PLEASE NOTE: This FIRE stream has an all new research agenda! For spring 2019, however, it will need to utilize its old course - FIRE166 - FIRE SEMESTER 2: Evolution of Sex Differences.

Please use this course when registering.

Do you know someone who never seems to get sick?

The type of person who is perfectly healthy while everyone around them has come down with a terrible cold? Are they just lucky or is something else at play? Immune responses are complex but individual variation in immune genes may help to explain differences in disease susceptibility. In all animals, from insects to humans, the innate immune response is the cornerstone of host defense. Innate immune cells recognize and clear microbes, thereby limiting an infection and maintaining host health. Genetic defects in these cells can lead to severe immunodeficiency, which results in recurring and persistent infections.

We study genetic and genomic systems that allow us to better characterize innate immune responses. Because many of the genes and signaling pathways of innate immunity are conserved across all animals, our model systems allow us to make discoveries that have implications on human health, immunity and survival.

Our research group uses molecular biology, genetics, and microbiology to study the genetics of innate immunity.

The aims of the research are:
  • Identify novel genes that affect the host's ability to combat bacterial or viral infections.
  • Examine how genetic variation, within and across species, leads to the evolution of innate immune pathways.
  • Characterize gene expression during innate immune responses.

  • Research from the stream will provide valuable insight into the nature of innate immune responses and their evoluation over time.

    2019 Immunogenetics Innovation & Research Stream

    2018 Immunogenetics Innovation & Research Stream

    2017 Immunogenetics Innovation & Research Stream

    Faculty Advisor
    Dr. Gerald Wilkinson

    Faculty Advisor
    Dr. Louisa Wu

    Research Educator
    Dr. Ashley Nazario-Toole