Humans can be infected by a plethora of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, which cause a wide range of diseases. These so-called infectious diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world.
For a handful of infectious diseases, such as polio, measles and rubella, the biomedical community has developed effective vaccines that can control the spread of the infection, and in the case of smallpox, essentially eradicate it. For others, such as Human Immundeficiency Virus (HIV), there are effective drugs available that can reduce its impact and substantially prolong patient survival. However, for the majority of infectious diseases we have to rely on our body’s own immune systems to respond and clear the infection.
Ongoing projects at CeMM in the groups of Giulio Superti-Furga, Sylvia Knapp and Andreas Bergthaler are focusing on gaining a better understanding of the immune response to infection, which may enable us to harness its power for treating disease. More specifically during gastrointestinal infections, the group of Clarissa Campbell studies how changes in organismal metabolism impact immune responses.