Our immune system aims to limit damage caused by microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites. To do so, it continuously surveys our body to detect entities that need to be removed.
Such entities can be microorganisms but also our own stressed, dying or transformed cells. Thus, the immune system plays a critical role not only in infection but also in tissue maintenance and repair and in combatting cancer. In addition, the immune system isn’t error-free: it can erroneously turn against our own body causing autoinflammatory or autoimmune disease. The immune system thus plays critical roles in virtually every health challenge we face as a society. Collectively we investigate the diverse roles of the immune system from basic immune cell function (Amulic, Wuelfing) to immune responses to malaria and viruses (Amulic, Rivino), vaccines (Finn), cancer immunotherapy (Morgan, Wuelfing), inflammatory arthritis (Jones) and autoimmune eye disease (Nicholson).
Investigating the immune system is a great and exciting experimental challenge as the immune system is composed of many different cell types that mutually interact with each other all across our body. Thus, one needs to understand the function of individual immune cells, the interactions between them and their interactions with microorganisms and our body. To meet this challenge, our immunology research spans an entire range of experimental approaches, from single cell investigations (Amulic, Wuelfing) to animal models (Jones, Morgan, Nicholson, Wuelfing) and work with patient samples (Amulic, Finn, Rivino).