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An audio introduction to our research...
(or, why never to walk into a lab while cameras are rolling)
The immune system is our chief defence against infection, but it is a double-edged sword. Immune responses can also be harmful or even fatal. The optimal response to infection is one that is strong enough to clear the pathogen, but not so strong that it also kills the host.
Our lab is working to understand how that balance is achieved. We study the impact of cytokines, secreted, signalling molecules that mediate communication between different cells of the immune system. Cytokines dictate the size, speed and quality of an immune response, and their broad influence makes them attractive targets as therapies in a variety of immune-mediated diseases.
Our research asks how cytokines determine the strength of an immune response, how target cells control their response to cytokine instructions, and how cytokine signals change as an immune response progresses. We use viral, bacterial and parasitic infection models to analyse cytokine responses in vivo, during a physiological response. Our goal is to provide knowledge that will enable cytokine signalling to be manipulated in the clinic, to improve patient outcome during infection, inflammation, and other immune-related disease.
A summary of our research was published recently by UBC’s news team, here.