Immunogenomics 2015: Bruce Beutler

HudsonAlpha will host the third annual Immunogenomics conference on Sept. 28-30, 2015 on the biotech campus. This year’s conference will feature a number of leading thinkers at the intersection of genomics and immunology research, including Nobel Prize winning keynote speaker Bruce Beutler, M.D.

Beutler is currently a Regental Professor and Director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Beutler discovered an important family of receptors that allows mammals to sense infections when they occur, triggering a powerful inflammatory response, for which he received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

His keynote address, “Monitored Saturation Mutagenesis of the Mouse Genome,” will focus on Beutler and his lab’s current research involving saturation mutagenesis work in the mouse, and in particular, about their development of a method for instant identification of mutations that cause phenotypes.

In doing so, Beutler and his team, “mutagenized mice at random, searched for mice that are abnormal by subjecting thousands of animals to hundreds of screens, and determined which mutation caused each abnormality we observed.” “In achieving that” said Beutler, “we know that a particular gene is required for normal function.”

The availability of massively parallel sequencing platforms has accelerated the identification of induced mutations in the mouse genome. However, genetic mapping has remained essential to identify causative mutations, and for a time, became the rate-limiting step in mammalian forward genetics.

“As the mouse is remarkably similar to the human both genetically and physiologically, most mutations causing phenotype in the mouse turn out to have close counterparts in humans,” said Beutler. “The mouse can also be used to understand biological processes in considerable detail. In many cases, the disruption or repair of these processes can be accomplished using drugs. Detailed genetic studies of the mouse therefore open the way to drug development efforts that affect human health.”

Beutler says conferences such as Immunogenomics help scientists better understand the technological advances that have occurred in the last few years.

“Genetics remains near the start of a golden age,” he said. “If one wants a comprehensive understanding of immunity, genetic methods must be used to probe immunity.”

Hear from Bruce Beutler and many more by registering for Immunogenomics 2015 at