The department has a strong research branch in immunology. Autoimmunity, innate immunity, and transplantation immunology currently form the focus of the Immunology scientists’ research efforts. Autoimmunity is the study of the immune system that creates a negative immune response directed at the body’s own cells and tissues. Dr. Su is conducting translational research related to autoimmune diseases of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Drs. Cook, Kielian, and Sun are studying the innate immune response in specific microenvironments to specific foreign threats, including bone against tumors, central nervous system (CNS) against Staphylococcus aureus, and lung against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), respectively. Transplantation immunology is being undertaking in Dr. Talmadge’s laboratory, in which he is determining how the microenvironment and host immunity affects tumor progression and metastasis, and is utilizing this translational research to determine best interventional strategies and suppressive therapies for cancer patients.