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Research unit director

Major areas of our research interests focus on the following:

1) The molecular mechanisms that control the intracellular signaling threshold at the post-translational level: We are particularly interested in understanding the role of the Cbl family of E3 ubiquitin ligases in establishing and maintaining immune tolerance; We are also investigating the function of adaptor molecule Grb2 and the protein kinase A (PKA) pathway in lymphocyte and dendritic cell development and function.

2) The role of microRNA (miRNA) in immune system development and differentiation: microRNAs are a group of newly identified small, noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression mainly through repressing protein translation. Our research puts specific emphasis on the function of miRNAs in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell function, as well as in hematopoietic malignancy and cancer stem cell biology.

3) Modulating intracellular signaling for autoimmune and tumor immunotherapy: Our lab has previously identified E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b as an important negative regulator for anti-tumor immunity. We are currently engaged in translational research to explore whether we can use this pathway as a target for cancer immunotherapy. Additionally, we have identified the PKA pathway as an important regulator for DC mediated homeostasis of regulatory T cells (Treg), an important T cell subset required for the maintenance of immune tolerance. We are now in the process of developing a strategy to modulate the PKA pathway in DCs and explore whether we can use this approach to treat autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes (T1D) and systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE).

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