The immune and nervous systems are the body’s main sensory systems that process and respond to environmental stimuli. Both systems can recall earlier challenges and events, leading to responses that are tailored to ever-changing conditions. In many of our tissues that come into contact with the outside environment—especially the lungs, intestines, and skin—the cells of the immune and nervous systems communicate with each other and maintain a two-way dialogue. While this discovery challenges our understanding of how the body works to maintain our health, it also highlights potential avenues for the discovery of new therapeutic strategies that take advantage of the interactions between these systems.
However, we currently lack the knowledge of what these complex “neuroimmune” networks look like and how they communicate, so Dr. Klein Wolterink is developing the tools that would enable the architecture of this system to be discovered and characterized. Furthermore, his team plans to unravel the language of neuroimmune communication and its various ‘dialects’ in different organs. These fundamental new insights will pave the way for new strategies to promote health as well as to prevent and cure disease.
Projects and Grants
Deciphering the architecture and language of pulmonary neuroimmune communication
Champalimaud Foundation (Portugal) | All Cancers | 2020 | Henrique Veiga-Fernandes, Ph.D.
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