Shreffler Lecture

In honor of Donald C. Shreffler, a pioneer in immunogenetics

26th Annual Donald C. Shreffler
Memorial Lecture

May 14, 2024

Len Pennacchio, PhD

University of California, Berkeley

“In Vivo Studies of Human Genome Function”

4:00 pm | Connor Auditorium (FLTC)
Image courtesy of the Joint Genome Institute

Abstract: This lecture will focus on in vivo studies to better under human genome function.  This will include screens for transcriptional enhancers, developing bettter ways to assay them, as well as the functional follow-up of compelling variants coming from human genetic studies.

Hosted by the Department of Genetics. For inquiries contact Michelle Gibbs.

The Donald C. Shreffler lecture was established in 1995 through a generous gift from Mrs. Dorothy Shreffler and sons, Dave and Doug, to honor the contributions of Donald C. Shreffler, PhD to Washington University in St. Louis and the scientific community. This lecture historically has featured scientists whose work utilizes mouse as the model for genetic analysis and each year brings an eminent mouse geneticist to Washington University to speak in this lectureship.

In 1967, a review of Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) called for the establishment of a department of genetics. In 1975, Donald Shreffler, a pioneer in immunogenetics, was recruited to Washington University and with support from the McDonnell Foundation, created the Department of Genetics and became its first Chair. Dr. Shreffler served as Professor of Genetics from 1975-1994, and from 1977-1984 he was the James S. McDonnell Professor and Head of the Department of Genetics.

Dr. Shreffler’s research centered on the studies of the structure and function of genes in the major histocompatibility complex. He became well known for his studies focused on the structure and function of genes in the H2 major histocompatibility region of the mouse. These genes are important in recognizing foreign molecules, playing a major role in tissue rejection and resistance to infectious agents. Dr. Shreffler was a towering figure in mouse genetics. His interest in mouse genetics let to the creation at WUSM of one of the finest mouse facilities anywhere in the country. In this facility, many inbred and congenial strains important for immunogenetic research were generated and then widely distributed for broader use.

By all accounts, Dr. Shreffler was a wonderful mentor who seeded the immunogenetics field with many of his outstanding trainees. He selflessly supported the careers of many fellow scientists, helping them to flourish and succeed. In 1980, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine and in 1982 to the National Academy of Sciences. He served as the seventy-first president of the American Association of Immunologists from 1987-1988.

Dr. Shreffler completed his tenure as head in 1984, but continued active research and teaching in the Department of Genetics until his death in 1994 at the age of 61.

A history of past Shreffler Lecturers

2023Aaron Gitler, PhDStanford University
2022  Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD Stanford University  
2021  David Baker, PhD  University of Washington, Seattle  
2019  Hopi Hoekstra, PhD  Harvard Medical School  
2018  Cecilia Lo, PhD  University of Pittsburgh  
2017  Richard Palmiter, PhD  University of Washington, Seattle  
2016  Nancy Jenkins, PhD  Houston Methodist Research Institute  
2015  Peter Donnelly, FRS  University of Oxford  
2013  James McCluskey, PhD  University of Melbourne  
2011  Bruce Beutler, MD, PhD  University of Texas, Southwestern  
2010  Marisa Bartolomei, PhD  University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia  
2009  John Todd, PhD  University of Oxford  
2008  Brigid Hogan, PhD  Duke University  
2007  Jean-Laurent Casanova, MD, PhD  Necker Medical School, Paris  
2006  Rolf Zinkernagel, MD, PhD  University of Zürich  
2005  Kathryn Anderson, PhD  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center  
2004  Jeffrey Frelinger, PhD  University of Arizona, Tucson  
2003  Martina Brueckner, MD  Yale University  
2002  Sally Camper, PhD  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  
2001  Henry Erlich, PhD  Baylor College of Medicine  
1999  John Monaco, PhD  University of Cincinnati  
1998  Keith Parker, MD, PhD  University of Texas, Southwestern  
1997  Terry Magnuson, PhD  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  
1996  Shirley Tilghman, PhD  Princeton University  
1995  Stanley Nathenson, MD, PhD  Albert Einstein College