MARQUETTE – Martha Zúñiga, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will give a presentation on the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) at Northern Michigan University. She will speak at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in Jamrich room 104. The public is invited to attend this free event.

            The MHC was discovered nearly 70 years ago. Its first demonstrated function was in mediating tumor and skin graft rejection in mice and humans. Since then, MHC molecules have been shown to help the vertebrate immune system recognize foreign substances, playing a central role in susceptibility to infectious disease and autoimmune disorders.

            MHC genes are diverse, which is important to a species because it maximizes the probability that at least some members will survive an encounter with a pathogen. Zúñiga has written that the members of a species should logically favor genetically different mates, so as to maximize the number of MHC variants in the population. She said studies show that MHC molecules influence mating preferences and even pregnancy outcomes.    

This distinguished lecturer seminar is sponsored by the NMU chapter of Sigma Xi, the science and engineering honor society. For more information, call 227-1136.

Prepared By
Jessica Holman