Nobel Laureate Jules A. Hoffmann, the co-winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology/ Medicine, and a keynote speaker at the XXV International Congress of Entomology (ICE) in Orlando, is well known for his informative, dynamic and charismatic lectures.
Dr. Hoffmann received resounding applause when he delivered an invited lecture at the XV ICE in August 1976 in Washington, D.C.
His ICE presentation in Orlando will take place at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28 but this one will be delivered a little differently.
Last month the noted insect endocrinologist, a professor of integrative biology at the Strasbourg University Institute for Advanced Study, underwent a medical procedure that restricts his travel until December. Thus, he won’t be able to attend in person, but wait! “Pour un de perdu, deux de retrouvés” (French for “when one door closes, another opens”).
Dr. Hoffmann, who uses insects as model organisms to study the immune system, will deliver his much-anticipated address on “Innate Immunity: from Insects to Humans” in a state-of-the-art presentation.
This involved a great deal of coordination and logistics. We basically moved a studio to the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Strasbourg while Dr. Hoffmann meticulously prepared his presentation; he went through four versions until he was completely satisfied.
During the recording session, we projected his presentation from a computer in the podium and captured it with Camtasia software from two different computers and three cameras-one of them controlled by an iPhone-so as to allow him to make eye contacts even when explaining his slides.
Four microphones, including a lapel stereo microphone, captured his voice, and an iPad served as the “script,” whereas the projected slides allowed the operator (yours truly) to synchronize the presentation in the three computers.
We kept Dr. Hoffmann “hostage” for two days and that included a full-day session to record his near hour-long presentation. His patience and hospitality were absolutely remarkable. The recording sessions generated 29 GB of data that will be condensed into a 50-minute presentation of approximately 4 GB.
Dr. Hoffmann, awarded the Nobel Prize for “discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity,” is an emeritus research director of the French National Research Center, Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study, and served as vice president and president of the French National Academy of Sciences from 2006-2010. He is an especially fitting speaker for our entomology conference. He and his colleagues used insects, namely the fruit fly Drosophila, to decipher the potent antimicrobial defenses. Over many years, these studies have led to a general understanding of recognition of infection by flies, the connections between recognition and signaling, and the subsequent control of expression of immune responsive genes, namely of those encoding antimicrobial peptides which oppose the invading microorganisms. His basic research on insects led to broader discoveries relevant to human health.
Mark your calendars for 8 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28 for a state-of-the-art recorded presentation like no other.
Walter Leal is a Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, and co-chair (with Alvin Simmons) of ICE 2016.