The regulatory role of IL-9/IL-9R signaling in memory B cell response

Our body can remember specific pathogens and other foreign substances (antigens) years after the first encounter. B cells, the type of lymphocytes that produce antibodies, are one of the key players for the establishment of this long-term memory. Upon activation, B cells proliferate and give rise to antibody-secreting plasma cells (PCs) or memory B cells … Continue reading The regulatory role of IL-9/IL-9R signaling in memory B cell response

Tolerance-inducing therapies: A how-to guide for vaccinating against autoimmunity

Many of us may know someone who has taken allergy shots. These shots work on the concept of tolerance—that small doses of an antigen in the context of no inflammation or illness leads to the body learning that antigen is safe. When the body is exposed to that antigen again, no inflammation happens because the … Continue reading Tolerance-inducing therapies: A how-to guide for vaccinating against autoimmunity

Location Location Location – T cell receptor placement makes or breaks immune response speed!

Much of current  immunology research in is founded on enormous data sets, complex interactions, and computer modeling - tackling the microbiome or the origins of autoimmune disease, for example. Fundamental discoveries can seem few and far between amidst Big Data (data sets of size and complexity that computers are required for analysis, ‘-omics (proteomics, genomics, … Continue reading Location Location Location – T cell receptor placement makes or breaks immune response speed!

When friend becomes foe: gut bacteria triggers autoimmunity in mice and humans

The history of medicine and epidemiology is full of “bad bug” stories---bacteria have a reputation for causing many horrible diseases like cholera and tuberculosis. More recently, however, research efforts like the Human Microbiome Project have turned to investigating the role that “ good bacteria” plays in everyday health. The human microbiome is complex, and consists … Continue reading When friend becomes foe: gut bacteria triggers autoimmunity in mice and humans

MHC class I: a novel mediator of the “don’t eat me” signal

In 1909, a German scientist named Paul Ehrlich made a simple yet shocking proposal: that cancer arises in our bodies quite frequently, but that it is usually eliminated by cells of the immune system before tumors form. Although radical at the time, Ehrlich’s theory gained experimental support in the mid-to-late 20th century, and it is … Continue reading MHC class I: a novel mediator of the “don’t eat me” signal

Mosquito spit gives Zika virus an infectious edge

Zika virus (ZIKV) has emerged as a significant human health threat in the last 5 years. Zika virus is associated with (and may cause) microencephaly and neurological deficits in infants, with unknown long-term consequences for adults. In late 2015 there was a spike in ZIKV infections in South America. Initially, the surge was blamed on … Continue reading Mosquito spit gives Zika virus an infectious edge