/ Modified aug 9, 2018 4:22 p.m.

Professor Investigating Effectiveness of Human Immune System

Janko Nikolich considers the body's defenses among its most powerful functions.

doctor checkup hero A health professional examines a patient.

A University of Arizona researcher is investigating why the immune system works effectively for some people and fails for others. Janko Nikolich is an internationally-recognized microbiologist, who likens human immunity to the body's department of defense.

"You've got to have your infantry, you've got to have your artillery, your Army, your Navy, paratroopers, all of these guys there to do their job," he said.

Nikolich notes once the immune system discovers a virus that is dangerous, it becomes one of the most powerful forces in the human body.

"An immune response is very destructive, it could destroy our own tissues if it was not properly directed," he said. "So, we do not want to start it unless something is both foreign and dangerous."

Nikolich is also looking at why immunity decreases with age and is examining how new vaccines can help bolster the body's defenses.

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