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Immunology and infection

Immunology and infection research has been a priority since the inception of Hull York Medical School, and it is our mission to make a lasting impact on global health.

Why we are taking on infection and immunity research

Infectious diseases are responsible for nearly a quarter of all global deaths* and continue to pose a formidable threat. Infections are also a leading cause of disability, loss of quality of life, and stigma, often affecting disproportionately the poorest communities in the world.

At the same time, the incidence of life-threatening or life-altering autoimmune diseases has been steadily increasing over the last three decades. Autoimmune conditions are now found to affect around one in ten people in the UK.**

Discovering the secrets of the immune system is not only required to battle infections and autoimmunity. The transformative impact of immunotherapies in non-communicable diseases, particularly cancer treatment, has opened new research frontiers in immunology.

Breakthrough approaches demonstrate the immense potential of vaccines and immunotherapies in revolutionising disease management, offering hope for a range of conditions.

* The Francis Crick Institute - Infectious diseases

** Incidence, prevalence, and co-occurrence of autoimmune disorders over time and by age, sex, and socioeconomic status: a population-based cohort study of 22 million individuals in the UK. The Lancet, Volume 401, Issue 10391, 2023,

Infectious diseases cause around a quarter of all deaths worldwide
"Our pioneering research transcends borders, from tropical diseases to cancer immunology — advancing health worldwide."

Professor Dimitris Lagos

Director of Research (York) and Professor of Immunology

Laboratory bottles

What we want to achieve

Our research in immunology covers a wide range of areas, including neglected tropical diseases, chronic skin inflammatory conditions, cancer immunology and immunotherapy, as well as autoimmune conditions.

We study the immune system and the intricate interactions between pathogens and their hosts. We uncover the underlying causes of both infectious and non-infectious diseases, driving towards clinical breakthroughs.

Through experimental medicine and pioneering clinical research, we translate our findings into tangible benefits for patients. We explore optimal usage of current therapeutics, including antibiotics, to improve patient outcomes.

In parallel, we are searching for novel immunological diagnostic and prognostic factors that can be incorporated in precision medicine approaches to enhance the effectiveness of current treatments.

Overall, our goal is to turn discoveries in molecular and cellular immunology to transformative and positive step changes in disease prevention and treatment across the world.

Pictured: Sand flies like this P. papatasi, are responsible for the spread of the vector-borne, parasitic disease, leishmaniasis. Our research is leading research to unravel the complexities of leishmaniasis and is at the forefront of trailing a new vaccine in a bid to halt this persistent disease.

Experimental Medicine Laboratory at the University of York

Our expertise in immunology and infection research

Our expertise includes:

  • The Biomedical Institute for Multimorbidities provides a unique environment for translational wound studies combining world-class, multi-disciplinary discovery research with state of-the-art translational wound models and extensive expertise in skin and wound clinical trials.

  • The Centre for Health and Population Sciences is a collaborative hub bringing together experts from research groups to address critical challenges in population health and healthcare. Our research encompasses statistics, epidemiology, mental health, evidence-based practice, patient safety, global public health, and primary care. 

  • Our research in Experimental Medicine and Biomedicine ranges from basic molecular and cellular medicine to pre-clinical and clinical studies. Our research spans fundamental studies on basic biology and pathology through to first-in-human clinical research. Our overall aim is to develop new approaches to disease prevention and treatment.

  • The Skin Research Centre, part of Experimental Medicine and Biomedicine, brings together world-leading skin scientists, clinicians and advanced technology experts to improve skin health. With our comprehensive coverage of the entire spectrum of skin research, from scientific discovery through to manufacturing, the Centre are dedicated to making a lasting impact on skin health. 

Thank you to our funders

Desk with stethoscope and clinic tenometer