Immunology is the study of how animals react to foreign substances such as infectious agents and allergens. The immune system is constantly engaged in a battle that prevents microbes from invading the cells and tissues of our bodies. Although generally beneficial, some host immune responses such as autoimmune diseases or asthma can be devastating.
IID researchers focus on improving our understanding of how the host immune system functions, such that new vaccines can be developed against infectious disease in people and animals, and so that new approaches can be developed to prevent detrimental immune responses such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Research focuses on understanding aspects of immune responses to infectious agents that are unique to the lung. This includes the investigation of immune-mediated lung damage in Pneumocystis pneumonia and structure-function relationships in lung immunity to influenza. We have also recently become interested in the effects of lung infections on development of asthma and the use of nanotechnology for delivery of anti-inflammatory drugs to the lungs.
Research focuses on understanding the immune response against microbial infections. The immune system is critical in protecting the host against microbial infections, but an uncontrolled immune response can also be detrimental to the host. Our laboratory is currently focused on understanding two aspects of the immune response to microbial infections: 1) why do certain strains of Influenza A virus cause more immune-mediated tissue damage to the host and 2) what are the characteristic of the most protective memory CD8 T cells.
Research focuses on defining novel approaches for controlling acute and chronic inflammation, and enhancing innate host defenses of the intestinal and pulmonary mucosa. Recent efforts are using high-throughput functional genomic analyses to gain insights into innate immune cell responses that can be targeted in the development of new prophylactic and therapeutic immune stimulants.
Research focuses on understanding microbicidal mechanisms utilized by innate immune cells in defense of the host against pathogens. Specific projects are in progress to investigate the molecular & biochemical basis of phagocyte oxygen radical production, as well as the role of phagocyte-generated oxidants in tissue damage associated with inflammatory diseases in humans and livestock. Additional work focuses on identifying and characterizing novel immunomodulatory agents for enhancing innate immune responses.