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Overview

The immune system impacts almost every category of human disease, including cancer, heart disease, infectious disease, autoimmune disease, and neuropsychiatric disease. Nonetheless, dysregulation of the immune system in humans is incompletely understood, which limits the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.  The new Human Immunology Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides infrastructure for the detailed interrogation of human immune cells from blood and pathological tissues. To encompass the immunological data, genomic data, and clinical data, the Center is structured to integrate diverse groups that typically have inadequate interactions at most traditional institutions, including clinicians, geneticists, immunologists, and computational scientists.

The goal of the Human Immunology Center is to help design insightful immunologic analyses in relevant patient cohorts (eg. responder-nonresponder, early disease, distinctive disease features) and then analyze immunologic and genetic data sets in the context of clinical data with the goal to stratify patients into clinically meaningful groups and foster personalized medicine.

The Center employs systems immunology approaches to identify clinically relevant molecular pathways in leukocytes and tissue cells to identify biomarkers in patients with immune-mediated diseases.  These approaches are particularly relevant for investigations of both biomarker and drug discovery for human immune-mediated diseases. For both areas, our Center is specifically designed to identify patients with clinical features of interest, and then to collect biospecimens including blood and in specific instances, tissue biopsies for molecular analysis and integration with detailed clinical data for in-depth immunological, genomic and clinical stratification studies.

The Center is organized around modules that are linked as part of multidisciplinary groups, with a shared goal of understanding dysregulation of the human immune system for the purpose of drug and biomarker development. The modules are:

  1. Clinical patient phenotyping
  2. Immunophenotyping
  3. High-throughput genome-wide analyses
  4. Computational biology
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