Immune cells and their secreted products participate in a wide variety of biological processes involving to varied degrees nearly all organ systems. Elements of the immune system serve not only to respond to infectious agents in their role in host defense but also to react to noninfectious “danger signals”, thereby contributing to fundamental aspects of both physiologic and, when excessive or maladapted, pathologic processes. Mounting experimental, epidemiologic, and clinical evidence links inflammation and immunologic events to the initiation or progression of a broad spectrum of seemingly unrelated disease processes, including the metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, carcinogenesis, atherosclerosis, autoimmunity, and chronic degenerative neurologic diseases. As constituents and principles of immunology extend into the underpinnings of so much clinically relevant biology, only an inclusive and integrated approach can effectively harness the expansive expertise necessary to unravel the underlying complexities and reach a bona fide understanding of pathogenesis.
To achieve an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the study of immunology in its diverse manifestations, the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine has established the Center for Immunology and Immune-based Diseases. The Center will coordinate efforts and facilitate interactions among members of the UI biomedical research community in order to advance education, research, and clinical applications in immune-related diseases. Welcomed from the greater UI academic community, members will include scientists engaged in basic and applied research, education, and clinical studies of immunology and immune-based diseases, and will thus comprise a diverse group of investigators with a shared interest in immunology in its broadest sense and a collective expertise necessary to advance understanding of the multifaceted roles of the immune system in biology.