Standing on the shoulders of mice: adventures in human immunology

Healthy Lives


15:00 - 15:45

While inbred mice have been a very powerful model for analyzing the immune system, recent advances, both technological and conceptual, have begun to make direct studies of the human immune system possible. This is vitally important from a translational perspective, as mouse models of disease have not been as productive as hoped for in producing “actionable intelligence” with which to diagnose and treat patients. Furthermore it has created an unintended barrier between the clinical world and the research community. This barrier starts to dissolve when the research community focuses on human beings. Another benefit is that human work is almost unexplored territory for immunologists in our present time, where asking basic questions often results in unexpected answers, as the compromises that were necessary to make in laboratory mice-virtually eliminating genetic and environmental heterogeneity-are unavoidable in human beings and have profound effects on their immune responses. Thus we have already seen and I’m sure we will continue to see a wealth of new insights into how the immune system works from human research.

Mark Davis

Mark Davis

Mark M. Davis is Director of the Stanford Institute for Immunology, Transplantatio...