Faculty within the Department are exploring a number of exciting and challenging problems related to the development of immune responses and the role of the immune system in disease. Studies by several investigators are defining the requirements for hematopoietic cell development and specifically, the pathways by which stem cells give rise to the components of the immune system. Work is underway to understand the importance of distinct cytokines and chemokines in the differentiation and recruitment of immune cells, as well as the involvement of these soluble mediators in cancer and inflammatory diseases such as allergy and transplant rejection.

Investigators within the Department are also studying developmental changes in gene expression essential to the formation and functional maturation of immune cells, as well as key transcriptional events regulating autoimmunity and the progression of leukemia and lymphomas. The specific signaling mechanisms which regulate these developmental changes, are also being explored using in vitro and in vivo model systems. In related work, efforts are on-going to dissect the role of distinct effector cell populations such as Th1 and Th2 lymphocytes, NKT cells, and NK cells in regulating immune responses. The processes, both cellular and humoral by which immune cells recognize self and foreign molecules are being dissected by several groups within the Department. These include studies to investigate the role of classical and non-classical histocompatibility antigens in restricting T cell responses, as well as work to define antibody targets during pathogenic infections and graft rejection. A common thread in all of these investigations, is the quest for insights into the role of the immune system in human health and disease.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology | IU School of Medicine | 635 Barnhill Drive, MS 420 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | (317) 274-0506