Bacteria are virtually everywhere—on bus seats, on our hands, and even inside of our gut—but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These bacteria are part of the microbiome, the collection of microorganisms that live in or on an environment (such as the human body). The microbiome is thought to influence many aspects of human health, … Continue reading What’s gut got to do with it? How the gut microbiome affects cancer immunotherapy
Whether you or someone you know has suffered from them, many will undoubtedly recognize the puffy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, hives, and difficulty breathing that are often triggered during an allergic reaction. The irritants that cause most allergies are generally quickly identifiable, as responses to them are generated rapidly after exposure. However, some allergic reactions … Continue reading Tick Bites and Red Meat Allergies: a surprising cause of idiopathic anaphylaxis
Head-to-head interactions between antibodies make a better anti-malarial antibody 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
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
Thousands of skilled assassins are currently moving through your body. Natural Killer cells, or NK cells, are constantly on the watch, checking up on cells to make sure they are healthy and have not gone rogue. If a cell is healthy, the NK cell passes it by. But if it is infected or cancerous, the … Continue reading NK Cell Killing: How many lytic granules does it take?
Mitochondrial proteins fine-tune CD8+ T cell metabolism to limit immune damage during tuberculosis response.
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!
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
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