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Dr. Becks career in ecological immunology began at the University of the State University of New York where he earned his B.S. in Biology in 1982. He completed his doctoral degrees in 1994 at the State University of New York - Stony Brook focusing on Cellular and Molecular Pathology. The focus of Becks research is to investigate the evolution of the immune system. His laboratory is applying contemporary techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology to an important emerging field in biomedicine: the evolution of the immune system. His investigations build upon the discoveries that key immunoregulatory mechanisms that function in the mammalian immune response appear to be present in phylogenetically distinct marine invertebrate species. His long-term goals are to unravel the defense reactions employed by invertebrates. He has been the Principal Organizer/Chairperson of 2 international research conferences on the evolution of the immune system. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
His current research projects include (1) The isolation and characterization of antimicrobial peptides and lysozyme in the body fluids and mucus secretions of Ctenophores (Leidy’s Comb Jellyfish; Mnemiopsis leidyi) and Cnidaria (Moon Jellyfish, Aurelia aurita); (2) The isolation and characterization Toll-like receptors in Mnemiopsis leidyi and Aurelia aurita; (3) Uncovering the basic features of the cellular immune responses of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum.
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