Benaroya Research Institute

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

Healthy Immune System Research Program

Scientists need to understand the makeup of a healthy immune system — its cells and molecules and how they interact with each other — before they can fully grasp what goes wrong during disease. Through a partnership with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), the Allen Institute for Immunology will build a detailed baseline of knowledge about the normal, healthy immune system.

That baseline will form the foundation not only for the three disease-related research programs through the Institute, but for studies of any immune-related disease in the future. Researchers at BRI will recruit healthy adult volunteers aged 25-35 or 55-65 years old from the Seattle area to participate in a research study that captures the details of their immune systems from simple blood draws. The research team will then follow changes in the volunteers’ immune systems over the course of one or more years to better understand factors that lead to fluctuations in the immune system, such as environmental influences including seasonal variation or deliberate challenges such as a vaccine.

Jane Buckner, M.D.

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

Dr. Jane Buckner is the President of Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) as well as Director of its Translational Research Program. She is also a rheumatologist at Virginia Mason as well as an Affiliate Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.  Dr. Buckner’s research interests are in understanding how the immune system is regulated, and why in autoimmune diseases regulation of the immune system fails, resulting in damage of healthy tissues. The diseases studied in Dr. Buckner’s laboratory include: type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, relapsing polychondritis and systemic lupus. Recent work from her lab has elucidated the role of genes associated with these diseases and alterations in the immune system that may lead to the development of disease.  As an active member of the scientific community, Dr. Buckner is director of the Seattle Chapter of FOCIS Center of Excellence and serves as an advisor to Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet. Dr. Buckner has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers.