Physiological mechanisms of brain-body interactions

We are intuitively aware that the brain affects immunity. This relationship is manifested by responses such as increased disease prevalence following stress or cure following treatment with a placebo pill. Although we have reached a significant comprehension of the effects of stress on immunity, we are limited in our understanding of the specific neuronal networks regulating the immune system and the modes through which this activity is transmitted to the immune system. Our goal is to understand how the brain regulates immunity and to harness the networks underlying this communication toward the design of new therapeutic strategies to centrally regulate immune responses. We focus our research on specific neuronal networks in the brain (e.g. the reward system) and on general changes in brain activity (e.g sleep) and analyze their effects on immune activity.