Part of the NIAID mission is to support basic and clinical research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of immune-mediated diseases. Investigators in NIAID laboratories are working to expand knowledge of normal immune system components and functions and to understand causes for abnormal immune function in immunodeficiency, infectious, allergic, and autoimmune diseases.
While all research supported by NIAID seeks to better understand the human immune system, the following labs are examining the immune system within the context of autoimmunity:
ALPS Unit, Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases
The Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) Unit is studying ALPS, an inherited disorder of the immune system in which an unusually high number of immune cells accumulate in the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, leading to the enlargement of these organs. ALPS can cause a variety of autoimmune problems such as anemia (low red blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (low platelets), and neutropenia (low neutrophil count).
Read more about the ALPS Unit.
Mucosal Immunity Section, Laboratory of Host Defenses
Investigators in the Mucosal Immunity Section conduct studies on the immune responses found at mucosal surfaces of the body—the moist linings of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urogenital tracts—and the diseases that can result from these responses. Research in the lab has led to new insights into the causes of and Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as the development of treatments for these illnesses.
Read more about the Mucosal Immunity Section.
Autoimmunity and Functional Genomics Section, Laboratory of Immunogenetics
Investigators in the Autoimmunity and Functional Genomics Section have developed an animal model that resembles human lupus to help identify and study genes that may influence disease severity and be used as therapeutic targets.
Read more about the Autoimmunity and Functional Genomics Section.
Lymphocyte Activation Section, Laboratory of Immunogenetics
Research in the Lymphocyte Activation Section focuses on understanding how B-cell receptors function, as well as how they activate and maintain B-cell memory. These insights may lead to new therapeutics to control B-cell responses in autoimmune disease and to the design of new and improved vaccines.
Read more about the Lymphocyte Activation Section.
Cellular Immunology Section, Laboratory of Immunology
The research efforts of the Cellular Immunology Section focus on immune regulation in the development, course, and treatment of organ-specific autoimmune diseases. Investigators are examining self-reactive T cells that escape destruction and cause disease. A second focus on the lab is the study of cell-signaling molecules in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and collagen-induced arthritis.
Read more about the Cellular Immunology Section.
Molecular Development of the Immune System Section, Laboratory of Immunology
Investigators in the Molecular Development of the Immune System Section examine the regulation of T cells and its relationship to immunological tolerance, apoptosis, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. The goal is to understand autoimmune diseases from the vantage point of T-cell regulation as well as to develop novel methods to diagnosis and treat these diseases.
Read more about the Molecular Development of the Immune System Section.
Learn more about the Division of Intramural Research.
Last Updated August 17, 2011
Last Reviewed August 15, 2011