Greg Barton wants to understand how the immune system recognizes and responds to threats while limiting damage to our own cells and tissues. To make this distinction, innate immune receptors recognize conserved features of microbes, but in some cases these features are not enough to make the correct choice. Barton and his team study such situations to better understand autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases. They are particularly focused on receptors that recognize nucleic acids and have identified new mechanisms that limit responses to self nucleic acids. The team also studies immune recognition in the intestine with the goal of determining how the host discriminates between the beneficial and harmful microbes there.