Research


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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