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I-4ward focuses on the microbes that promote health and disease, the inflammatory processes, the immune system, and the medicines and therapies used to treat and prevent acute and chronic diseases. I-4ward integrates the expertise and resources at UAB to build unified, interdisciplinary programs in inflammation-based fundamental and clinical research. This area will impact almost all diseases studied and treated at UAB. Read more.

I-4ward focuses basic science studies of Biochemistry, Immunology, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Pathology, Structural Biology, Glycobiology and Molecular Biology, and translational studies to understand the pathophysiology of acute and chronic infectious, inflammatory, and immune-based diseases.

In basic science, I-4ward seeks to define the fundamental mechanisms regulating inflammation in all organ systems and in response to stimuli beyond infection. It also emphasizes a comprehensive (systems biology) approach to studying inflammation. I-4ward integrates technology to characterize inflammatory responses across multiple tissues and disease states. In translational science, I-4ward enhances our ability to rapidly translate the data on fundamental mechanisms into clinical interventions to prevent, treat, and modulate inflammation in disease, vaccination, and therapy, emphasizing personalized and population-based approaches to treatment. I-4ward research translates into clinical trials that span multiple disease settings. I-4ward integrates data to develop personalized inflammatory signatures across multiple tissues and disease states, as well as across different patient populations.

The I-4ward mission bridges the discovery of small molecule drugs, immunotherapies, and vaccines to target validation in pre-clinical models and testing of these interventions in human clinical trials for infectious diseases, acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, and cancer.

The following programs, projects, and partnerships are examples of how we are accomplishing this research focus area’s mission:

  • The Immunology Institute serves as a central focal point for coordinating immunologic research, which by its very nature is spread across disciplines such as microbiology, cell biology, transplantation, pediatric and adult medicine, oncology, pathology, and many more. 
  • Undergraduate Immunology Program is an interdisciplinary program in partnership with the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences which provides an immunology-focused curriculum in addition to a broad-based education in the fundamental aspects of biology, microbiology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics
  • O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB is among the nation’s leading cancer research institutions and one of only 51 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. It provides citizens of Alabama access to the latest therapies, cutting-edge clinical trials, and expertise for cancer treatment.
  • UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center specializes in clinical, translational, and basic research that encompasses autoimmune type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, diabetes complications, beta cell biology, oxidative stress, signaling and metabolism as well as diabetes risk factors, epidemiology, community outreach, intervention studies, and drug discovery.
  • Microbiome Center promotes research on the human microbiome and its influence on health and disease, supporting new and established investigators with access to resources, including annual pilot grants.

Task Force Members 

Fran Lund, Ph.D - Lead, Department of Microbiology

David Kimberlin, M.D. - Department of Pediatrics

Rakesh Patel, Ph.D - Department of Pathology

Carlos Orihuela, Ph.D - Department of Microbiology

Andre Ballesteros, Ph.D - Department of Medicine/Immunology

Mark Banaszak Holl, Ph.D - School of Engineering

Khurram Bashir, M.D. - Department of Neurology

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