We explore and contribute to rethinking the most central concepts, theories, and methods of today’s immunology. Key concepts include immunological memory, exhaustion, and tolerance. At the theoretical level, we critically examine the self-nonself, danger, and other theories, and have proposed and keep assessing an alternative theory, called the “discontinuity theory”. We put forward an “extended” approach to the immune system, according to which immune systems are found across all living things and immunity goes well beyond host defense, as it includes processes such as regulation, clearance, and repair. We investigate the interactions between the immune system and other systems and organs, including the nervous system, via our work on neuroimmunology and “autoimmunopsychiatry” (Konsman).
We are also interested in how to best model the functioning of the immune system in health and disease, including with the help of artificial intelligence, systems biology, and mathematical approaches.