Research Group "Immunoregulation"
Immunity, Macrophage: T cell cross-talk, Self-Tolerance, Amino Acid metabolism
Every minute of every day of our lives, our immune system has to decide what to respond to, and how large the response should be. Our highly specific immune system can potentially recognize and respond to any chemical entity, which are called ‘antigens’. An antigen can be anything, from components of our own bodies, food, things we breathe in, even our clothing. Most importantly, our immune system must precisely detect parts of invading pathogens like viruses, worms, fungi and bacteria and then eliminate them. Normally our immune system is very efficient with recognition and defensive processes. However, in many diseases, the response is not enough (chronic infection, cancer), attacks our own tissues (autoimmune diseases), or is uncontrolled and causes collateral damage (sepsis). The central question of immunology is how the immune response makes the right or wrong decisions. The Murray group seeks to understand decision making in the immune system. More broadly, the complex regulation of the immune system can be used as a ‘laboratory’ to discover new biological principles. Since any component of the immune system can be transiently eliminated, transferred or genetically altered, immunologists have significant experimental advantages in dissecting cellular and biochemical pathways essential in single tissues like the brain or heart.