|Mucosal HIV & Immunobiology Center|
The Mucosal HIV and Immunobiology Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham was established through the Digestive Diseases Research Development Center program of the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK). The initial application for the Center was a collaborative effort by the Departments of Medicine, Pathology, and Microbiology; the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Center for AIDS Research; and the University of Alabama Health Services Foundation’s General Endowment Fund for the Interdisciplinary Program in Mucosal Immunology. The Center is in the Department of Medicine, which currently ranks 18th nationally in NIH funding among all Departments of Medicine.
The overall purpose of the Center is to provide research on the interaction between microbes and mucosal tissues. To accomplish this goal, the Center integrates and amplifies the investigative efforts of UAB’s world-class mucosal immunology programs. The Center seeks to speed development of therapies and vaccines for a spectrum of mucosal diseases by bringing together investigators in mucosal diseases with investigators from a wide variety of other disciplines at UAB. The principal microbes studied by Center investigators are HIV-1, which enters the host through the gastrointestinal and genital tract mucosae; Helicobacter pylori, the most common cause of gastric inflammatory disease; and the commensal bacteria, which play a critical role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease.
The specific goals of the Mucosal HIV and Immunobiology Center are to (1) Provide an efficient and effective mechanism for expediting, expanding and fostering research in the interaction between microbes, especially HIV-1, H. pylori and commensal bacteria, and host mucosal tissues, including the epithelium and innate and adaptive immune cells; (2) Coordinate and pool University-wide resources in a cost-effective, user-friendly organization; and (3) Provide a resource-, expertise- and intellectual-rich environment to generate new concepts in mucosal HIV-1, H. pylori and commensal microbe immunobiology, resulting in new initiatives and the recruitment of new investigators in digestive diseases research.
The above goals are accomplished through the Center’s three Cores. The Cores include the (1) Genetically-Defined Microbe Core; (2) Molecular Pathology and Human Cell/Tissue Core; and (3) Gnotobiotic and Genetically-Engineered Mouse Core. These Cores promote innovative, cutting-edge research in digestive diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.