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Innate Immunity

What is Innate Immunity?

Innate Immunity is the process by which nearly all multi-cellular organisms defend against microbial infection. Innate Immunity relies on germline-encoded receptors to sense microbial products and endogenous danger signals. Careful regulation of innate immunity is essential to ensure effective clearance of pathogens and to avoid detrimental inflammatory diseases.

Innate Immunity research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is undertaken by an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental group of investigators, centered in the Program in Innate Immunity within the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. All groups are focused on discovering the underlying mechanisms that drive immune defenses and inflammation, in both health and disease. Their research ranges from very basic studies, in invertebrate and vertebrate model systems, to human based studies of infectious, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Their common mission is to probe the fundamental mechanisms underlying innate immune recognition, signal transduction and host-defense in order to develop the next generation of therapeutics to treat infectious, inflammatory, metabolic diseases and cancer.

Innate Immunity at UMMS

Our research interests include: understanding the molecular basis of host defense, the inflammatory process and their regulation (FitzgeraldLienPukkila-WorleyGolenbockSilverman labs); the innate immune response to infectious illnesses (GolenbockSilverman labs); the evolution and function of long non-coding RNAs in inflammation (Caffrey & Fitzgerald labs); the role of cell surface receptors in the response of the host to viruses (FinbergKurt-JonesLienWang labs); autoimmunity (Harris & Rothstein labs); microbial pathogens and their strategies to circumvent host defenses (LienLevitzRam labs); vaccine development (Rice & Levitz labs). Together, our research bridges the gap between wet-lab biology, epidemiology and vaccine development and prepares students for careers in which their research can profoundly impact the human condition in health and disease.

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