Infection and Inflammation

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Trinad Chakraborty

Morbidity and mortality due to infection is strongly heritable in human populations and continues to be a major health problem worldwide. The “Infection and Inflammation Network” addresses the pathophysiology of innate and adaptive immune response in acute and chronic diseases of enormous socioeconomic impact. Our objective is to develop functional and comparative studies, initiated during the first funding period of the National Genome Research Network (NGFN-1), into a molecular understanding of the human inflammatory response system in health and disease, thereby improving diagnostic and therapeutic options.

The diseases addressed in the Network are sepsis, malaria, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal disorders, herpes viral infections, rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies.

Genomics and proteomics technologies combined with insights derived from the biology of innate and adaptive immune responses and cellular signalling pathways are harnessed to examine the underlying pathologic mechanisms of morbid and lethal host reactions to infectious agents.

Molecular profiles of infection and diagnostic signatures of pathomechanisms induced by triggers of inflammatory diseases will allow us to define adaptive and maladaptive programs and assign novel functions and relationships to genes expressed during illness. A rich set of data for potential biomarkers will be available for disease progression and stratification. The patient cohorts and well-documented biobank repositories generated during NGFN-1 are invaluable resources for genetic screens and the detection of genetic polymorphisms that determine disease course and outcome. Murine models of infection and inflammation and their enormous potential for directed genetic studies provide an essential link to uncovering susceptibility genes, and provide information on the progression of disease, functional discovery and validation of genes contributing to these processes. Advances in genome biometrics will allow the linking of fundamental molecular and pathologic characteristics with clinical phenotype and genetics.

The Network has assembled scientific and clinical investigators of different backgrounds to address the complex biological problems posed in our proposal. It is our belief that the complexity can only be addressed by a highly cooperative, broad-based systems biology approach taking full advantage of power of genome research.

We believe that these efforts will have a wide range of benefits for the patient and will lead to business opportunities for industry.