The body's immune system is generally divided into the innate system which is the first line of defence against invading pathogens and the adaptive system which is comprised of B and T cells and leads to long-term immunity against microbes. Many diseases and even their pharmacological treatments can lead to the disruption of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Immunopharmacology is the study of drugs designed to either suppress or augment the immune system. Immunosuppressant drugs have been extensively studied and are effective in disorders where the immune system is over-activated and mediating pathology (e.g. autoimmune conditions or in transplantation settings). On the other hand, less is known about the nature of immunostimulants, although these types of drugs may be efficacious in treating immunosuppressive states such as primary immunodeficiencies, HIV/AIDS or those associated with cancer. One of the major goals of immunopharmacology is to elucidate the mechanisms of action of drugs affecting the immune system.

Graduate faculty in this research are:

Peter Pennefather
John Semple
Jack Uetrecht