Research

Institute for Molecular Engineering, The University of Chicago / Integrative Immunology Laboratory

If the immune system was an unknown language to decode, then we likely know most letters (genes) and words (cell types), but it remains difficult to make sentences (cell-cell communications), let alone write coherent paragraphs (tissue- and organism-level processes). This illiteracy is perhaps best exemplified by our inability to manipulate the immune system against many deadly diseases and highlights the need to develop new ways to observe, quantify and ultimately decode immunity.

Our research aims to uncover the grammar – or general rules – governing how successful immune responses work to stop an infection or remove diseased cells while keeping the host healthy at the end of the process. We emphasize a multiscale approach that parallels the organization of the immune system across the body from molecules and cells to tissues to the whole organism. By creating new tools and approaches, we study how interactions occur between immunological components across these scales to uncover fundamental concepts in immunology and beyond. We pursue this goal in the hope that it will contribute knowledge to the longstanding question of how to manipulate the immune system at will.

Affiliate Institutions

The Institute for Molecular Engineering, established in 2011 by the University of Chicago in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, is a a highly interdisciplinary and transformational academic unit exploring the intersection of science and engineering. Our mission is to translate advances in basic physics, chemistry, biology and computation into new tools to address important societal problems and, to create a research and teaching environment to enhance and transmit these capabilities from scientific generation to generation. By converging multiple disciplines, IME is well-equipped to develop breakthrough technologies through designated thematic areas, including novel nanoscale polymeric materials, energy, water, immuno-engineering, quantum information and technology and computational science.

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center is committed to exploring and developing innovative ways to prevent and reduce cancer’s devastating effects through a collaborative research program involving more than 200 renowned researchers and physicians.

Headquartered in the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, and with facilities that reach across the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, IGSB is an engine for discovery that utilizes the latest approaches in genome analysis, high throughput screening, and biological computation.

The Graduate Program in Biophysical Sciences is fundamentally different from most graduate programs in the sciences. Thesis research is conducted under the supervision of two mentors who bring different intellectual and physical tools to bear. Students are expected to contribute to the science in both groups as they explore the interface between them.

The Immunology program at The University of Chicago provides doctoral students with broad exposure to the field of Immunology, while allowing for specialization in various areas of interest.

Funding Sources

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NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.