The long-term goal of the group's research is to understand the host-virus-interactions related to acute and chronic viral infection. This insight is crucial to our basic understanding of the pathogenesis of viral infections, and a prerequisite for rational vaccine development, which has been made possible by recent biotechnological advances in the methods that can be used for vaccine production.

The goal is to understand:

  1. how a primary viral infection is controlled and

  2. the permanent immunity against exogènes and endogenous reinfestation induced and maintained.

This requires that we understand:

  1. how an immune response (non-specific and specific) is induced - which signals are needed to trigger an optimal immune response?

  2. how the immune attack on the invasive virus is regulated and focused so that the infection is fought most effectively - and which cellular interactions and signaling molecules are involved in this process (adhesion molecules, cytocines, cemociner)?

  3. which effector systems are necessary for control of acute infection - and how they operate the cellular and molecular?

  4. how the immune system more effectively fight a new infection with the same or related viruses - and how this memory is induced and specially maintained? Which cellular and molecular interactions are taking place?

  5. how the immune system operates in the control of chronic viral infections - and which cellular and molecular interactions are taking place?

All the above aspects of the antiviral immune responses are studied using experimental viral infections in animals (mice). One major reason for this is that the mouse immune apparatus is very similar to that of a human, and genetically altered mice with specific defects in immunologically relevant molecules are available in large numbers. Such genetically altered animals are, together with the use of modern cellular and molecular biology techniques, necessary for us to reach a better understanding of the outlined problems.