Focus Issue: Call for papers in Trained Immunity

After a decade of research into innate immune memory, we are pleased to launch a call for papers in trained immunity addressing what we have learned and what’s next for the field.

Historically, the concept of immunological memory referred only to the ability of the adaptive immune system to develop specific responses to pathological triggers. However, this concept was challenged in 2012 by a landmark innate immune memory (also known as trained immunity) study in human and mouse experimental systems. Over the last decade, many studies built on these findings and proved that, in addition to the specific memory in adaptive immune cells, innate immune cells and structural cells can develop a non-specific memory state. Innate immune memory is a concept with evolutionary roots, as it is already present in more simple organisms such as plants, worms and insects.

The regulation of innate immune memory is based on two main pillars: metabolic reprogramming and modification of the epigenetic landscape. Numerous studies have identified triggers and regulators of trained immunity, such as certain vaccines, microbial components, metabolites, chemicals, cytokines, pathogens and diets.

Innate immune memory can substantially influence the host immune response to infections or inflammatory diseases. However, while the development of innate immune memory responses can be beneficial in the context of infectious diseases or cancer, it can also act as a double-edged sword and increase host susceptibility to infectious and inflammatory diseases. Thus, we urgently need to further expand our understanding of these host-beneficial versus host-detrimental signatures.

Currently, trained immunity therapeutics are being investigated in multiple settings, from organ transplant acceptance, to sepsis, cancer treatment, and atherosclerosis. However, even after one decade of research, there are still many questions to answer about the fundamental and clinical mechanisms of establishing innate immune memory, its risks, and how it can be used to improve health.

Aims and scope

In this eLife Focus Issue, we aim to curate Review Articles and original research articles on the history, current state, and future directions of innate immune memory studies, and overall provide a critical assessment of this new field of research. We will particularly focus on aspects that provide a better understanding of the mechanisms involving the development, regulation, maintenance and resolution of innate immune memory.

We also welcome research works on inflammatory, metabolic and epigenetic regulation of innate immune memory and its consequences in all kingdoms of life.

We hope this Focus Issue will spark new discussions and open new fields of knowledge leading to potential therapeutic interventions.

Areas of interest

We are particularly interested in research in the following areas:

  • Metabolic regulation of innate immune memory
  • Epigenetic mechanisms in innate immune memory
  • Inflammatory signalling in trained immunity
  • Targeting metabolic, epigenetic, or inflammatory signaling as therapeutic tools
  • Trained immunity-based vaccines
  • Evolutionary aspects of innate immune memory
  • Genetics and populational aspects in trained immunity (including gender and age)
  • Anti-inflammatory innate immune memory
  • Modulation of trained immunity responses through lifestyle and dietary interventions
  • Novel inducers of trained immunity
  • Novel cell types and non-immune primary cell models of trained immunity
  • Definitions of tolerance vs trained immunity vs priming
  • Regulatory mechanisms in trained immunity
  • Trained immunity in cancer
  • Maladaptive innate immune memory
  • Therapeutic applications of trained immunity-based approaches

Editors for the Focus Issue

eLife Senior Editors Carla Rothlin, Yale University, United States, and Satyajit Rath, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India, will oversee the curation of papers alongside Guest Editors.

eLife Senior Editors

Carla Rothlin (Yale University, United States)

Carla Rothlin (Yale University, United States)

Satyajit Rath (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India)

Satyajit Rath (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India)

Guest Editors

Jorge Dominguez-Andres (Radboud UMC, Netherlands)

Jorge Dominguez-Andres (Radboud UMC, Netherlands)

Eva Kaufmann (Queen’s University, Canada)

Eva Kaufmann (Queen’s University, Canada)

Boris Novakovic (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia)

Boris Novakovic (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia)

Yahya Sohrabi (University Hospital Münster, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Germany)

Yahya Sohrabi (University Hospital Münster, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Germany)

Jos van der Meer (Radboud UMC, Netherlands)

Jos van der Meer (Radboud UMC, Netherlands)

Article types

Submissions of Research Articles, Short Reports, Tools and Resources, and Research Advances are welcomed. A select number of Review Articles will be commissioned by the editors.

Details about eLife's article types are available here.

About eLife

eLife is an interdisciplinary journal committed to improving the way research is reviewed and communicated.

We publish Reviewed Preprints that combine the advantages of preprints with the scrutiny offered by peer review.

Our new publishing process

Papers submitted to eLife will now follow our new model of publishing:

  • Submit your research
  • Decision to review
  • Consultative peer review
  • Reviewed Preprint published

All papers invited for review will be published on our website as a Reviewed Preprint, accompanied by an eLife assessment and public reviews.

Reviewed Preprints will typically be online within a few weeks of the review process being completed.

Following publication of your Reviewed Preprint, it is up to you what to do next. Choose to:

  • Revise and resubmit
  • Declare the paper Version of Record
  • Submit to another journal.

Peer review

eLife is working to improve the process of peer review so it more effectively conveys the assessment of expert reviewers to the scientific community, meaning reviews are published publicly alongside your research paper.

At the end of the peer-review process, before publication, authors have two weeks to submit a response to the assessment and reviews that can be published alongside the Reviewed Preprint.

Read more about our new process and publishing at eLife.

Submit your work

You can submit your work through eLife’s submission system.

Please include a cover letter with your submission, highlighting that the paper is for consideration for the Focus Issue on trained immunity and suggest editors from the list above.

All research articles submitted to this Focus Issue will be subject to our $2,000 publication fee, but we also offer full fee waivers where applicable. There will be no charge for Review Articles.

For more information on the submission process, read our author guide.

Submissions close on October 31, 2024.


We welcome comments and questions from researchers as well as other journals. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.

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