Areas of Research

Autoimmunity and Allergy

Autoimmunity is a situation in which the immune system goes awry, causing damage to one's self.

In autoimmune responses, immune cells, which are normally eliminated during their development in the thymus gland and elsewhere, recognize and attack self-molecules. Persistence of these auto-reactive cells through several mechanisms can cause pathological conditions that damage or erode tissues.

As many as five percent of Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disease, which includes lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Graves' disease, myasthenia gravis, and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. As many as 20 percent of Americans suffer from allergy, which is generally a less severe manifestation of an aberrant immune response.

Investigators have identified these scientific challenges for the autoimmunity concentration:

  • Understanding how lymphocytes are tolerized
  • Discovering what controls the interaction of immune cells with each other
  • Understanding how genetic variation contributes to autoimmunity and/or allergy

Related News and Announcements

Congratulations to Jessica Kim

Image: Congratulations to Jessica Kim

Congratulations to Jessica Kim, a graduate student in the Winau lab for a successful defense of her Ph.D. thesis entitled "Mechanisms of Endogenous Alpha-glycosylceramide Generation for Development and Activation of NKT Cells". 

Read Full Article »

Duane Wesemann awarded 2011 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists

Image: Duane Wesemann awarded 2011 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists

Text adapted from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund press release

During its May 2011 meeting, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Board of Directors awarded Duane Wesemann, M.D., Ph.D., research fellow in the Department of Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston,… Read Full Article »

Rosen Chair Primes Immunology Research

Image: Rosen Chair Primes Immunology Research

Leaders of HMS and Children’s Hospital Boston, Jeffrey Flier and James Mandell, respectively, introduced the Nov. 17 celebration of the Fred S. Rosen Professorship in Pediatrics at HMS, the Immune Disease Institute, and Children’s. Both commented on… Read Full Article »

Awards and Advances

Image: Awards and Advances

Some people hit retirement age and take up golf. Not Klaus Rajewsky. In 2001, when Rajewsky, a prominent molecular immunologist and expert… Read Full Article »