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Infectious diseases are currently not well understood from the first principles. Understanding the underlying pathogenesis of infectious diseases and their sequelae is needed for better prevention and treatment and holds key to unlocking the pathogenesis of other diseases that may be triggered or exacerbated by infections.

The center will study infections and immunity longitudinally to gather insight from changes over time in host response, pathogen persistence, and symptoms; selectively target distinct phenotypes within given diseases to understand immune pathogenesis and long-term outcomes; and use machine learning tools to uncover causes and mechanisms of conditions that include post-infection acute and chronic diseases, autoimmunity, and aging-related diseases – and produce knowledge to support the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.

The center will have an ambitious goal: to produce better diagnoses, treatments, and ultimately cures for these diseases. It will also work toward vaccine development, including those directed toward the mucosa that can provide better protection than systemic vaccination. Finally, it will seek to prevent and mitigate diseases that result from immune system responses, including autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, aging-related diseases, cancer and more.

A promising area of investigation regards mucosal vaccination. To make better vaccines, we need to understand the basic mechanisms of protective immunity.

Another area is long COVID and associated conditions, which currently involves many types of symptom clusters and little understanding of its underlying etiology.