Are we immune?

The human immune system is one of nature's wonders given it helps us survive in a world bathed in bacteria and viruses

The human immune system is one of nature's wonders given it helps us survive in a world bathed in bacteria and viruses. Yet it can also let us down, failing to defeat some diseases and over-reacting to harmless challenges as happens when allergies strike.

These and related themes will be discussed by Prof Denis Reen a researcher in neonatal immunology at the Children's Research Centre, Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin and UCD's Conway Institute in a free public Science Today lecture at the RDS, Ballsbridge Dublin on April 28th.

Reen is this year's recipient of the Irish Society of Immunology annual award and recipients are asked as part of this distinction to give a public talk on some aspect of immunology. He has chosen the title, How well are we protected against infections and allergies in early life?

He will look at the emergence of difficult infections such as Sars and Aids and how vaccination protects us from many others. He will also describe research efforts to overcome the problems caused by the sharp rise in all types of allergies in children, an example of the immune system taking things too far.


The talk is jointly organised by The Irish Times and the RDS in conjunction with the ISI. It takes place in the RDS Concert Hall on Thursday April 28th. Doors open at 7pm and the talk begins at 7.30pm. Places are limited and must be booked. No tickets will be issued for the event, and those attending can check in at the RDS.

To reserve a free place for this lecture, please phone 1550 114 708 or 0906 604 0248 (from Northern Ireland) and leave your name, telephone number and the number of places you require. The phone lines will remain open until the 800 places at the lecture are fully booked. Please note that tickets will not be issued but the booking confirms your place at the lecture.

Calls cost 95 cent per minute. Calls from mobile phones may be more expensive. Service provided by Phonovation Ltd. (01) 2844060. Places can only be booked through the above phone lines as tickets are not available from The Irish Times or the Royal Dublin Society.

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom, a contributor to The Irish Times, is the newspaper's former Science Editor.