The centre will focus in particular on how our immune cells can recognise the difference between external dangers and ourselves, and why this mechanism sometimes goes wrong and gives rise to autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, sclerosis and diabetes.
The centre will also study the way macromolecules are transported through biological barriers in the body, such as the blood-brain barrier and cell membranes. This knowledge will form the basis for developing more targeted and effective drugs with fewer side effects.
In addition, the centre will study which signals the stem cells need to receive in order to develop into specific types of tissue in the body. This knowledge will create an opportunity to use stem cells to re-establish tissue in the body when the old cells are destroyed by a poor lifestyle, disease or injury. It is thought that the method will eventually be used to regenerate human organs.