The immune system as told by a Nobel Prize Winner and a cartoon

Immunology is the central theme of the international conference scheduled in Humanitas from 29 September to 1 October. The conference will be opened by Jules Hoffmann, an immunologist, awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, Humanitas Visiting Professor at the University. It will be an opportunity to preview a cartoon that aims to bring together young and old to complex issues such as the immune system.
Hoffman will be a visiting professor at Humanitas University, the private international medical University supported by Humanitas hospital and its Research Foundation.


Left: Prof. Alberto Mantovani, Scientific Director of Humanitas Research Center
Right: Prof. Hoffman, Nobel Prize in Medicine, Visiting professor at Humanitas University

A Nobel Prize in Humanitas

It will be the scientist, Jules A. Hoffmann, awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, to open the International Conference of Immunology, held from September 29 to October 1 in Humanitas. The immunologist from Luxembourg is also the first Visiting Professor of International Degree in Medicine and Surgery of the newly born Humanitas University.
His lecture at the conference will be introduced by the preview of a video-cartoon produced by Humanitas – in collaboration with Studio Bozzetto & Co. and with the support of Shiseido – with the aim to explain to people of all ages, how the immune system, is essential for defending the body against harmful external microbes. “Our immune system: The army of health and beauty” released in 3 languages ​​- Italian, English, Spanish – to allow the widest possible awareness. 

Watch the cartoon>


A Visiting Professor at Humanitas University

As a visiting professor at Humanitas University, Jules Hoffmann will hold lectures and seminars, and from the second year, will hold on in-depth lectures on specific topics of study . “His presence, as well as that of other colleagues from the most prestigious universities around the world, is an extraordinary opportunity for cultural and human growth for students in the International Medicine and Surgery Humanitas University” stated prof. Alberto Mantovani, Scientific Director of Humanitas Research Center. “Research Hoffmann have in a sense revolutionized the understanding of the immune system, shifting the attention of scholars on the most primitive parts of our defences (innate immunity), able to start and guide not only the inflammatory response but also the most specific immunity, called adaptive. Hoffmann was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2011 (with Bruce Beutler and Richard M. Steinman) for having discovered the bodies defence mechanisms against infectious agents: discovered in the 90s, working on fruit flies (Drosophyla melanogaster), on a gene called Toll (which in German means ‘extraordinary’) was essential for the immune’s response. A single Toll in the fly is in fact the sensor which detects the presence of harmful microbes in the body, activating the innate immune response.

These findings have opened the way to new strategies for prevention and treatment against infections, inflammatory diseases and cancer: the development of new adjuvants for vaccines, the development of vaccines not only preventive but also therapeutic, able to cause the immune system to attack the cancer cells. “



Watch prof. Hoffman’s Interview


The cartoon was made possible thanks to the support of Shiseido cosmetics company founded in 1872, based on the seamless integration between East and West, between Art and Science, and has always been synonymous with refinement, quality, reliability and high technology. Shiseido annually invests more than EUR 100 million for research and development, supports basic research of the CBRC and has been recognised as the industry’s leading cosmetics group thanks to IFSC won 18 awards so far.


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.