Kwon Laboratory

Yonsei University College of Medicine, department of microbiology

The focus of our team is to untangle the exquisite but intertwining communication among ‘Gut (microbiome)’ - ‘Immune’ – ‘Brain’ system at physiological (e.g. Immune homeostasis, neural activities, behavioral regulation) as well as pathological
(e.g. cancer, autoimmune, allergies, infection, and neurological disorders) statues.

The Immune system is controlled by a specific set of regulatory and effector elements that have to be finely and constantly tuned to maintain its homeostasis throughout longevity. ‘Immunity’ encompasses active processes to protect against internal and/or external threats such as infection. As the counterpart of immunity, the immune system develops exquisite mechanism, known as ‘Tolerance’, which actively induce a state of unresponsiveness of the immune system to a various substance that can elicit immune responses.

The balance between these distinct immune compartments, called ‘Immunological homeostasis’, is exquisitely retained in a healthy individual and the breakdown of this symmetry can trigger inflammation driving much human pathology and disease, including autoimmune diseases, cancer, and potentially, neurodevelopmental disorders. Accordingly, we are very interested in uncovering novel mechanisms controlling the function and development of immune cells, and how the failure of these mechanisms lead to the development and progression and inflammatory disorders. Specifically, we aim to identify host- (especially immune and neuronal) and bacteria-factors that affect immunological homeostasis in normal and diseases condition and, eventually, to apply these to help with the treatment of human inflammatory disorders such as autoimmunity, cancer, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Highly motivated students and postdoctoral candidates are encouraged to apply!!
If interested, send an email to
1. Interaction among gut microbiome, immune, and neuronal system (‘Immune-Gut-Brain’ axis)

1. Interaction among gut microbiome, immune, and neuronal system (‘Immune-Gut-Brain’ axis)

Microbiome, gut residing bacteria is considered as “Hidden Organ” that plays complex roles in many biological activities such as metabolism and immune modulation in host. Moreover, recent studies support bidirectional communication among microbiome, immune, and neuronal system, known as ‘Immune-Gut-Brain axis” in which not just simple compartment but inter-communication among three different compartments have central roles to generate mutual impacts on these tangled systems. 

Previous and on-going studies in mouse model of autoimmune diseases or Autism mice address where and how the gut microbiome impacts on these disease models. More specifically, we have begun broader explorations of the interaction between host genetics, microbiome composition and activity, and how different microbe and their metabolites influence on immune or neuronal activities and, eventually, their contribution in immunological/neuro-inflammatory disorders.  

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2. Regulatory T cells (Treg)

2. Regulatory T cells (Treg)

Treg expressing the FoxP3 transcription factor has central roles to maintain peripheral tolerance and homeostasis in immune system. Treg has shown its patho-physiological roles in most of inflammatory diseases encompassing from autoimmune diseases, cancer to neurodevelopmental disorders. We analyze how they interact with other cells and microbe in healthy and disease condition, how genetic variation of FoxP3 between human individuals may influence Treg activity and influence diseases such as cancer. Recently, we elucidated how FoxP3 modulates its transcriptional program in Treg through Dichotomic protein complexes together with various interesting observations, which are still uncovered, through genetic dissection of FoxP3. Hence, we are very interested to expand previous research for uncovering molecular/cellular mechanisms to modulate FoxP3/Treg activities, developing FoxP3/Treg specific activator or inhibitor and their therapeutic application in various human inflammatory diseases.  

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3. Maternal immune activation and its impact on children’s health and immunity

3. Maternal immune activation and its impact on children’s health and immunity

Normal pregnancy involves an elevated inflammatory state, both systemically in the mother and in the placenta. However, various environmental and genetic factors can further increase in inflammation, during the pregnancy as with maternal infection, can lead not only loss of fetus but also the permanent scar on their children’s health and immune system which might act as the one of a potent determining factor for their future diseases susceptibility. We are pretty interested in 1. Which danger factors including stress bacterial/viral infection, autoimmunity, and allergy/asthma can induce specific types of maternal immune activation (MIA). 2. How do specific types of MIA affect the function of specific types of immune populations? 3. What are the impacts of immunological change in offspring up MIA for the development and progression of the certain type of inflammatory disorders including autoimmune disorders, cancer, and neuro-developmental disorders? Moreover, our results may reveal novel therapeutic strategies to prevent inflammation–associated disorders.

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Research article

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Gi-Cheon Kim

Research professor

Juli Choi

Research professor at Institute of Immunological disease

Jong-Hwi Yoon

Physician scientist

Ji-Hye Shin

Postdoctoral fellow

Yeon-Su OK

MSc student

Subin Lee

MSc student

Junsoo Do

MS-Ph.D student

Dajung Kim

MS-Ph.D student

Kinam Kwon

Research associate

Jeehee Kim

Visiting Scholar

Leechung Chang

Postdoctoral fellow

Haewon Park

MS/Ph.D student

Yeojin Jeong

MSc student

Kyung-Mi Choi

Lab manager

Seon-Hoe Kim

Research associate

05/01/20 - 12/31/20


Kyungmi Choi

joined in Kwon lab as a lab manager. Welcome!


Haewon Park and Yeojin Jeong

joined in Kwon lab as MS/Ph.D student. Enjoy your journey!


Dr. Gi-Chun

received basic research grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea for 3 years. Congrats!


Dr. Leechung Chang

joined in Kwon lab. Welcome!


Dr. Jeehee Kim

joinde in Kwon lab as visiting scholar. Welcome!


Kinam Kwon

joined in Kwon lab as research associate. Welcome!


Subin Lee (M.S), Junsoo Do , and Dajung Kim (MS-Ph.D)

joined the lab. Welcome!


Dr. Juli and Dr. Ji-Hye

has received basic research grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea for 3 years. Congrats!


Seon-Hoe Kim

joined in Kwon lab as research associate. Welcome!


Dr. Ji-Hye Shin

joined in Kwon lab. Welcome!


Dr. Juli Choi

joined in Kwon Lab. Welcome!


Gi-Chun Kim

named a basic science research program through the national research foundation of Korea(NRF) for Excellent young scientist.


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Learn More2019-04-30
  • Room 246-11, Department of microbiology, Yonsei university college of medicine, 107-11 Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea (Zip code: 120-752)
  • The Kwon Lab is located on the 2nd floor of YonSei University College of Medicine campus. Department of Microbiology