Immune and autoimmune diseases

Type 1 Diabetes research at The Jackson Laboratory
Type 1 diabetes hurts children and families. Researchers like Dave Serreze work to take away that pain.
Watch video (6:12)

You know the saying “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

Our immune system, when friendly, is vital to our health. Disruptions leave us terribly vulnerable to infection and more susceptible to other diseases, including cancer.

But sometimes our immune system becomes overzealous and destroy our own tissues. Serious diseases such as type 1 diabetes and lupus arise from these so-called autoimmune reactions. And chronic inflammation, another mark of an overly engaged immune system, is being implicated in many diseases, including cardiovascular disease.

Type 1 diabetes

Usually diagnosed in children, type 1 diabetes results from the immune system destroying the insulin secreting cells of the pancreas. Professor David Serreze, Ph.D., researches the disease, which he calls “a geneticist’s nightmare” because of its complexity.


Systemic lupus erythmatosus is a systemic disease, meaning that the immune system attacks tissues throughout the body. It affects mostly women, and there is no cure. Professor Derry Roopenian, Ph.D., has exciting recent findings that may provide a good target for stopping the disease progression.

The Jackson Laboratory main site
Subscribe to e-news