Immunology, Inflammation & Infection
Research activity which focuses on understanding how the immune system controls infectious diseases and cancer and when dysregulated can result in inflammation leading to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, arthrosclerosis and osteoarthritis.
Immunology is the study of the immune system, which has evolved to protect the body against pathogenic viruses, bacteria and parasites and also functions in protection against cancer. The immune system uses innate and adaptive (T and B cells) defence mechanisms to recognize and respond to foreign antigens on pathogens. Innate and adaptive responses are tightly controlled by anti-inflammatory cytokines and regulatory T cells and a failure in immune regulation can result in inflammation and immune responses to self-antigens and the development of autoimmune and other immune-mediated diseases.
Benefits to Society
The combined strengths in immunology, inflammation and Infection are critical in developing an understanding of the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, immune mediated diseases and cancer. Researchers seek to better understand and exploit the interface between innate and adaptive immunity with a view to developing new or improved anti-inflammatory agents against diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes, immunotherapeutic drugs against cancer and adjuvants for vaccines against infection.
Research at Trinity
Infection and immunity is a major research focus at Trinity with involvement across a number of Schools. These include the Schools of Biochemistry and Immunology, Genetics and Microbiology, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine and the Dental School. Research within these areas has focused on issues relating to:
- Innate immunity
- Signaling via pathogen recognition receptors
- T cell biology and role of T cell subtypes in regulating host immune responses
- The nature of infectious agents and their contribution to disease
- Immunity to and immune evasion by bacteria, viruses and parasites
- Vaccine and adjuvant development
- Inflammatory diseases and drugs that suppress inflammation
- Identification of pathways involved in human disease, including both inflammatory diseases and malignancy
The research champion for this theme is Professor Kingston Mills.