Immunology touted as next big thing for popular science

April 29, 2014 by Kath Paddison

(Medical Xpress)—A University of Manchester professor says scientific jargon could be making the science of the human immune system a turn-off for the general public.

Professor Daniel Davis says that scientists are using a number of innovative ways to generate public discussion on immunology and the time is right for people to get to grips with the subject.

His paper, published today in Nature Reviews Immunology, coincides with the International Day of Immunology, argues that now is the right time for immunology to become the next big trend in – to inform new discussions about health and disease.

Professor Davis, Director of Research at the University of Manchester's Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, said: "People already know a lot about DNA and evolution and would be keen to learn new concepts - like how the works.''

"It's important to find out about immunology because it is crucial for understanding human health and disease. Plus, the human body is one of the greatest wonders of the universe, and its complexity, delicacy and elegance is clearly revealed in the way our immune system works."

Immunology explores how our immune system seeks out and destroys dangerous bacteria, viruses and fungi. It also examines how its activity connects with other body systems and influences, for example, our metabolism and hormone levels - and controls how well we feel. Sleep, stress, nutrition and our mental health are all connected to our ability to fight infections.

In his latest book, 'The Compatibility Gene', discussed recently at The Royal Institution in London and at the Edinburgh Science Festival, Professor Davis explored and its link with compatibility genes.

As part of the research for this book he and his wife had their own DNA analysed for compatibility and explained how research has radically transformed knowledge of the way our bodies work - with profound consequences for medical research and ethics.

Professor Davis said: "The immune system is a wonderful basis for discussing the importance of human diversity. The genes that vary the most between individual people are not those that influence physical characteristics—such as skin, eye or hair colour, for example—but are the genes of the immune system."

Explore further: Nice genes: What makes you genetically compatible with your partner?

More information: "Presenting the marvels of immunity." Daniel M. Davis. Nature Reviews Immunology (2014) DOI: 10.1038/nri3681 . Published online 28 April 2014

Related Stories

Researchers discover how cancer 'invisibility cloak' works

October 28, 2013

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered how a lipid secreted by cancer tumors prevents the immune system from mounting an immune response against it. When lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) binds to killer T cells, ...

Recommended for you

Study suggests remarkable approach to MS treatment

February 8, 2016

(Medical Xpress)—Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath enveloping and insulating the nerves. A progressive disease that often results in severe ...

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system

February 4, 2016

With over half the U.S. population infected, most people are familiar with the pesky cold sore outbreaks caused by the herpes virus. The virus outsmarts the immune system by interfering with the process that normally allows ...

Sharpin emerges from the pack as a regulator of inflammation

February 2, 2016

It is normal—in fact necessary—for our immune system to occasionally fly into an inflammatory rage to defend the host (us) against pathogens or even tumor cells. Problems arise when the rage persists or is re-directed ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.