The immune system has strong implications in diseases that are major Public Health concerns.  These include inflammatory diseases, degenerative diseases, obesity and cancer, amongst others. The immune system harbours a plethora of cells that circulate throughout the body, making it a central interface that perceives, integrates and responds to multiple environmental cues. As such we explore the fascinating  role of neuronal-immune cell cross-talk in the prevention and resolution of disease. A noteworthy example is how the second brain, or intestinal nervous system, coordinates local immunity to ensure health and wellbeing.

Main Interests

The role of cross-talk between neurons of the peripheral nervous system and the immune system in the prevention and resolution of disease


Genetic, molecular and cellular approaches, flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and in vivo models of disease

Models and Regions

Rodents / Mucosal barriers, such as the intestine and the lung

We are exploring how the immune system can be harnessed to promote health and wellbeing


The Immunophysiology lab explores the role of cross-talk between neurons and the immune system in the prevention and resolution of disease. To that end, the team mainly focuses on mucosal barriers, such as the intestine and the lung. These organs are in permanent contact with the external environment and have a complex and dense network of neuronal and immune cells. This combination of features makes these organs an optimal site to reveal how the neural and immune systems work together to preserve health.

Using this approach, the lab has recently revealed a surprising role of the neural network that surrounds these organs: immune regulation. The team discovered that while the immune system is the one that actively fights infection, the neurons are the ones that are in charge of detecting the invasion and setting the immune response in motion. These findings may have a tremendous potential in the design of novel therapeutic approaches to disease as they pinpoint new selective targets that can be harnessed in allergy, inflammation, obesity and cancer.

The second brain and innate lymphocytes. Neuronal cells (red), Innate lymphoid cells (green)