Understanding the host-pathogen interface and harnessing new discoveries to help tackle major human infections
Aims of the research
Infectious diseases involve at least two different organisms – the invading microbe and its unwitting host. Successful treatment of infections therefore typically relies on tackling both sides of this equation and weakening the pathogen whilst strengthening the host. IMI research in infection biology covers parasites, and fungal, viral and bacterial pathogens. Our researchers’ collective aim is to understand the host-pathogen interface, with the overarching goal to inform the development of novel therapeutics to counter the threat of infectious diseases.
At the whole organism level, we are investigating how the immune system responds to infections in key organs such as the gut and the brain and to identify the genetic and environmental factors that may influence these responses. At the microscopic level, we are exploring how individual white blood cells, such as macrophages or T-cells, respond to specific pathogens and identifying strategies that some pathogens use to overcome these defences.
By combining these diverse approaches, we aim to identify changes in the immune system that may predispose certain individuals to infections. At the same time, we exploit our extensive ‘molecular toolkit’ to try and develop immunomodulatory approaches that are designed to stimulate patients’ immune systems to help them combat infections.