The research by Miguel Soares at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Lisbon revolves around understanding the balance between inflammation, immunity and disease tolerance.
Immunity evolved in multicellular organisms to limit the negative impact caused by invading microbes. The immune system cansense and target pathogenic microorganisms for containment, destruction or expulsion. Multicellular organisms also evolved another defense strategy to preserve organismal fitness without exerting a direct negative impact on microorganisms.
This defense strategy, referred to as disease tolerance, relies on evolutionarily conserved stress and damage responses that limit the damage to tissues, caused by pathogenic microorganisms or indirectly by immune-aggression. Miguel Soares has revealed how basic metabolic pathways and commensal micro-organisms control disease tolerance to sepsis and malaria infections. With evidence mounting that much of the pathology in severe Covid19-patients is caused by excessive immunity, a mechanistic understanding of disease tolerance may lead the way to unorthodox novel treatments for current and future viral pandemics.