The grant was awarded to a team of School of Medicine scientists led by James McLachlan, associate professor of microbiology and immunology. He will work with his father, Weatherhead Professor of Pharmacology John McLachlan, a national expert in women’s health and estrogen action, and Price-Goldsmith Professor of Nutrition Dr. Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, a leading researcher of sex differences in metabolic diseases.
“One of the most fundamental, unanswered questions in immunology and inflammation is why males and females often exhibit vastly different immune responses,” said James McLachlan. “Females respond more vigorously to infection and vaccination compared to males, but they also exhibit a greater incidence of many autoimmune diseases.”
“We made the surprising discovery that females appear to have evolved an immune system that is distinct and separate from that of males,” McLachlan said. “It is possible that this novel immune system can explain why female immunity is often much more potent across species.”
Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Co. The foundation’s grant-making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical, science and engineering research.