The majority of auto-immune and immune-related diseases are complex diseases, where a combination of genetic and non-genetic factors plays out against the complexity and diversity of the human immune system. What we don’t know is which genetic risk factors and environmental exposures have to come together and how they interact on the molecular level to push the immune system “over the edge” and into the realm of active autoimmune or inflammatory disease.
LJI is one of the few organizations in the world solely dedicated to research on the immune system. As a result, LJI researchers have wide-ranging expertise in the fundamental mechanisms of self-tolerance, as well as many of the autoimmune or inflammatory diseases that result when self-tolerance breaks down or natural mechanisms to limit the immune response do not work effectively. LJI scientists recently unveiled a publicly available immune atlas, which provides a map of how individual genetic variations affect gene expression in human immune cells. It contains a trove of data that is critical for deciphering how natural genetic variation shapes the immune system’s ability to protect our health. This combination of strengths in fundamental immunology, genomics and data analysis, places LJI researchers in a unique position to unravel the complexities or autoimmune and inflammatory disease.