Harnessing the body's natural defenses

If the body were a country, the immune system would be its national guard. And it couldn't ask for a better homeland defense. The immune system is remarkably effective at protecting us against the millions of pathogens that threaten us daily. We have only to see what happens when our immune system is compromised – from disease, for instance, or by immunosuppressant drugs following organ transplantation – to understand the power it wields when it's operating at full strength.

Our goal is to understand and ultimately control how the immune system defends the body at the molecular and cellular levels. ITI teams, comprised of immunologists, pathologists, microbiologists, infectious disease experts, surgeons, scientists, and clinicians, are attacking these challenges from dozens of different avenues and pooling their talents towards achieving this shared goal.  

Bill Gates Visits the Center for Human Systems Immunology at the School of Medicine October 19, 2023

Mr. Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder of Microsoft, met with investigators at the Center for Human Systems Immunology. Led by Mark Davis, the center's director, and joined by Dean Lloyd Minor, the discussions focused on recent advances in human immunology and their potential impact on addressing global health challenges.

Participants (from left to right): Karen Makar, Taia Wang, Mark Davis, Lloyd Minor, Bill Gates, Catherine Blish, Purvesh Khatri, Gerlinde Obermoser, Peter Kim. Back row: Erin McCaffrey, Chris Karp, Trevor Mundel, Jo DeSimone, Brian Hie, Bali Pulendran, Pras Jagannathan.

Photography: Jim Gensheimer


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    Professor of psychiatry and behavioral health Leanne Williams will lead a project to define depression’s cognitive biotypes and create tools for clinicians to diagnose and treat patients.

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    The professor of dermatology and genetics was honored with the 2024 Lurie Prize for his studies into the role of long noncoding RNA in health and disease.

  • Myelination may drive drug addiction

    New research in mice by Stanford Medicine scientists has found that the process of adaptive myelination, which helps the brain learn new skills, can also promote addiction to opioids.

Human Immune Monitoring Center

HIMC provides standardized, state-of-the-art immune monitoring assays at the RNA, protein, and cellular level, as well as archiving, reporting, and data mining support for clinical and translational studies. In partnership with the research community, we also work to test and develop new technologies for immune monitoring.

ITI Membership

Becoming an ITI Associate Member is open to faculty and researchers affiliated with Stanford University, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. The Institute represents a novel interdisciplinary collaboration among clinical scientists and clinicians, engineers, basic and social scientists from throughout the University, united by their interest in immunology, transplantation medicine, infectious disease prevention and treatment.

Conference & Seminars



Stanford Human Systems Immunology Center

Stanford University has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate efforts in vaccine development. The $50 million grant over 10 years will build on existing technology developed at Stanford, housed in the Human Immune Monitoring Core, and establish the Stanford Human Systems Immunology Center. The center aims to better understand how the immune system can be harnessed to develop vaccines for the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.

Invest in ITI

As a new venture, the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection is seeking both volunteer involvement and philanthropic investment from members of the community like you. Your participation can help build awareness and excitement about the Institute's work and provide the financial support needed to launch an exciting new era of innovative medicine.