An immunologist in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has compiled two new books designed to give biomedical researchers the latest protocols to study innate immunity and allergic disease using mouse models.

Irving C. Allen, assistant professor of inflammatory disease in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, served as editor of “Mouse Models of Innate Immunity: Methods and Protocols,” published in July, and “Mouse Models of Allergic Disease: Methods and Protocols,” published in August. Both are part of Springer’s “Methods of Molecular Biology” series.

According to Allen, biomedical researchers often weigh their desire to improve human health against the ethical and logistical obstacles associated with human studies of disease. Laboratories around the world have successfully used mice as surrogates for these studies, and genetically-manipulated mouse strains have given researchers new tools to better understand the immune system.

“Mouse Models of Innate Immunity” and “Mouse Models of Allergic Disease” help biomedical researchers understand the breadth of mouse model approaches available to them in the study of the human immune system. In both, contributors provide step-by-step protocols for the design and execution of experiments.

Like other volumes in the “Methods of Molecular Biology” series, these books include contributions from an acclaimed group of international experts. Allen not only edited the compilations but also authored five protocols in the books.

“Mouse Models of Innate Immunity” begins with protocols for collecting and assessing cells relevant to innate immunity — the body’s first line of defense against infection by another organism. It also includes protocols for evaluating the innate immune response in the mouse, including models for respiratory infection, gastrointestinal infection, fungal and parasitic diseases, sepsis, and HIV infection.

Meanwhile, “Mouse Models of Allergic Disease” opens with techniques for the isolation and evaluation of cell types relevant to a diverse range of allergic diseases and then covers mouse models of several human allergic diseases, including systematic anaphylaxis, contact hypersensitivity, allergic rhinitis, and asthma. It also includes chapters on indirect mediators of allergic diseases, such as the nervous system, pathogen-associated molecular patterns, and gut microbes.

Allen joined the veterinary college’s growing team of inflammatory disease researchers last spring. He was previously an immunology researcher at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to animal models of innate immunity and allergic disease, Allen also has research interests in cancer immunology and host-pathogen interactions.

Written by Michael Sutphin.