Our goal is to understand how the body clock controls the immune system. The body clock is the timing mechanism within our cells that ensures that certain physiologies or functions occur at the appropriate time of day (termed circadian rhythms). Examples of our body clock controlling the immune system include the following:
- Immune cells traffic around the body at certain times of day.
- Cortisol (a hormone with anti-inflammatory properties) rises in the morning and drops to low levels ahead of sleep.
- Infection causes a different immune response at one time of the day versus another.
- Immune related conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid and osteo arthritis and cardiovascular disease vary with time of day.
We examine the molecular pathways connecting the immune system to our body clock. We focus on the innate immune system (the first line of defense against infection). Our work has implications on how we treat inflammatory diseases but also when we treat inflammatory diseases.