Alexander writes:

Dear Immune Professors,

This is Alexander from Seattle. Sorry for the many emails, but your podcasts have really gotten me thinking (and writing). I promise I’ll stop filling your inbox soon.

My question is as follows:

If the hygiene hypothesis of autoimmune disorders turns out to be true, wouldn’t that be bad news for long-term human habitation in space? The microbiome of a Mars colony is likely to be much smaller and less varied than on Earth. Wouldn’t we expect future generations born on Mars or in other space habitats to have massive autoimmune issues because of that, assuming the hygiene hypothesis is accurate?

Your insights would be greatly appreciated,

Thank you,



Jace writes:

Hello Immunomodulators!

I picked up on Immune just a few months ago and have flown through the episodes. It has helped me through quarantine. As a critical care nurse practitioner, my science background was brief and superficial but I have always found immunity fascinating and your podcast is very educational. It is confusing and disheartening to see certain patients become so critically ill from this viral infection, while others surprisingly appear unaffected. Your podcasts have made me dive into the depths of PubMed and I have a question. I think Cindy and Steph are going to like this because it dives into innate immunity.

Linked below is a systematic review examining the role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in obesity and insulin resistance and there appears to be an association. Additionally, obesity and diabetes have been associated with vascular endothelial dysfunction and pro-inflammatory states. The cross-link between immunity and coagulation occurs via NLRP3 inflammasome and tissue factor expression (as you guys covered a few episodes back). My question is:

– Could there be a way to obtain a biomarker profile that could help differentiate which patients have increased expression of NLRP3? I imagine this would be difficult as it is a cytosolic protein complex, right?

Thanks for all you do in science communication!

Warm regards,
Nurse Practitioner
Medical Intensive Care Unit
Huntsman Intensive Care Unit
Salt Lake City

Elsa writes:

Hi Brianne, Steph, Cindy and Vincent!

Thanks for the last Immune! 

Loved your discussion about complement, coagulation, kallikrein system! I know many found these systems difficult to understand, however I guess it is like everything, you learn what you work with đŸ™‚ I can just say that I find all the immune cells and how they differentiate in response to their environment, like cytokines and stuff really difficult to keep in order, while the complement system feels like home….

I think you should invite a complement expert for an episode, asking all you want to know, and how complement is “the thing” in immunology. đŸ˜‰

Two excellent US based researcher are Claudia Kemper at NIH and John Lambris at University of Pennsylvania

All the best