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Dr. Charles Janeway Jr.

Janeway Memorial Lecture Series

Dr. Charles Alderson Janeway Jr., professor of immunobiology at the School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator was one of the leading immunologists of his generation. His ideas formed many of the concepts that are the basis of immunology today. He made major contributions to the understanding of T lymphocyte biology and is renowned for his recent work on innate immunity, which is the body's first line of defense against infection.

In 1989, Dr. Janeway predicted that pattern recognition receptors would mediate the body's ability to recognize invasion by microorganisms. This prediction was made first on theoretical grounds and subsequently incisive experimental work in his laboratory established the underlying mechanisms. In this way, Dr. Janeway became one of the key conceptual founders of innate immunity, which is considered one of the most exciting areas of immunologic research in recent times.

Born in Boston, Charles Janeway Jr. was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, and at Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. His interest in medicine was inspired by his parents: his father, Charles A. Janeway Sr., was physician-in-chief at Boston Children's Hospital 1946-1974, and his mother, Elizabeth Janeway, was a social worker at the Boston Lying-In Hospital.

Charles Janeway Jr. earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1969.

Dr. Janeway trained in basic science research with Hugh McDevitt at Harvard, with John Humphrey at the National Institute for Medical Research in England, and with Robin Coombs at Cambridge University in England. He completed an internal medicine internship at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. Following five years of immunology research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, under William E. Paul, and two years at Uppsala University in Sweden under Hans Wigzell, he joined the Yale faculty in 1977. In 1983 he was promoted to professor of pathology and in 1988 he became one of the founding members of the newly created Section of Immunobiology at the School of Medicine.

During his career, Janeway published more than 300 scientific papers. He was the principal author of the acclaimed textbook "Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease," now in its fifth edition. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and won a number of awards, including the American Association of Immunologists Lifetime Achievement Award and the Avery-Landsteiner Award, the highest honor of the German Society of Immunology. He served on the board of directors of several research institutes, including the Trudeau Institute, the Jackson Laboratory and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. He was president of the American Association of Immunologists from 1997 to 1998.

Dr. Janeway took pride in training medical students, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom are now professors in immunology departments around the world. He was known as a gifted teacher, and his lively lectures won him Yale's Bohmfalk Teaching Award in 1991.