The fundamental goal of the Immunology theme is to determine how the immune system functions to protect the body and how this goes wrong when disease occurs. Our researchers collaborate with clinicians at various major hospitals to devise treatments for immunological diseases.
The latest technologies are used to manipulate and analyse the behaviour of immune cells, both in the body and in the test tube. This includes sophisticated gene manipulation and analysis techniques, precise and detailed approaches for analysing the rare cell populations that initiate immune responses, and the capability to visualise individual cells - through powerful microscopes - as they function within the body.
The immune system protects the body from dangerous attacks, whether they come from outside as infections, or inside as cancer. It must also differentiate between actual threats to the body and the healthy cells and molecules that make up the body itself. When this process of discrimination fails, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes occur, and the body proceeds to attack its own tissue. We look at the wide range of different immune responses that can occur, and the processes that underpin them.