The immune system must provide protection against diverse infectious agents that includes viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. However, an excessive immune reaction towards these foreign invaders can cause collateral damage to the surrounding tissue and organs. Our laboratory investigates how a balanced immune response is generated, and what happens when this balance is disrupted. We are particularly interested in understanding how our body determines the difference between microbes that cause disease versus those that are typically harmless such as the trillions of commensal bacteria that colonize our intestine. This question is especially relevant to inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and other chronic inflammatory conditions. In particular, we found that a basic cellular process termed “autophagy” is critical for generating a balanced immune response to infections and inflammatory triggers. To study how autophagy and other molecular processes determine the outcome of an immune response, we work with expert collaborators and use a variety of state-of-the-art techniques such as specialized mouse models and next generation sequencing. Explore this website to learn more about the ongoing research projects and the people that make the science possible.