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Immunology, Inflammation & Infection

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.

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.

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 Dental Science. 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

Research Institutes / Centres

Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute

The Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) is an environment where innovative and interdisciplinary approaches are leading to scientific discoveries of biomedical importance, ultimately giving rise to better patient care. The mechanistic basis for a whole range of diseases is under investigation, including infectious and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and Type 2 diabetes, neurological diseases such as motor neuron disease and multiple sclerosis, and different forms of cancer.

Centre for the Study of Immunology

The Centre for the Study of Immunology (CSI-Dublin) in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) was established through funded by The Irish Higher Education Authority, Programme for research in Third level Institutions (PRTLI). It builds on The Immunology Research Centre, a €10m Strategic Research Cluster award from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and co-funded by Industry. CSI-Dublin facilitates integration of excellence in Immunology, Structural Biology, Medicinal Chemistry and Translational Medicine, creating a new interdisciplinary research platform targeted at drug discovery for immune-mediated diseases. Convergence and collaboration around the TCD Immunology, Inflammation and Infection (III) research theme will furnish output of relevance to disease of the first world (arthritis, asthma, psoriasis, eczema, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s (as a neuroinflammatory process) and of the developing world (TB and parasitic diseases). Researchers in CSI-Dublin focus on frontier areas of innate immune sensing, immunometabolism, inflammatory T cell subsets and their regulation, evasion of immunity by pathogens, infectious disease and cancer vaccines and the genetic basis of immune- mediated diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease. Fundamental discoveries made by PIs (e.g. in the areas of innate immune receptors and signalling and Th17 cells) will be applied to disease via collaboration with clinicians and will be validated by the generation of probes and structures by chemists and Pharmacologists in TBSI. The unique nature of the Centre and the broader III research Theme represents a new frontier in the effort to understand and manipulate the many diseases where the immune response plays a central role in protection or pathology.



Opsona Therapeutics is one of Europe's most innovative and dynamic drug development companies. It is a leader in drug development in immunology research, with particular focus on the innate immunity pathways.

TriMod Therapeutics Ltd is an early stage biotechnology company whose primary R&D focus is dedicated to developing novel platform technologies to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases