells she was so interested in. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse and, like they say, the rest is history. She became my mentor and encouraged me to always think deeply about important questions and then go design and execute the critical experiments. She would say “You can never get the time back so better focus on what can truly move the field forward… and aim for the big publications.”
Julie Jameson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at California State University, San Marcos
Julie Jameson followed in Richard Boismenu’s steps as another successful post-doctoral trainee of Wendy, and continued the pioneering work on the skin gamma/delta T cells and their unique functions in tissue repair and wound healing.
Julie Jameson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at California State University San Marcos and an Assistant Professor Adjunct in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, San Diego, CA, USA.
Dr. Jameson’s research focuses on the function of T cells in infections and tissue repair. Recent studies in her laboratory have shown that obesity and type 2 diabetes impair T cell function in the murine skin, resulting in wound healing complications. Currently, she is investigating how this devastating disease impacts the ability of T cells to fight infections and heal wounds in patients. The Jameson laboratory has specifically focused on translational research by taking findings from basic science studies into the clinic for further investigation. Julie Jameson was a postdoctoral fellow with Wendy Havran from 2000-2005 and then a colleague at The Scripps Research Institute from 2005-2012. They were lifelong friends sharing time traveling to conferences all over the world and a passion for gamma delta T cells.
“As a graduate student at UMass Medical Center I was making the difficult decision of where to apply for postdoc positions when this lovely, brilliant scientist named Wendy Havran came to give a seminar on the function of gamma delta T cells in the skin. The data was so exciting that I emailed Wendy hoping to get an interview. It was my dream to work at Scripps with amazing scientists such as John Sprent, Linda Sherman and Michael Oldstone just down the hall, so I was thrilled when she asked me to join her lab. Wendy gave her postdocs the space to innovate and explore their ideas, but always knew when to rein us in. This resulted in an incredibly productive lab filled with independent thinkers like Debbie Witherden and Leslie Sharp who published high profile papers in Wendy’s lab. Mentorship for women in science was a passion for Wendy and she pushed us to go beyond what we thought our limits were, to think outside the box, and do good science. As our relationship moved from mentor to colleague I truly appreciated our times traveling to conferences all over the world. One conference that we could always count on having a great time together was at the La Jolla Immunology Conference. I remember talking and laughing with her at LJIC last year, and will truly miss seeing her smile each year.”