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Journal showcases immunology research at the UI

Immunology research at the University of Iowa is showcased in the journal Immunologic Research, which devotes its August issue entirely to articles by UI researchers covering a wide range of studies on the immune system and its role in health and disease.

This is the third time in 14 years that the UI has been selected by editors of this journal as a featured center.

"Being offered this opportunity reflects the University of Iowa’s very strong national and international reputation for immunology. It's a feather in our cap," says Gail Bishop, Ph.D., Holden Chair of Cancer Biology, Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Internal Medicine and director of the Center for Immunology and Immune-based Diseases, which was established in 2012.

The journal articles cover two overarching themes: 1) how the immune system works and responds to various microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites; and 2) how immune responses contribute to disease (immune pathology) or, conversely, how immune responses can be manipulated to combat disease (immunotherapy.)

Research on inflammation, infection, and immunity has been a long-standing strength at the UI for many years, says Bishop. With the creation of the center in 2012, support for that expertise has been strengthened with infrastructure that helps expand integrated and multidisciplinary immunology research across campus. The center is based in the UI Carver College of Medicine, but Bishop says its greatest strength comes from the diversity of its members.

"A major benefit of the center is that it has drawn in a broad swath of researchers from many departments on campus," Bishop says. "We have great diversity and breadth of immunologic expertise here that crosses multiple disciplines and colleges."

The papers published in the journal also reflect the wide range of interactive and collegial relationships fostered through the center, with contributions from UI researchers in eight departments across four colleges—Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Bishop notes that the authorship on the journal articles also highlights the research contributions made by junior scientists at the center. Almost all the articles (25 of 28) include trainee scientists (predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers, for example) as authors, and the remaining articles involve collaboration between senior and junior faculty.

"The level of authorship from young scientists shows how effective our faculty are at mentoring and fostering the careers of young people," she says.

The past decade has seen a growing understanding of the broad role the immune system and inflammation play in many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and cancer. More recently, studies have also indicated that the immune system is involved in diseases of the central nervous system, such as schizophrenia.

"The center has given people who have interests in these diseases a place to come and meet with immunologists and start collaborative relationships," Bishop says. "We are something of a 'poster child' when it comes to interdisciplinary research."

Membership in the center is open to anyone interested in immunology research and activities at the University of Iowa. To apply for membership online visit the center's website at http://www.medicine.uiowa.edu/immunology/.

Story Source: UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

Media Contact: Jennifer Brown, UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu