Department of Immunology
Department of Immunology performs research to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms in autoimmune diseases. These diseases affect more than 5 % of population and include several common chronic diseases with overlapping immune pathways. Our major research interests are directed towards external (enteroviruses) and internal factors (commensal microflora, T cell effector function) that lead to development of autoimmune desctruction of pancreatic beta-cells in type 1 diabetes and latent adult-onset autoimmune diabetes (LADA). Specifically, we like to understand how immunological regulatory mechanisms in intestinal mucosa are involved in the development of autoimmune diabetes. These studies are performed in conjunction with immunological investigations in celiac disease – another common chronic disease in children. Based on our longterm experience in immunology of the diseases in reproductive organs we are also studying immunological biomarkers that are characterizing processes underlying the development of infertility.
The research aims to establish novel immunological prognostic, diagnostic and therapy-monitoring laboratory tests usable in different clinical settings (having close collaboration with Competence Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Biology, autoimmunity laboratory at the Tartu University Clinics as well as with international autoantibody tests standardization bodies like DASP, IASP, EurAdrenal etc.). As another research direction of clinical relevance, we study the use of salmon coagulation proteins in the development of immunologically suitable tissue scaffolds that are usable in regenerative medicine.
The research group belongs to the Centre of Excellence for Translational Medicine of the University of Tartu and is supported by the Estonian Research Council.
Department of Immunology, May 2016