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The Human Immune System

The immune system has evolved to deal with many different challenges, some of which can vary widely among vertebrate species, and thus while many basic mechanisms may be shared between humans and various animal models, the human immune system has evolved to differ in important ways from that of commonly used experimental rodents. Furthermore, human diseases, especially chronic disorders, are also significantly more complex than commonly used disease models, and the approaches to studying human immunity, for ethical reasons, must be often fundamentally different from those used in experimental systems. New immunotherapies, especially those based on the use of biologicals, have created an opportunity to ethically investigate human immunology and improve the value of clinical trials. The Human and Translational Immunology (HTI) section of the Immunobiology department studies both the immune systems of healthy individuals, the roles that immunology plays in a variety of human disease and analyzes the alterations that therapies may have on the immune response. HTI investigators also develop new approaches for human investigation and create new experimental models that better replicate human immunity.