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Infectious diseases are one of the most important threats to human health. Understanding the biology of host defense responses to pathogens is paramount to the development of new treatment strategies. The goal of this EMBO Workshop is to bring together experts working on different aspects of the immune system and its response to infectious microorganisms. This includes (i) pattern-recognition receptors that detect the presence of pathogens, (ii) the role of ubiquitin in immune signalling, and (iii) cytokines and cell-mediated immunity. These are all not only essential for the clearance of pathogens but are also interconnected and dependent on each other. This EMBO Workshop will provide opportunities for both established experts and early career researchers working in these areas to interact, to present new and unpublished results and to forge new collaborations. We hope the workshop will thereby facilitate future research, integrating different branches of the immune system in its response to pathogens.