Mission Statement

The PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society is an international organization for researchers in a number of scientific and medical disciplines, including psychology, neurosciences, immunology, physiology, pharmacology, psychiatry, behavioral medicine, infectious diseases, endocrinology and rheumatology, who are interested in interactions between the nervous and immune systems, and the relationship between behavior and health. An important goal is to conduct basic research that can be translated into clinically relevant health applications.

The PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society (PNIRS) was incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania in 1993 after a meeting in April of that year and is a nonprofit organization. During the meeting the founding members determined that the purpose of the Society is to promote the study of interrelationships among behavioral, neural, endocrine and immune processes and to encourage collaborations among immunologists, neuroscientists, clinicians, health psychologists and behavioral neuroscientists.


The society holds an annual meeting, Research Perspectives in PsychoNeuroImmunology, to communicate the research findings of its members. These meetings are held between April and July, and every third year the Society meets in Western Europe.

This annual meeting provides a forum for scientists to communicate current research findings, to present new ideas, and to ensure the growth and advancement of PNI research by offering the opportunity for students to meet established scientists. The scientific program usually features a Norman Cousins guest lecturer, symposia, oral presentations, poster sessions, a Senior Faculty/Trainee Colloquium, and informal group discussions. Travel awards, funded through an NIH Trainee travel grant, will be given to encourage the participation of trainee members.

Substantial emphasis will be placed upon trainees by providing update courses in basic disciplines (immunology, neuroscience, behavior) and by organizing a special dinner for trainees only. Information regarding the program or abstract submission is available on the PNIRS website.

Research and Communication Priorities

There is increasing scientific interest in the area of brain-immune system interactions and the physiological changes that are induced by activation of the immune system. It is apparent that behavioral and psychological factors can modify the function of the immune system and health. Susceptibility to viral infections, activation of latent viral infections, and relapses/remissions in patients with HIV positive individuals are influenced by interactions between the brain, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. Stress and other behavioral and psychologic factors may be linked to disease susceptibility and progression through either direct CNS-immune system links or CNS-endocrine-immune system pathways.

Cytokines and their receptors that are expressed in both the immune and central nervous systems provide a critical link between the two systems. Activation of these cytokine receptors regulates a variety of physiological events, ranging from activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to sickness behavior. To understand these factors, collaborations between investigators from different disciplines must have an understanding for each other's fields, methods, and technologies.