In developing countries, the burden of infectious illness is far higher than in industrialized countries. Poor healthcare infrastructure and a lack of public awareness of infectious disease processes and illness prevention are some of the reasons. While immunology education and research play an important role in understanding host-pathogen interactions, immunology training programs remain entirely incorporated into the curriculum of higher education and, by extension, high schools in underdeveloped countries. Here, we highlight the importance of incorporating immunology research and research skills into the all-natural science education curriculum, especially in developing nations.
Immunology, a multidisciplinary topic that includes epidemiology, pathophysiology, microbiology, genetics, and environmental science, is gaining significance in a variety of institutions of higher learning across the world. One motivation for increased immunology research is the realization that immunological dysregulation is frequently the underlying cause or a key contributing component in the pathogenesis of seemingly unrelated illnesses like diabetes, metabolic syndromes, autoimmune diseases, or cancer. Another reason to value immunology is the possibility of using genomics and other emerging high throughput methods to develop precision medicine. This will allow us to identify disease risk factors or determinants, understand and monitor disease progression, identify innate protective mechanisms, develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, and track treatment strategies/options, allowing for more personalized and predictive health care.
Role of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The NIH has a long history in immunology and infectious disease research, extending back to 1887 with the establishment of the Staten Island Laboratory of Hygiene. Immunology at the NIH has expanded in response to the increased need for research. Some features of immunological research at the NIH in the early 1960s are portrayed in an exciting chapter in “NIH: An Account of Research in its Laboratories and Clinics” by William E. Paul and Thomas A Waldmann. Today, the NIH Intramural Research Program hosts one of the world’s largest and most productive immunology communities, with over 200 laboratories distributed across the country at its main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and other locations. Among the many seminal discoveries made by NIH immunologists are the cloning of T cell antigen receptor subunits, the discovery of interleukins 2 (IL-2), IL-3, IL-4, and IL-15, as well as chains of the IL-2 receptor, the elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of antibodies, and the co-discovery of the causative agent of HIV-AIDS. At the NIH’s publicly funded state-of-the-art labs and Clinical Center facilities, this remarkable group of researchers and clinicians, including global experts in immunology, fosters the development of new generations of immunologists with a Ph.D. or MD. The Immunology Interest Group, which now has over 500 members, comprises immunologists from around the NIH.
Paul E LOVE’S LABORATORY
Paul E. Love, MD, PhD, works at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a government institution that is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. He is still a key player at the NIH and is well-known in immunology. Dr. Love now serves as the Section Head of Hematopoiesis and Lymphocyte Biology at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). His studies primarily focus on T cell antigen receptor (TCR) signaling, with a specific emphasis on the impact of immuno-receptor-tyrosine-based activation patterns (ITAMs), the signaling apparatus of the TCR.
Dr. Love joined the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as an independent investigator in 1993 and was promoted to tenured senior investigator in 1998. From 2000 to 2004, he was an Editor for the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a member of the BioEssays Editorial Board from 2004 to 2008, and a Section Editor for the Journal of Immunology from 2004 to 2008. From 2009 to 2013, Love chaired the Journal of Immunology Publications Committee, and since 2014, he has been a member of the FASEB Publications and Communications Committee and an AAI Representative. Dr. Love began her career as a Reviews Editor in 2015, and in 2020, she was promoted to Associate Editor for T Cell Biology.
Love’s group was involved in partnerships that resulted in the development of a mouse model for human SCID-X1 and animals lacking or expressing mutant variants of the essential T cell signaling adaptor LAT or the chemokine receptor CCR9. Members of the Love lab used genetic screening methods and gene targeting studies to discover that the proteins CD5, CD69, Txk, Themis, Themis2, and Fbxl12 play significant roles in T cell development. Multiprotein transcriptional complexes comprising the proteins Ldb1 and Lmo2 have been implicated in hematopoietic stem cell maintenance/self-renewal, erythropoiesis, and the origin of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to other research from the Love lab (T-ALL). In developmental immunology and lymphocyte biology, Love has co-authored over one hundred research and review papers.
In recent years, Dr. Love and his colleagues have been working on research to use their findings on human TCR signaling components and TCR signal altering proteins to improve tumor immunotherapy. These studies, which might lead to a significant advancement in immunotherapy, focus on the TCR’s signaling machinery, either directly or indirectly. Two Love-lab research lines have uncovered potential translational uses of fundamental research in human medicine.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends 10% of its budget on research conducted within its facilities (intramural research) and pays out >80% of its research grants to extramural (outside) researchers. Small enterprises may get a specified level of extramural financing (2.8 percent in 2014) under the SBIR/STTR program. Extramural support consists of over 50,000 grants to over 325,000 researchers at over 3000 universities as of 2011. By 2018, the rate of grant-making had remained relatively consistent, with 47,000 gifts to 2,700 organizations. In FY 2010, the National Institutes of Health spent US$10.7 billion on clinical research, US$7.4 billion on genetics-related research, US$6.0 billion on prevention research, US$5.8 billion on cancer, and US$5.7 billion on biotechnology (not including temporary funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) comprises 27 separate institutes and centers that specialize in various biomedical disciplines. It is responsible for many scientific achievements, such as the discovery of fluoride to prevent tooth decay, lithium to treat bipolar disorder, vaccines against hepatitis, Haemophilus influenza (HIB), and human papillomavirus (HPV).
In 2019, the NIH was rated second for biomedical sciences, trailing only Harvard University, according to the Nature Index, which counted the most significant contributors to publications published in a sample of prominent journals from 2015 to 2018.