Immunity Project Receives $17M in Funding

Autoimmune Disease

The battle against microbial pathogens and infectious diseases has just received a $17-million boost courtesy of Genome Canada (Ottawa, ON) and Genome BC (Vancouver, BC).

The Pathogenomics of Innate Immunity (PI2) project — an international collaboration between researchers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, U.K., Singapore and Ireland — aims to isolate how genes in animals and humans can be modified in order to make innate immune systems less susceptible to infections and pathogens.

Fiona Brinkman, PhD, a molecular biologist at Burnaby, B.C.- based Simon Fraser University, will use $1 million of the funding to further her efforts to create the world’s first innate immune database. Brinkmann uses bioinformatics to mine existing genetic data on various viruses and bacteria.

The PI2 project is focused on salmonella bacteria, which cause deadly infections and diseases and can mutate to develop antibiotic resistance. Researchers are concentrating on how to augment innate immune systems to guard better against infection without causing any harmful side-effects, such as inflammation.

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