The immune system has evolved to protect the organism from pathogens and to detect and eliminate tissue cells that are undergoing stress or malignant transformation.
These defensive actions need to be highly specific and tightly controlled in their magnitude, to avoid immune-mediated tissue damage and morbidity as found in allergies and autoimmune disease.
These topics are the focus of work in the laboratories making up the Immunology Interest Group at the Francis Crick Institute. Immunologists at the Crick investigate the development and activation of immune cells, signalling pathways involved in inflammation and immune responses, the immunology of mucosal body barriers such as the skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory tract, and cancer immunology.
The pathogens and infectious diseases under study range from malaria, toxoplasma, retroviruses, tuberculosis to influenza and helminth infections. Autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, colitis and allergies are another focus of the Immunology Interest Group, as well as understanding how anti-cancer immune responses function.
These diseases represent a major burden to human health and wealth, and immunologists at the Crick work hard to understand better the immune mechanisms at work, to enhance, improve and control immune responses and thus make a difference to global health. Our research work is based on world-wide collaborations, published widely, and involves extensive outreach to the public and training of future immunologists.