Research

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Awards & Announcements

May 1, 2017

Yang Li was awarded Career Development Fellowship by Boston Children's Hospital

NLRP3 inflammasome is a multiprotein assembly responsible for activation of inflammatory process through the recognition of a broad spectrum of signals. Autosomal dominant mutations in the NLRP3 expressing gene are associated with auto-inflammatory diseases, named cryopyrin-associated syndrome (CAPS). Sterile inflammation by NLRP3 has been shown to contribute to other human diseases that include gout, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. During this 2-year award Dr. Li, an Instructor in Hao Wu's laboratory,  will investigate the auto-inhibition and activation mechanism of NLRP3. He will also elucidate the interactions between caspase recruitment domains (CARDs) of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) and caspase-1, which mediate NLRP3 inflammasome formation. Dr. Li also aims to identify small molecule inhibitors that are capable of interfering with the inflammasome assembly.
 

April 27, 2017

Congratulations to Jessica Kim

JessicaKimCongratulations to Jessica Kim, a graduate student in the Winau lab, for a successful defense of her Ph.D. thesis entitled "Mechanisms of Endogenous Alpha-glycosylceramide Generation for Development and Activation of NKT Cells."



April 12, 2017

Tianmin Fu Received Harvard Digestive Diseases Center Pilot Feasibility Grant  


NLRP6 inflammasome plays vital roles in host defense at the intestinal epithelium and in maintaining the gut microbiota ecosystem. Tianmin Fu, an Instructor in Hao Wu's laboratory will employ multi-disciplinary biochemical and biophysical methods to understand the molecular mechanism of the NLRP6 inflammasome assembly and activation. This study could contribute to the understanding and treatment of many digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases and colorectal cancer.
 
January 4, 2017

Ross Cheloha and Sadeem Ahmad were awarded CRI Post-doctoral Fellowships

Congratulations to Ross Cheloha and Sadeem Ahmad, who have each been awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the Cancer Research Institute (CRI).

Ross Cheloha (left), a postdoctoral fellow in the Ploegh lab, will investigate how the BCR (B cell receptor) is trafficked within B cells in order to provide means to promote beneficial BCR activity and inhibit detrimental activity. To provide a brief background, B cells help provide immunity against infections and cancer through the action of a protein complex on their surface (B cell receptor, BCR). Abnormal BCR activity can cause B cells to become cancerous or cause autoimmune diseases.

Sadeem Ahmad (right), a postdoctoral fellow in the Hur lab, will investigate the mechanistic basis of "self" vs "non-self" discrimination by the innate immune receptor MDA5. Loss of this discrimination has not only been implicated in immune disorders like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), but also finds immense potential in cancer immunotherapy through MDA5-mediated activation of the type I interferon pathway. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the molecular basis for the aberrant "self" recognition by MDA5 would have a significant therapeutic implication for both auto-inflammatory diseases and cancers.


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