Corporate entry Immunology Division (1996 - )
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
- Medical Research
The Immunology Division was created in 1996-1997 by the amalgamation of the Thymus Biology Unit, the Lymphocyte Differentiation Unit and the Cellular Immunology Unit (CIU). The Electron Microscopy Laboratory (originally part of the CIU) did not join the merger and was moved to the newly created Transplantation Unit. Today, research within the Division is focused on intracellular signalling in lymphocytes, antigen processing and presentation, and development of lymphocytes and dendritic cells.
The Immunology Division was established to create a better understanding of the basic functions of the immune system and the way it develops from stem cells in bone marrow. This basic information will be applied to improving vaccines and avoiding autoimmune disease. Today the Division focuses on three cell types: B lymphocytes that make antibodies, T lymphocytes that kill infected cells, and dendritic cells (DC) that collect foreign material, process it and present it to the lymphocytes to initiate immune responses. This Division is recognised as one of the leading DC research laboratories in the world. Research is at both the level of the cell and its interactions and at the level of the molecular signals within the cells that govern cell responses. Genetically modified mice lacking or over-expressing particular genes are used to examine the changes effected by genetic modification. These changes offer insights into spontaneous immune system malfunction, such as those that occur in the autoimmune disease diabetes. These transgenic mice are also useful for increasing the understanding of the immunopathology of diseases like AIDS and may possibly lead to improved vaccines and immunisation strategies.
Emily Geraghty & Annette Alafaci
Created: 17 November 2004, Last modified: 18 February 2010