Hunter researchers are inviting the community to learn about the immune system - the human body's defence armour - at a celebration of World Immunology Day next week.
"Our immune system protects us from infection and helps us fight many diseases," said Associate Professor Phil Hansbro from the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases. "Sometimes this vital bodyguard either under or overreacts and causes disease.
"We are holding an Open Day on Tuesday April 29 to celebrate immunology worldwide, its contribution to human wellbeing and local immunology research in the Hunter. We will explore why immunology is so important and how we can study immunology to prevent and treat diseases."
The event will explore how research on the immune system can lead to prevention and improved treatments of infection, immunisation, asthma, cancer, autoimmune diseases and allergies.
Researchers from the University of Newcastle and Hunter New England Health will speak about their research into areas as diverse as: autoimmunity; allergies; asthma; and middle ear infections in children.
Guest speakers at the open day will include Dr Xiaosong Liu from the University of Queensland immunology research unit which developed the new cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil.
Members of the community and health professionals are welcome to attend individual sessions or the whole program.
People are invited to have their lung function tested between 12.30pm and 1pm and meet with representatives of patient support groups such as the Scleroderma-Lupus Support Association.
The Open Day will be held at the University's David Madison Building in Watt Street, Newcastle, from 10am to 1pm on Tuesday 29 April. Entry is free and no RSVP is required. For more information visit www.hmri.net.au or phone Cheryl Dineen on 4913 8160.
Immunology researchers in the Hunter work in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute's (HMRI) Vaccines, Infections/Immunity, Viruses and Asthma (VIVA) Research Program.
HMRI is a partnership between Hunter New England Health, the University of Newcastle and the community.