Canada Research Chair in Resistance to Emerging Pathogens
Tier 2 - 2009-12-01
University of Ottawa
613-562-5800 ext. 6706
Identifying and characterizing immune cell receptors that are important for resisting pathogens.
This research will provide a better understanding of how the immune system fights off pathogen infection, and will allow researchers to intelligently design anti- viral, bacterial and fungal drugs.
A natural killer we can all learn to love
As everyone knows from experience, the body cannot fight off even a cold or flu very quickly. At best, it usually takes about a week or two for people to fully rid themselves of pesky pathogens. At worst, these pathogens become fatal in that time. The reasons for this often uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and occasionally tragic, delay in immune response is that the immune system first needs to become activated and mobilized for the fight.
The “natural killer cell” is a type of white blood cell crucial to activating the immune system early after the body meets a pathogen. People with no natural killer cells, or who lack natural killer cell function, can succumb from usually trivial viral infections such as chickenpox or herpes simplex virus.
Thanks to the research of Dr. Andrew Makrigiannis, Canada Research Chair in Resistance to Emerging Pathogens, the receptor family that natural killer cells use to recognize infected cells has already largely been defined.
Through his research as Chair, Makrigiannis now aims to better understand the early role of natural killer cells during pathogen infections. Such an understanding will give researchers the ability to design compounds or drugs to help fight off infectious diseases much more quickly, avoiding suffering and saving lives.