31st Leonard A. Ford Lectureship

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
7:30 PM - 12:00 AM
Webinar: https://link.mnsu.edu/ford

Join the Department of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Geology for the 31st Leonard A.Ford Lectureship! This year the webinar will be given by Dr. Marc K.Jenkins, professor and University of Minnesota Medical School Director at the Center for Immunology. Dr.Jenkins will deliver a technical talk and general talk. More information regarding the talk, along with registration links can be found below. 


Technical Talk

The Grand Unified Theory of Immunology”

9:00 a.m.

Registration Required.  Please register for the webinar at:


Abstract:  The clonal selection theory of the adaptive immune system is one of the most elegant theories in biology. It seeks to explain how our lymphocytes can respond to thousands of foreign substances (immunologists call these antigens) that are normally not in our bodies, such as substances from bacteria and viruses, and give us immunity. The theory postulates that each nascent lymphocyte (think B cell) generates a unique antigen receptor (think antibody) via a random process. It further states that antigen receptor occupancy is required for cell activation, activation causes the cell to divide and produce daughter cells with the same antigen receptor as the parent cell, and the daughter cells produce substances (think antibodies) that can eliminate the antigen from the body and survive for the life of the host to provide immunity if the antigen enters the body at a later time. This talk will provide modern evidence for this remarkable theory using the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection as an example. 


General Talk

How Your Immune System Responds to Viral Infection and Vaccines”

7:30 p.m.

Registration Required.  Please register for the webinar at:



Abstract:  Vaccines have great potential to end the COVID-19 pandemic and yet are controversial. This lecture will address how vaccines stimulate the immune system and why vaccines are such safe and powerful tools for infection control.


Marc Jenkins, a native Minnesotan, received a BS degree in microbiology from the University of Minnesota (UMN) in 1980 and completed a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Northwestern University in 1985. He then did postdoctoral training in immunology at the National Institutes of Health. He returned to the UMN in 1988 as an assistant professor in the Microbiology Department. He is now a Regents and Distinguished McKnight University Professor and heads the UMN Center for Immunology where he does research on the immune system. Jenkins is a recipient of the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Excellence in Mentoring Award, the AAI Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a past President of the AAI. In 2020, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first UMN Medical School faculty member to receive this honor in 50 years. In his spare time, Jenkins enjoys bicycling and fishing, both the winter and summer kinds, and is a student of the art of public speaking.




Chris Cords

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