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Research unit director
Director

Woong-Kyung Suh, PhD

  • Director, Immune Regulation Research Unit
  • Assistant IRCM Research Professor
  • Assistant Research Professor, Department of Medicine (accreditation Microbiology, Infectiology, and Immunology and Molecular Biology Program), Université de Montréal
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University
  • Associate Member, Department of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University

When T cells of the immune system encounter antigens, they should decide whether they have to develop immunity or tolerance. One of the key factors that critically influence this decision making process is costimulation. Thus, we are studying T cell costimulatory signaling mechanisms with an aim to boost immunity against infection and cancer or suppress pathogenic immune reactions in the settings of autoimmunity and organ transplantation.

One of our primary objectives is to understand the signaling mechanisms of a T cell costimulatory receptor ICOS, lack of which is known to cause immunodeficiency in humans and mice. Specifically, we are investigating the phosphoinositide 3-kinase and calcium signaling pathways through biochemical, flow cytometric, and imaging techniques using gene-targeting mouse models.  We are also interested in the role of T cell costimulation in cancer immunity. Several members of the B7 family of costimulatory ligands are highly overexpressed in multiple human cancers but their roles in cancer-immune interactions remain poorly understood.  Through bioinformatics analysis of human cancer genome databse and experiments using mouse cancer models, we are trying to define the role of B7-H3 and B7-H4 in anti-cancer T cell immunity and immune-evasive capacity of cancer cells.

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in Biochemistry, under the supervision of Dr. David B. Williams, University of Toronto (1993-1997)
  • PDF in Molecular Immunology, under the supervision of Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, Harvard University (1998-1999)
  • PDF in Immunology and Cancer, under the supervision of Dr. Tak W. Mak, Ontario Cancer Institute (1999-2005)
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