The Baltimore Sun

* Dr. Jonathan Schneck, a professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is leading a team of researchers who have been awarded a $10.3 million grant - the largest basic immunology grant ever received by Hopkins - from the National Institutes of Health to dissect the human immune system.

The researchers aim to learn more about what happens when the immune system goes wrong, and how to suppress undesired immune responses in the cases of rejected tissue or organ transplants or in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or lupus.

The team will take on five projects, led by five researchers in addition to Schneck: Dr. Stephen Desiderio, director of Hopkins' Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences, head of the ImmunoICE program within the Institute of Cell Engineering and professor of molecular biology and genetics; Dr. Michael Edidin, professor of biology at Hopkins' Homewood campus; Dr. Joel Pomerantz, assistant professor of biological chemistry; Dr. Abraham Kupfer, professor of cell biology; and Dr. Jonathan Powell, associate professor of oncology.

The team will study how protein receptors on the surface of immune cells are organized to understand how they respond to foreign cells and particles in the body, as well as how they recognize the body's own cells. The researchers also will study how to use the immune system to fight cancer, and how immune cells communicate with themselves and with other cells.

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